Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

10 Family Caregiver Facts You Probably Did Not Know

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Sun, Nov 24, 2019

P42.Sullivan.NovBlog2November is National Family Caregiving Awareness Month, and there is plenty to learn and celebrate. A family caregiver, sometimes called an informal caregiver, is an unpaid relative of a dependent person, such as a parent, adult child or spouse. They can also be friends, neighbors, and other compassionate care providers of dependent people, young and old. Their immense social contributions first sparked the month-long awareness campaign in 1994, and every U.S. president since has embraced them.


In honor of family caregivers around the country, let us share 10 facts you should know this November, and throughout the year.

 

  1. There were nearly 44 million Americans who provided unpaid care to a dependent loved one over the past 12 months.

 

  1. Family caregivers account for a critical social safety net for millions of vulnerable people worth an estimated $470 billion in economic value every year.

 

  1. Even with access to hospitals and social welfare programs, families typically bear the brunt of providing everyday care to those in need.

 

  1. About 75 percent of all family caregivers are female, and they spend as much as 50 percent more time providing care than male caregivers.

 

  1. The average age of a family caregiver is 49 years old.

 

  1. The average duration of a family caregiver’s role is about 4 years, although a quarter of all caregivers provide dependent care for more than 5 years.

 

  1. On average, family caregivers spend about 24 hours per week providing care, and nearly 1 in 4 caregivers spends at least 41 hours providing dependent care.

 

  1. Forty-six percent of family caregivers perform medical and nursing tasks.

 

  1. Ninety-six percent of caregivers help with daily living activities, such as personal hygiene, dressing and bathing, as well as so-called instrumental activities like administering medicines, grocery shopping and transportation. 

 

Surveys show unpaid caregivers suffer, on average, a 26 percent reduction in positive activities in their daily lives as a result of their caregiving responsibilities, and the effect is three times greater in their personal lives than in their professional lives.

Caring for a dependent loved one is an act of sacrifice and compassion. There are resources and options available for caregivers who need support. Do not wait to attend a seminar to learn more information on how we can help you at this time.

Tags: Estate Planning, non-family caregivers, family, Estate Planning Tip, caretaker, care costs

FEELING GOOD AS YOU ARE DOING GOOD

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Sun, Nov 10, 2019

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As a community-based legal practice, the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates recognizes the benefits our community receives, from the abundance of nonprofit organizations providing employment, services to programs throughout our region. For many this is our community of choice. The varied cultural organizations, high quality medical facilities, and public and private colleges/universities provide meaningful opportunities and make our lives more productive. It doesn’t matter if you live in Metro West, Greater Boston, Worcester, Central Massachusetts, Cape Cod, or New England in general, when these public benefit organizations, flourish, our families, and communities do as well.

To perform at maximum efficiency and deliver the most benefit, non-profit entities need funds over and above the fees collected and government support received. As a result, these organizations need our financial support to continue to provide quality services. We urge you to consider sharing some of your time, talent and yes, resources with these organizations both locally and globally. We are fortunate to be living in the greatest country in the world at a time of unprecedented economic success for many. There are those who are less fortunate, such as the homeless and the sick that need our help. At a time of so much we can be grateful for, there is much good we can do.

The federal tax code has long provided incentives for charitable giving via itemized tax deductions. It is exactly this private component of support, which keeps non-profit organizations moving forward. For those who do not itemize, or those who aren’t able to contribute financially, there remain ways you can also support non-profits. One is the time and talent factor; you can contribute your time and talent to organizations involved in areas of interest to you. You may also want to consider bunching your charitable deduction in one year with a charitable gift fund or donor advised fund.

Some changes to the federal and Massachusetts estate tax laws have dramatically decreased the amount of estate taxes payable, allowing you to keep more money. This is scheduled to change again in 2026, possibly 2021 depending on the results of the 2020 election, but for now, please think about sharing some of your time, talents, and social capital with non-profit organizations and causes that mean something to you, your family and this region.

You can do this as a gift from your estate as an endowment, in whole or in part, as an annual gift. As an example, a bequest of $20,000 to an organization’s permanent endowment, which earns a 5% return, provides about $1,000 per year forever. Using the Make-A-Wish Foundation as our model, a $150,000 gift during one’s lifetime, or from a will or trust upon death would support an annual gift to a deserving "Wish Kid" each and every year. Such experiences for the child and their family, according to physicians, have a definite positive effect towards a seriously ill child’s chances of living beyond expectations.

Options for what you would like to give from your estate can be determined after you have provided for loved ones, plus any other special designations. People have also named charitable organization beneficiaries of an IRA, a pension, or a life insurance policy. There are income, estate and gift tax state savings available here.

The variety of worthwhile organizations to support is vast. If you do not have a particular favorite or favorites, there are outstanding groups such as the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Make-A-Wish Foundation, the United Way, or the local Community Foundation. Here both the Boston Foundation and the Metro West Community Foundation, for example, work with a great array of non-profits. Would you like to help an important cause or leave a legacy to your community? If so please consider taking action to remember one or several worthy charities and/or non-profit organizations. Quite often, you’ll receive a benefit you didn’t expect: a sense of accomplishment that you are truly doing something which will make a lasting and positive impact in your region and community! This could have significant positive effects for you, your spouse, and your family's well being.

To discover more about taking part in this worthwhile endeavor, plan to attend a Free Discovery Workshop. Here in addition to opportunities to help others, you’ll also learn why 86% of all trust and estate plans are outdated and what you can do about it. Call 800-964-4295 (24/7) for upcoming dates, times and locations. The Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates has been helping people and their families in the community with FREE DISCOVERY Seminars over the past 17 years. Due to limited seating, seminars reservation are required.

Please visit www.DSullivan.com or call now 800-964-4295 (24/7). Also while supplies last, seminars attendees receive one of our three books; Your American Legacy-Powerful

Strategies that Instill Lasting Values for Generations, or The Senior and Boomers Guide to Health Care Reform and Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty, or The Ten Biggest Estate and Asset Protection Planning Mistakes and How to Fix Them.

Act now!

Tags: Estate Planning, charitable remainder trust

6 Tips You Need to Read This Medicare Open Enrollment Period

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Tue, Oct 22, 2019

P42.Sullivan.OctBlog4October means that the annual Medicare Open Enrollment period is here. This is the time of year when seniors, and those who are Medicare beneficiaries, can change, update, or select health care plans that would best meet their needs now and for the next year. This is a critical time to verify that you and your loved ones have the right health care plan that you need for your own unique health care needs.

This is so important, we're holding a Free Client Only Review October 29th on Medicare: What You Need to Know Now. Come hear an area expert on what you need to know before open enrollment is done. 

We know this can be a confusing time. Let us share with you six tips that you may use to help you find the information you need to help you make the right plan decision regarding your Medicare coverage. 

  1. Check your mail. You should have received in September by US mail your Plan Annual Notice of Change (ANOC). This will update you on the current offerings within your Medicare plan, as well as including any changes. You want to pay special attention to any changes that might impact your health care needs. If you did not receive this letter in the mail, you will want to go to the Medicare Plan Annual Notice of Change website to make sure you can review the information that applies to you.
  2. Understand the lingo. Medicare has its own acronyms and it’s own language when it comes to the Medicare program. For example, as we mentioned above, ANOC stands for the Plan Annual Notice of Change. There are also different types of Medicare, including Part A, B, and D. You want to learn what applies to you and not allow yourself to be confused by the jargon.
  3. Visit Medicare’s website. Medicare has gone to great lengths to be able to give you as many resources as possible. While they may not provide all of the answers, many of them will. Be sure to either go to your local Medicare office or go to the website to learn more about the resources provided and available for you. 
  4. Consider using the Medicare Plan Finder tool. Each year Medicare plans change and you may not know all that is available to you. Do not wait to go to the Medicare website and use this tool to learn more. It can show you the plans that are available in your location that match your specific health care needs. You may be surprised to learn that there are more plans available than there were last year or, by converse, that some plans have been removed.
  5. Check in on your estate planning documents. Right now, you are healthy and able to make these health care decisions for yourself. Consider the fact that you may not always have the capacity to do so. You will want to talk to your estate planning attorney about your durable power of attorney and your health care documents. You need to make sure that these are updated and give legal authority to your selected agents to be able to make these decisions for you should you not be able to make them yourself.
  6. Do not forget to consider long-term care needs as a part of this equation. Unfortunately, in almost all scenarios Medicare will not pay for the high costs of long-term care. The reason why is because Medicare is an acute payor system and most long-term care encompasses custodial care. This will not be covered by Medicare. This means that you need to think now about how you will pay for this cost of care. Do not hesitate to use our free reports, such as the How to Set the Stage for Your Medicaid Eligibility, to help you plan for what you may need now.

We know that these tips may cause you to have even more questions than you already did. Do not put off getting the answers you need during the short window of time for the annual Medicare Open Enrollment period. We encourage you to contact our office and sign up for a work shop to discuss both your health, estate planning, and elder law needs.

Tags: Medicare, Estate Planning, applying for medicare

Test Your Breast Cancer Knowledge and Access These Resources for Baby Boomers

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Mon, Oct 21, 2019

P42.Sullivan.OctBlog3Breast cancer remains one of the most terrifying cancer diagnoses to receive. While this form of cancer impacts both women and men, it remains the second leading cause of death for women and is expected to kill 41,760 women this year. 

There remain many myths surrounding breast cancer. As we focus on National Breast Cancer Awareness in the month of October, we want to test your knowledge on this disease. Ask yourself on each of the following statements, is it a myth or a fact?

- Breast cancer is one of the most contagious forms of cancer.

- Mammograms spread cancer.

- Men never get breast cancer.

- Most women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.

In fact, all of the above statements are myths. Further, what many people do not realize is that according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation “breast cancer death rates declined 40% from 1989 to 2016 among women. The progress is attributed to improvements in early detection.”  Baby Boomer women, however, do have an increased reason to be concerned, however, because the two most significant risk factors are gender and increased age.

Even though the disease mortality rate may be on the decline, this does not mitigate the situation when you or a loved one is diagnosed. You may be asking yourself: What can I do as a Baby Boomer, or an adult child, to help those I love? We would encourage you to consider these four resources:

  1. Learn more and engage with the “Beyond The Shock” Program. This is an initiative created to provide a twenty-four hour a day dedicated online support group where breast cancer survivors are available to answer questions, provide support, and create a strong community for newly diagnosed patients. 
  2. Consider the GriefShare Program. This support program was created for the survivors of those who battled cancer during their lifetime. It was created to be able to support those who have experienced the loss of a loved one and need support.
  3. Discuss your health care focused estate planning with your attorney. There is never a time when it is “too early” to plan but, especially in light of a new diagnosis, you never want to wait until it is “too late”. This means you need to create an estate plan while you are able to make your decisions that includes health care planning documents so that your loved ones will know who has the legal authority to make decisions and what your wishes are for those decisions. If you put off planning, then you may become incapacitated and unable to make these choices for yourself.
  4. Discuss with your attorney making charitable planning a priority. Many of our clients today add charitable planning goals and legacy gifts to their estate plan. There are specific charities, such as the ones mentioned above, and others like Locks of Love, who you are able to support during your lifetime or after you are gone. Whether you are creating this gift through your last will and testament or trust agreement, remember that it is critical to create this devise the way the intended charity would prefer. Do not wait to ask us more on how to create the right language in your estate planning documents.

We know just how difficult a time this can be. Whether you are planning for yourself or for a loved one, do not wait to contact us. Our knowledgeable legal team is ready, willing, and able to help you create an estate plan or long-term care plan to deal with any of the challenges you may be facing today, or well in the future.

Tags: Estate Planning, Health Care, Charitable Giving, health, cancer

4 Essential Estate Planning Tips Every Baby Boomer Should Know

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Tue, Oct 01, 2019

P42.Sullivan.OctBlog1One of the best ways Baby Boomers can prepare for older age, and help their loved ones after they are gone, is to make sure their estate plans are in order. An estate plan protects and transfers wealth while adhering to tax strategies and other important considerations, the former being of special importance to those of us residing in Massachusetts. A well-designed estate plan can also ensure health care wishes and personal desires are followed. 

Not having a plan, or an up-to-date plan, however, can leave decisions in the hands of others. This could devalue your estate, create unnecessary confusion, result in your loved ones turning to the court for help, and even cause infighting within one’s family. It is one of the reasons why we focus during the month of October, as well as throughout the year, on Estate Planning Awareness Week which promotes the importance of a sound plan through the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils.

Whether you are revisiting an existing estate plan or crafting an estate plan for the first time, let us share four essential estate planning tips with you right here in this article. 

 

  1. Wills and Trusts. These are the centerpieces of any solid estate plan, regardless of the size of the estate. A last will and testament is put into action at the executor’s death, while a trust agreement can be managed during one’s lifetime. A trust can also limit estate taxes and potential legal challenges. In that regard, the written language of these documents is extremely important and should be discussed with your estate planning attorney.

 

  1. Beneficiary Designations. Retirement plans, annuities, life insurance policies, and other investments, allow for the principal investor to name who he or she wants to inherit his or her investments when at death. This can be a spouse, multiple members of an immediate family, other individuals, or charities and institutions.

 

  1. Durable Power of Attorney. A power of attorney allows a designated person to make financial, legal, and other personal decisions on behalf of another person. A durability provision ensures that the document can still be used even when the creator is incapacitated. 

 

  1. Health Care Directives. Health care directives ensure that there is a selected person to make health care decisions on your behalf. Be sure to consider choosing someone with matching end-of-life views as this person may be called upon to act as you would in this situation. 

 

With so much at stake, do not wait to contact an experienced estate planning attorney for more information on this topic. Don’t wait to ask us your questions or attend one of our upcoming Trust, Estate & Asset Protection Planning workshops to learn about our Unique Process  to help you and your family to enhance the security of your lifestyle, life savings, and legacy.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers for you. If you have specific questions, do not wait to contact us. This only starts our discussion on how to prepare for retirement as a Baby Boomer. We encourage to take the time to review each of our critical guides with the information you need on this as well. Let us answer your questions about your unique retirement needs. 

If you would like more information on Elder Law, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, or the impact of new health care laws on your health care coverage, request your free preview of our guide, the Senior & Boomers’ Guide to Health Care Reform & Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty.  

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops. The next evening event will be next Thursday October 10th 6:30 PM at the Needham  Council on Aging Center at the Heights 300 Hillside Ave. Needham, MA,  Please call 800-964-4295 and register to discover  more about what you can do to Protect your Home, Spouse, Family and Life Savings. By attending our workshop, you will also be entitle to more than $1,500 in valuable benefits, including your choice of books, DVDs and more! Call 800-964-4295 (24/7)

Tags: Estate Planning, Baby Boomers, Estate Planning Recommendations, boomers

THE RETIREMENT CHECKLIST EVERY BABY BOOMER NEEDS

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Mon, Sep 16, 2019

P42

Did you know that an income and expense retirement checklist is considered vital? This is because, typically, there are no “do-overs” when it comes to your retirement. For example, it may be difficult to regain your present income after age 50 by switching employers or to then regain the value of your collapsed portfolio. 

Accordingly, it is important to begin planning for retirement as soon as possible regardless of your age. Once you have started planning, we encourage you to revisit your retirement checklist at least every year to make any necessary adjustments. This includes budgeting for a catastrophic change in your spouse’s or a child’s health condition giving rise to the cost of long-term care expenses.  

Presently, you may live on a fixed budget whereby your monthly expenses do not exceed your current income. It is advisable that you take your present budget and make it into a retirement budget by simply projecting the income that may decline and the expenses that could increase in the year you plan to retire. It is also important to budget for future projected expenses that you do not presently incur. 

How do you plan forward for this occurrence? At the top of your retirement checklist, you need to think about your budget. In addition to your regular monthly budget, let us share a few items you need on your retirement checklist as you consider your future retirement expenses.

  1. Tax Withholding. What will be your net annual retirement income and your annual net required minimum distribution from your IRA’s or other retirement income? It is important that you remember that 20% of your annual retirement income will be withheld for taxes by your plan administrator. Your experienced estate planning attorney can help you determine the withholding or required minimum distribution. You may also want to learn more in our report, Using Individual Retirement Accounts for Estate Planning.
  2. Long-Term Care Expenses. Unfortunately, the cost of nursing home or assisted-living expenses can potentially deplete all of your savings. Long-term care insurance can pay for and help eliminate this financial catastrophe. However, not all long-term insurance policies are alike. It is important that your attorney study the terms of this policy with you to insure that you and your spouse receive the best coverage for what you can afford. You can learn more about your insurance policies and how to best prepare for long-term care in our report, How to Set the Stage for Your Medicaid Eligibility. 
  3. Children’s Expenses During Your Retirement. Do your children reside in another state? If so, they may incur considerable travel and lodging expenses as they attend to your personal care needs on what could be many trips to your home. Likewise, do you intend for your children to expend their personal funds for the actual cost and for their families’ travel to you and your spouse’s burial and cremation services? It is important that your attorney advise you as to his or her experience as to these costs. Your attorney can also help you determine the best method for your escrowing these costs from your savings account that you have earmarked “In Trust For” or “Paid on Death” for your child’s out-of-pocket costs or reimbursement of these family expenses. 

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers for you. If you have specific questions, do not wait to contact us. This only starts our discussion on how to prepare for retirement as a Baby Boomer. We encourage to take the time to review each of our critical guides with the information you need on this as well. Let us answer your questions about your unique retirement needs. 

If you would like more information on Elder Law, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, or the impact of new health care laws on your health care coverage, request your free preview of our guide, the Senior & Boomers’ Guide to Health Care Reform & Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty.  

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. By attending our workshop, you will also be entitle to more than $900 in valuable benefits, including your choice of books, DVDs and more! Call 800-964-4295 (24/7)

Tags: Retirement, Estate Planning, retirement plans

ESTATE PLANNING AND NURSING HOME PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS WHEN YOU ARE CONTEMPLATING RETIREMENT

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Sun, Sep 15, 2019

When it comes to your retirement, there are a number of important steps to take and questions to consider to help ensure that you can retire comfortably. For example, when was the last time you reviewed your estate plan and determined whether it still conforms to your goals and needs? Have you thought about your long-term care plans?

Older Americans are living longer now than ever before. As a result, people are finding themselves unprepared for the next stage of their life, both emotionally and financially. To help ease some of your worries, let us share with you a few estate planning and nursing home planning considerations when you are contemplating retirement.

Estate Planning

When contemplating retirement, do you have the answers to the following questions? What will you do in a crisis?

Have you named a decision maker who is able to act for you? It is important to ensure that your agent under your durable power of attorney not only has the ability to make long-term care decisions for you but can also engage in the planning you may need.

One of the primary benefits of setting up an estate plan is the privacy and protection for your assets it provides. Unfortunately, if you pass without leaving any planning

protections in place, your estate will be subject to probate proceedings. As a result, information about your assets will be considered a matter of public record and anyone who would like access to that information can easily obtain it.

Long-Term Care

Did you know that research tells us that only around thirteen percent of all seniors are prepared for a future that could include the need for long-term care outside the home? We cannot stress enough the importance of planning ahead and learning about your options early. Research what long-term care costs in your community, talk to your primary care physician about your future, and discuss your plans with your family.

Further, once you have your goals in mind, talk to your experienced elder law attorney. He or she can help you create a plan that meets your needs. This can be accomplished long before you require long-term care. As a result, you will have access to many more planning options that best fit your needs. We know that preparing for the next stage of your life can be overwhelming. Remember, we are here to help guide you through each step and can help you evaluate the best

planning options for you and your family. If you are ready to discuss your planning needs, do not wait to contact our office.

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. By attending our workshop, you will also be entitle to more than $900 in valuable benefits, including your choice of books, DVDs and more! Call 800-964-4295 (24/7)

Tags: Retirement, Estate Planning, retirement plans

Estate Planning Tips for Your Aging Parents

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Sun, Jul 28, 2019

P42.Sullivan.JulyBlog2 (1)As a child, you are likely accustomed to your parents protecting and shielding you from difficult situations. Unfortunately as you age, however, there will come a time when your parents are no longer here and it is important to plan ahead for that time as a family unit. One important step in accomplishing this is to discuss estate planning with your aging parents. To help you begin this difficult conversation, we want to share with you a few estate planning tips for your aging parents.

The first step is to discuss the needs of your aging parents and provide them with an opportunity to discuss their goals and concerns. Talking about finances, illnesses, and even death can be emotionally taxing. Ensure your aging parents that this conversation is in everyone’s best interest and is simply to ensure that all the necessary people are on the same page. It is important to approach this topic with sensitivity and to allow your parents time to express concerns, voice their opinions, and ask questions.

Second, it is important to discuss any pre-existing estate planning documents or long-term care plans your parents may already have. We encourage you to ask your parents whether they have created a will or trust, health care documents, or a durable power of attorney. If they have not created any of these documents yet, you may wish to make a plan as a family as to how you will proceed with creating the documents and the types of planning documents you need. Further, it is crucial that you ask your parents what their own wishes are for their long-term care planning. What are their goals? How can you help your parents accomplish those goals? Addressing these questions now will likely make it easier in the event of illness or incapacity.

Above all, encourage your parents to discuss their specific goals and needs with an experienced estate planning attorney who is familiar with the laws in their state. There are many different estate planning options available, some of which may fit your parent’s needs better than others. An estate planning attorney can present appropriate planning options, answer your parent’s questions, and propose strategies to help create your aging parents’ legacy.

We know this can be a particularly challenging conversation to have with your aging parents. Being proactive in creating an estate plan, however, is one of the most effective ways at providing both you and your aging parents with peace of mind. If you or your parents are ready to discuss your parent’s estate planning needs, do not wait to contact our office to set up an appointment.

Tags: Estate Planning, family, children

5 Tips to Keep Mom and Dad Safe During the Summer Months

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Mon, Jul 01, 2019

P42.Sullivan.JulyBlog1For millions of Americans, summertime is synonymous with outside activities: trips to the beach, visiting parks, and backyard barbecues. Did you know with rising summer temperatures, however, senior adults face elevated risks of heat-related health issues? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three main reasons why:

 

  1. Older adults do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.
  2. Seniors are more likely to have chronic medical conditions that change normal body responses to heat.
  3. Aging adults are more likely to take prescription medicines that affect the body’s ability to control its temperature or sweat.

 

With this in mind, let us proactively share five tips for helping aging parents beat the heat this summer.

 

  1. Keep Them Cool. Staying cool doesn’t just mean staying inside in air conditioned spaces. It also means planning wisely. Rather than risk sun exposure during the hottest parts of the day, schedule appointments and outside excursions for early mornings or late evenings.

 

  1. Hydration, Hydration, Hydration. Consuming ample fluids is one of the best things seniors can do during the summer. Hotter temperatures cause sweating, and Older Americans may already have a reduced capacity to conserve water. Make sure senior loved ones are drinking water even if they don’t feel thirsty and help them plan to pack a water bottle when they leave the house during the summer months.

 

  1. Dress for Success. Loose-fitting, light-colored clothes can help keep intense sunlight from damaging skin and keep the body cool. Hats that shade head and neck areas are also important, as is proper footwear. Sandals and flip-flops may be enticing, but use caution as they can also present tripping hazards.

 

  1. Plan Inside Activities. There are plenty of rewarding indoor activities that won’t leave senior parents feeling like they’re missing out on summer fun. Museums, movies, libraries, theaters, and musical performances, are just a few exciting, and air conditioned, adventures.

 

  1. Check on Them Regularly. It’s always a good idea to check-in on aging parents, but all the more so during hot summer months. Make sure their living spaces are cool, and monitor their exposure to sunlight and heat. When possible, schedule a standing time to check-in during the week.

 

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. There is never a wrong time to get the help your aging parents or you may need. We encourage you to reach out to us and schedule an appointment to ask your elder care questions. Whether it is this summer or throughout the year, we are here to help.

For more information on how to help your family attend one of our free Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Workshops

 

Tags: in-home care, Estate Planning, family, Summer

Estate Planning Considerations For Seniors This Tax Season

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Fri, Mar 08, 2019

The April 15th deadline to file taxes is fast approaching. As a senior, you may be aware of the steps you need to take to file your taxes as well as most of the information you need to gather and prepare. You may not know, however, that estate planning also plays an important role when it comes to your taxes. To help you be as prepared as possible, let us share a few key estate planning considerations that will guide you through this year’s tax season as a senior.

 First, did you know that that uncompensated gift transfers can penalize you in the future, specifically as it relates to long-term care planning? Any amount of money transferred within a sixty month window prior to needing care without adequate compensation can disqualify you for public benefits. While planning to leave monetary gifts to close friends or loved ones can also help you avoid transferring money at death through the estate planning process, do not act alone. Talk to your estate planning attorney about when lifetime gifting may be right for you.

 You can make gifts of money to your loved ones during your life instead of waiting until the end of your life. When you think about your legacy, however, and leaving money to your loved ones be cautious of the probate process. Probate is the court process of transferring wealth to your loved ones or intended beneficiaries through your last will and testament at death.

 Unfortunately, if you are transferring a high dollar amount to your loved ones at death through your estate planning, you may unwittingly open yourself up to federal estate tax penalties. Consider the recent case of Aretha Franklin who did not plan for the transfer of her wealth. Whether this was an intentional decision or not, this resulted in her being penalized at a forty percent rate for the amount over the federal estate tax limit. Further complicating this issue, our state is one of the last states to keep a state estate tax as well.

 For most seniors, gifting money may not be the best estate planning option. Children and other loved ones can have problems that you may not know about. For example, we encourage you to consider any incapacity or bankruptcy issues the person may have before committing to gifting that person a significant amount of money. While having the ability to shield this money from federal estate taxes may be appealing, be sure that the person you are gifting the money to is responsible enough to receive the gift. If you are eager to leave money to loved ones within the annual exclusion amount, creating a structured gift program with your attorney is one way to effectively accomplish this.

 Above all, it is important that you reflect on and update your estate planning from time-to-time to make sure the tax laws in your state have not changed. Doing some independent research or checking in with an estate planning attorney can help you stay informed about changes you need to be aware of. Remember, we are here to help guide you through each step and can help you evaluate the best planning options for you and your family. If you are ready to discuss your planning needs, do not wait to sign up for a free educational-workshop

Do not wait to think about the estate planning you need to protect yourself and your loved ones. Although tax season can be a great time to get things in order, remember, there is never a “wrong” time to ensure you have the planning you need. Do not wait to contact us with your questions and to schedule your attendance at one of our free Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Workshops.

Tags: Estate Planning, estate tax savings, Massacusetts Estate Tax, taxes

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