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.”

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.

 

 

Important Upcoming Free Seminar

Our next free seminar on How to Plan for Long Term Care is scheduled for Tuesday August 21, 2018 at the Ascension Parish Library – Gonzales 708 South Irma Blvd. Gonzales, LA 70737 at 9:30am, 12:00pm, and 6:00pm.  To reserve your spot please call 877-868-8907

Beware! Homestead Exemption for Louisiana Bankruptcies Applies Only to A Single Person or Married Couple!

Debtors in Louisiana can be exempt from seizures in a Louisiana bankruptcy of equity in their home of $ 25,000.00. Further, if the obligations are related as a direct result of catastrophic or terminal illness or injury, the debtor can claim the full value of the home based on a value one year before seizure in bankruptcy.

It is important to remember that this exemption is available to a person individually or a married couple. However, the exemption is not available if the property is co-owned with another person that is not the spouse of the debtor. Therefore, a debtor could not claim the exemption if they own their property with a friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, relative or child.  This can have significant implications of causing a home to be seized by the trustee to provide the proceeds to creditors.

Therefore, persons that co-own their home with someone other than their spouse need to make sure that they disclose this fact to their attorney.

If you have any questions concerning bankruptcy, you should consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

 

Kent S. DeJean

 

 

 

The Difficulties of Challenging a Will

Due to the increased number of diagnosed cases of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, there are more potential cases of heirs challenging wills based on the decedent’s incapacity. Challenging a will in Louisiana courts, can be expensive, time consuming and emotionally difficult. These types of cases can be difficult to win.

It is important to remember that under Louisiana law, there is a presumption that the decedent has capacity. The burden is on the person challenging the will to show that the decedent lacked legal capacity to execute at will at the time it was signed. If there is a tie, the person challenging the will lose.

Unless the decedent was an interdicted or an unemancipated minor at the time they executed the will, proving incapacity can be very difficult to prove. The strength of the decedent’s treating medical doctor can be critical and pivotal as to the outcome. Many times, doctors are unwilling or unable to give a strong opinion as to a lack of capacity.

Also, practical factors should be considered prior to filing a lawsuit such as the amount the person challenging the will is willing to spend on litigation as well as the amount that can potentially be won.

Should you have any questions about succession, you should consult with an experienced estate planning 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 affect 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.

Social Security Disability: Don’t Avoid Treatment

It is not uncommon for people that have physical or mental disabilities to avoid treatment. When the medical records are reviewed, you will find long time periods where the claimant did not see a doctor for examinations or treatments.

These gaps, in the medical records can cause significant problems in proving a Social Security Disability (SDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. Without ongoing office visits, it will be difficult for a doctor to state whether your condition got better, worse or remained the same. It will be difficult for the Social Security Administration to assess your ongoing disability and determine its severity.  It will also be difficult for your treating doctor to assist you in providing an accurate diagnosis, determination of disability and plan for treatment.

Further, your medical treatment may require testing, treatment and therapy. All of these elements can also be used to prove your Social Security Disability case.

If you are seeing a doctor, you should continue to make and attend recommended office medical visits. You should also comply when your doctor prescribes testing, treatment and therapy.

Avoiding treatment can not only adversely affect your health and wellbeing, it can also hurt your claim with the Social Security Administration.

If you have any questions concerning Social Security claims, you should consult an experience Social Security attorney.

 

Kent S. DeJean