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Estate planning and Wills are typically aimed at the most efficient way to transfer wealth to the next generation, and most people assume that an estate plan will often only benefit their heirs.  When you work with an estate planning lawyer at Lamson & Cutner, estate planning and asset protection strategies work hand-in-hand to build a financial fortress around you, and to create a secure economic future for you and your loved ones.

It’s especially important for married couples who are initiating Elder Law strategies to have a well-designed estate plan.  That’s because when one spouse is ill or disabled and needs home or nursing facility care, money and assets will often be transferred to the well spouse.  This can create difficulties because Medicaid can later enforce the well spouse’s legal obligation of support, and because the well spouse may eventually need health care assistance as well.  It’s vital to take all possibilities into account from the start.  When Elder Law and estate planning services are combined, problems can be anticipated and solved in advance.

For single persons and unmarried couples, Lamson & Cutner’s Elder Law planning can also address estate planning goals.  Preservation of the assets of someone who needs home or nursing home care increases that person’s ability to leave an estate for his or her partner or heirs. 

The Advantage Estate Planning and Asset Protection Can Give You Today

Elder Law and estate planning use some of the same legal structures (typically Wills and trusts) to achieve their goals.  Estate planners create trusts to avoid probate, to avoid or reduce taxes, to protect against claims of future creditors, and to provide for the orderly distribution of the income and assets to the beneficiaries.  Elder Law attorneys create special protective trusts to facilitate eligibility for government benefit programs such as Medicaid, and to shield your money, income, home and other assets against Medicaid’s “spend down” rules.  These rules will otherwise force you to pay for your own care, until all your monetary reserves are exhausted.  Only then will Medicaid cover your healthcare costs.

If your assets are held in properly structured trusts, Elder Law and estate planning objectives can be combined.  Your income and assets can be used for your benefit without prejudicing your right to receive Medicaid.  That allows you to maintain your lifestyle if you’re receiving care at home, or to be a lot more comfortable if you’re residing at a nursing facility.  There’s also a significant benefit for your family: since Medicaid will pay the costs of your long-term care, it’s much more likely that something will be left for loved ones when you pass on.  In these uncertain economic times, they’ll be grateful for your legacy.

Three Vital Benefits Estate Planning Provides For Your Family And Other Heirs

If you don’t plan for the distribution of your money and property after you die, there will be a risk of painful bickering among your family members.  Disputes are common in the absence of clear instructions.  However, when you’ve got a clear, organized, and carefully thought out estate plan, things can be settled smoothly and without hard feelings.  Here’s why…

-First, utilizing estate planning services can avoid probate of your estate.  Probate is the legal process of collecting, documenting and distributing an individual’s money and assets after death.  It can be complicated, and can take months and even years before your spouse, children, family members and friends get anything.  A judge will be making decisions about your estate, rather than you, and the process is public.  If instead, your cash and property are placed in a trust that has been properly drafted, distributions can be made quickly, efficiently, and privately – without court involvement.

-Second, your heirs get superior protection against lawsuits that may be filed by unhappy relatives who disagree with the way you want your assets distributed.  Trusts are a far better shield against litigation, and that means your wishes will be carried out as you intended, without a family war.

-Third, your family gets privacy.  Unlike Wills, in most cases trust documents are not required to be filed with the courts.  Your intentions are kept secret from prying eyes, and that affords greater peace and protection for your heirs.

Why Lamson & Cutner’s Professional Estates Counsel Safeguards Your Planning

As you can see, there are many considerations that come into play when you need to coordinate Elder Law techniques with estate planning.  That’s why Lamson & Cutner makes estate planning and tax planning a part of its Elder Law services.  Clients get sophisticated planning advice from experienced attorneys who focus on these issues.  It’s an advantage not every estate planning attorney or Elder Law firm offers.

Lamson & Cutner maintains a tradition of working hard to achieve the best attainable financial protection for clients and their families.  Each estate planning attorney at the firm is committed to making sure that each client’s savings and assets are available to the fullest extent possible to provide the best quality of life when health care is needed.  At the same time, Lamson & Cutner considers estate planning goals so that, upon the client’s passing, his or her remaining assets can be distributed to the heirs in the most efficient way, saving taxes and avoiding other problems.

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