Questions for the four stages of estate planning

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Age with a plan. Aging without a plan is like traveling without a map or destination. Planning ahead allows you to meet your goals for yourself and your family.

The Young Family

The young family is defined to be between  the ages of 20 and 40. The major issue for the young family is the unexpected death of one of the spouses. How will the family be able to support itself if one of the spouses passes away. Who will raise the children? How can they protect the security and peace of mind they provided to the children and surviving spouse? Can the surviving family remain in the family home? The primary focus of planning for the young family is how to protect against death and disability.

The Mature Family

The mature family is defined to be between ages 40 to 60. In our middle ages, the focus shifts to how to distribute our wealth and provide for our surviving spouse.
If there are children from a prior marriage, one of the more difficult issues is how to provide for the surviving spouse and the children from the prior marriage.
Can a surviving spouse manage their finances? Can the children handle their inheritance? Are the children without drug problems? Do any children have special needs? The answer to these complex and complicated issues involves the use of a trust.

Senior Estate Planning

Senior estate planning begins at age 60 and lasts until the end of life. The objectives include not only what happens when we pass away but what happens if we don’t pass away. The plan needs to include how we are going to live during our second half of life. How are we going to live our life well with peace and security?
The senior is concerned about having enough income to maintain their lifestyle and quality of life. How to remain independent and live in the home as long as possible. How to maximize government benefits such as Social Security and Medicare? How to protect against catastrophic illness and long-term care ? How to prepare for loss of good health and Independence? How to afford care?
How to protect against one’s spouse becoming ill or needing long-term care? How to prepare for incapacity? What happens if a spouse loses capacity and needs long-term care? What are our options if you or your spouse needs long-term care? Can we depend on our family and friends to help us? Do we want them to help us? What effect will caring for us have on our children’s marriage or finances? Should we buy long-term care insurance? Is long-term care insurance be affordable? How can we protect our savings and home from long-term care and catastrophic illness?
These questions are just a short list of the many senior estate planning issues. Because of the complex planning issues, senior estate planning is best done by an elder law attorney who is knowledgeable in government benefits, taxes, financial products, ,elder planning , and legal documents.

Crisis Planning
People who do not heed the advice to be prepared for catastrophic illness or long-term care usually find themselves in a crisis. After age 65 a person has a 70% chance of  needing long-term care. As a person grows older than 65, the chances of needing long-term care grows exponentially.
Contrary to popular belief, a person who finds themselves suddenly in a nursing home may still be able to protect the majority of their assets. It is only too late to protect assets after the money is spent on nursing home care.

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Today at Losavio and DeJean LLC, we received a lovely arrangement of flowers from a client Mr. Pete Losavio assisted in protecting their mother’s home from estate recovery. Bo and his family were also quite taken with our lovely Gwenda! “I could spend the rest of the day singing her praises… I detected in my conversations with her that she really loves people and would move mountains to help them.”

ALERT! AFTER OCTOBER 18, 2018, SOME HOMES WILL NOT BE EXEMPT FOR VA AID AND ATTENDANCE BENEFITS!

The Veteran’s Administration has enacted significant changes that will go into effect October 18, 2018 regarding VA Aid and Attendance Benefits. Under prior rules, any home residence was considered exempt from asset limitations. However, homes on property more than two (2) acres in size, will no longer be exempt after October 18, 2018. Under the new regulations, a home on property exceeding two (2) acres is only not counted if it can be shown that the excess acreage is not merchantable.  If you are looking at making an application to receive VA Aid and Attendance benefit, you are strongly urged to contact an accredited Veteran’s Administration attorney to discuss immediate preservation of your rights. Any delay after October 18,2018 could result in disqualification of your benefits

ALERT!!! SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO V.A. AID AND ATTENDANCE BENEFITS!! DON’T DELAY ACTION!!

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The much anticipated look back period has finally been enacted by the Veteran’s Administration. The Veteran’s Administration has enacted significant changes that will go into effect October 18, 2018.  Under prior regulations, there was no look back period on transfers of assets into trusts or annuities to meet for the asset requirement to qualify for VA Aid and Attendance benefits. If you attempt to transfer assets to qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits after October 18, 2018, there will now be a three (3) year look back period and possible spend down. If you are looking at making an application to receive VA Aid and Attendance benefit, you are strongly urged to contact an accredited Veteran’s Administration attorney to discuss immediate preservation of your rights. Any delay after October 18,2018 could result in disqualification of your benefits. Our telephone number is 225-769-4200.

Social Security Disability: My Cousin Got It. Why Can’t I?

Persons that apply for Social Security benefits often become frustrated when they are denied. They are particularly frustrated when they feel that their relative or friends received benefits so easily while they themselves have been denied.

Persons should be careful to avoid comparing their cases to the cases of others.

  1. All cases are different! Every case has a unique set of facts and evidence.

Different claimants have different kinds and levels of disabilities.  It is almost impossible to attempt to compare one case to another.

  1. The decision makers are different! Different fact finders with the Social Security

Administration may view cases differently. They may have a different opinion on credibility or evidence submitted.

Rather than focusing on other cases, more time, money and effort should be utilized to develop and present your own case to the Social Security Administration.

If you have any questions concerning Social Security benefits, you should consult an experienced Social Security attorney. Kent S. DeJean

 

Can I Get Veteran’s Disability and Social Security Disability Benefits at The Same Time?

Yes. You can get both Veteran’s Disability and Social Security Disability Benefits at the same time. They are separate and independent programs. Both have their own eligibility requirements. The receiving of either does not affect the eligibility of receiving the other benefit. So, it is strongly recommended that you apply for both. It is also important to apply for both since it can take a long time before decisions are made regarding your claims for either.

Divorce: Be Careful What You Ask for In Property Settlement with Your Spouse If You Are An SSI/Medicaid Recipient!!!!

If a spouse is receiving Social Security Income benefits and Medicaid, they should be extremely careful in settling and litigating their partition (division) of community property under Louisiana law. SSI and Medicaid are needs based programs. Generally, a recipient is only allowed one car, one house, furniture, clothing, and less than $ 2,000.00 in any other assets.

The assets that a spouse received from the division of community property may not be exempt assets for eligibility purposes. This can have serious consequences by rendering you ineligible for SSI and Medicaid benefits.

The SSI/ Medicaid recipient should make sure that:

  1. The assets they are receiving from a partition of community property are exempt assets for SSI and Medicaid eligibility purposes, or
  1. They must have a specific plan to immediate convert assets or spend down assets within the month that you receive the settlement to maintain your eligibility for SSI and Medicaid benefits.

If you are an SSI and/or Medicaid recipient that is involved in divorce litigation regarding division of property, you should consult a Medicaid planning attorney as soon as possible. Losavio & DeJean

 

 

Keep the Social Security Administration Updated and Informed

When a person begins receiving Social Security disability benefits, claimants may believe that they don’t need to do anything else. However, the Social Security Administration imposes duties on claimants to keep the Social Security Administration informed and updated on any changes which can affect a claimant’s eligibility for benefits. These changes include:

  1. Changes in work activity such as changes in hours, rate of pay, and jobs;
  1. Changes in your living arrangements such as other adults and children living in the household;
  1. Improvements in your medical or mental condition; and
  1. If you move out of the country.

Make sure that you keep a copy of any written correspondence notifying the Social Security Administration of these changes in case your notification is loss of misplaced.

Should you have any questions about Social Security disability benefits, contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney. Kent S. DeJean

Will an Inheritance or Personal Injury Settlement Effect My Social Security Benefits?

It is not unusual for person’s receiving Social Security benefits to come into money or property by way of inheritance or personal injury settlement or judgment. To determine whether the receipt of this money or property will adversely affect your benefits, you must determine what type of Social Security benefits you are receiving.

There are two types are Social Security benefits: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and the other is called Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits.

Social Security Disability benefits are paid to persons that have put in the required number of quarter payments over a specified period of time and is not needs based. A person drawing Social Security Disability benefits has no limits on what property they can own.  Therefore, the receipt of an inheritance or personal injury settlement will have no effect on a person receiving Social Security Disability benefits.

On the other hand, Supplemental Security Income benefits is a needs-based program. Claimants are entitled to these benefits only if they do not exceed certain property limits.  Therefore, the receipt of an inheritance or personal injury settlement may have an effect on a person receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits.

If you are unsure what kind of benefits you are drawing, you can obtain this information the Social Security Administration in order to take preventive actions to avoid losing eligibility of your Supplemental Security Income benefits.