Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Elder Law 2013 - Many Changes!

The American Taxpayer’s Relief Act (ATRA) of 2013 has brought about an new tax paradigm in which planning must focus on capital gains, asset protection, state tax issues, income tax issues and Medicaid planning, all of which fall under the elder law umbrella.  

This will create new challenges for families as well as estate planning generalists that are not experts in the elder law component of estate planning.

We attended this year’s Heckerling Institute for Estate Planning conference in Florida because, more so than ever before, the estate planning and elder law landscape has changed, having been impacted by a number of factors, including the ATRA and a continually-aging U.S. population  in which nearly 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day!

We will share developing perspectives about elder law in our upcoming posts based on the above-listed changes.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Funding Your Living Trust

People often create living trusts to help avoid probate.

However if a trust is not funded on a timely basis, the family may still need to appear before the court, which of course is what they were hoping to avoid in the first place!  Other complications ranging from time delays, bonding and filing fees or additional legal fees may also arise. 

Unfortunately, in many cases the funding step is the responsibility of the family rather than their estate planning attorney. If so, it is important to realize that "creating" the trust is only the beginning, and the funding step should be taken seriously and be completed on a timely basis.