Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Estate and Long Term Care Planning for Women

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Mon, Aug 18, 2014

 

The Unique Challenges in Women Face with Estate Planning

Estate planning for women

Estate and Long Term Care Planning for Women can be different and full of confusing choices. Women are living longer today than ever before, and you will need an estate plan that can protect you from the new challenges arising daily. Let’s look at some of the more common situations below:

Married women tend to be younger than their husbands and tend to be on their own once their husband passes. Many married women let their husbands do all the financial planning, including their estate planning. Unfortunately this leaves many of them confused, or even blindsided by the oncoming costs that can appear with their estate and long term care options. Second marriages can create a whole new set of issues to deal with as well. Children from both marriages must be accounted for and must know what their responsibilities are going to be as well as fairly dividing their inheritance. For your own sake it would be best if you chose exactly who you would want to have power of attorney as well as whom you wish to have as your healthcare proxy. It is also important to update these documents regularly as many institutions do not accept them if they are more than a year old.

Single or childless women may choose to leave their possessions to close friends, relatives or charities. Without a good, up-to-date estate plan however, that won’t happen. Instead a bureaucrat appointed by the state will decide where your worldly goods will go when you’re gone. And for women living with a partner whom they are not legally married to, their partner won’t see one red cent of your estate unless you have an ironclad estate plan stipulating who gets what.

Your documents cannot do you much good unless they have been updated to reflect your current needs and situation. If you have gone through a separation or divorce you probably do not wish for your former partner to inherit your things or be making medical decisions about you. We have seen many cases where this has happened, and it is too late to change anything. Fortunately situations like this can be avoided by simply updating your documents regularly. At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates we provide clients with a unique Lifetime Protection Program to help keep their documents and plans up to date with any changes in their personal, family and health situations.

You must also consider what will happen if you require long term care and make sure there is going to adequate funding for what you may need in the future. Many people have made the mistake of giving away their savings in order to qualify for Medicaid without consulting a professional first. Not only was this unnecessary, they often still do not qualify because they did not plan for their situation ahead of time. Giving away their assets can even create large penalties if you ever need a nursing home. To learn more about some of the other mistakes to watch out for take a look at The Ten Biggest Estate and Asset Protection Mistakes People Make and How to Avoid Them! For a free report based on the book click here.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

 

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: health care proxy, Estate Planning, Elder Law, asset protection, long term care, Charitable Giving, Nursing Homes, marriage, Beneficiary, elder care, assisted living, estate, assets, coverage, death benefit, surviving spouse, Estate Planning Recommendations

Massachusetts Elder Law Atttoney | Beware – Medicaid Rules on Life Insurance are Tricky

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Tue, Nov 27, 2012

Beware – Massachusetts Medicaid Rules on Life Insurance are Tricky

Medicaid does not consider term life insurance policies as a resource, countable toward the appropriate resource maximum. However, Medicaid does count life insurance with cash value as a resource when the total death benefit of all cash value life insurance policies exceeds $1,500. These policies must be cashed in (or sold) and the proceeds spent down. The fair market value of a cash value policy is the amount of cash value, as opposed to the death benefit. Sometimes, the cash value is much smaller than the death benefit, leaving a large spread between the two. In that case a family member may choose to buy the policy.

Note that if the death benefit of all policies totals more than $1500 then all the cash value is countable. Don’t make the mistake of looking at the cash value, and if under $1500, then think it is exempt. It is not unless the death benefit is under $1500.

What Assets Are Exempt for Medicaid Purposes?

The following assets are not countable by MassHealth for Medicaid purposes:

  1. Home, regardless of value in case of a married couple, or up to $786,000 in equity for a single applicant. The home must be the principal place of residence. If single, the nursing home resident may be required to show some “intent to return home” even if this never takes place.

  2. Personal belongings and household goods. New Jersey does not take inventory of these items so basically ignores this category unless it is abused.

  3. One car or truck.

  4. Burial spaces and certain related items for applicant and spouse.

  5. Up to $1,500 designated as a burial fund for applicant and spouse.

  6. Irrevocable prepaid funeral contract.

  7. Value of life insurance if death benefit is $1,500 or less. If total life insurance exceeds $1,500 in total death benefit, then the cash value in these policies is countable.

For more information on Massachusetts Medicaid, download our 19-Point Trust, Estate & Asset Protection Legal Guide.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates, we help people and their families concerned with losing their homes and life savings to increasing medical and nursing home costs, taxes and the costs and time delays of probate. We also protect clients from losing control of their own health and financial decisions.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops to learn more about our process and what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy. To register for a seat at an upcoming workshop call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or register online at www.SeniorWorkshop.com

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Tags: life insurance, Medicaid, Massachusetts, Elder Law, Attorney, death benefit

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