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Philadelphia PA Estate Planning Blog

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Take A Second Look At Medicaid Trusts


If you’ve considered using a trust to preserve some assets while still qualifying for Medicaid—what we call a Medicaid Trust—but have written it off as too cumbersome or too restrictive, it may be time to take a second look. Why? Because there really is no better tool for “advanced planning” if you will need a nursing home in the future.
 
Medicaid Trusts aren’t for everyone, but a second look may allow us to see opportunities that maybe were not readily visible at first. Many clients shoot the idea down primarily because they don’t want to give up control of their assets.
 
But before you slam the door shut, think about your estate in a different way.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Make Your Estate Plan Bulletproof


If done properly, an estate plan is supposed to give you peace of mind. You know… that SWAN feeling (Sleeping Well At Night). There’s no perfect plan, but if you invest the time, have realistic expectations, and face the realities of your particular family situation, you can build a plan that is rock solid. As I always say, it’s important to review your plan on a regular basis—every three to five years makes sense for most families, but will vary based on your individual needs.

I often get asked about how to avoid estate challenges and will contests.


Read more . . .


Monday, May 21, 2018

Five Key Reasons You Need An Estate Plan… Even If You Think You Don’t Need One!


It’s more than a legal document

There is no doubt that legal documents like a Last Will & Testament, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Durable Financial Power of Attorney are crucial, but estate planning goes beyond document production. One area that folks often overlook is organizing their affairs for loved ones. Not only does this help them understand where everything is, it smooths the process for when that loved one must step in either as Executor, Power of Attorney, etc. When you sit down to work with an attorney on an estate plan, you’re going to get the legal documents, but also the tools and advice you need to make things actually WORK for your loved ones.

 

Without a plan, unintended beneficiaries may get your stuff

By neglecting to have at least a Last Will & Testament, you willingly forfeit total control over who inherits your property.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Let's Talk About Pennsylvania's Inheritance Tax


What is the PA Inheritance Tax?

It is a tax on property that you own within Pennsylvania at the time of your death. If you’re a resident of PA, most of your property, except for out-of-state real estate, will be subject to this tax. The tax is due by your estate in the nine months following your death.

Are there excluded assets?

Not really. Life insurance is the most prominent excluded asset, and farmland may be an excluded asset, but generally, most assets are included.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Dangers Of Doing It Yourself


Writing your own Last Will & Testament doesn’t seem like a bad idea at first. You can do it quickly, it’s relatively inexpensive, and you can create it online without ever having to leave the comfort of your couch. However, for most of my clients, a Last Will & Testament is only the beginning of an estate plan, not the estate plan. What I find is that, today, many families need to be concerned about asset protection, legacy planning and elder planning—none of which can be fully addressed using just a will.

Also, let’s face it—families are much more complex today than they were 20+ years ago.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Protect Your Assets


One of the top questions I get is, “How do I protect the inheritance I’m going to leave to my heirs or loved ones?” It’s a great question because it shows you’re thinking beyond just fundamental or basic estate planning. Instead, you are thinking about a legacy plan. With a legacy plan, asset protection is often used to ensure that what’s left to your loved ones isn’t squandered by future divorce, creditors, lawsuits, bankruptcy, spendthrift habits, addictions, etc. Asset protection is also used when a client is trying to protect part of the estate from being all spent on nursing home costs. 

Often times, asset protection planning involves the use of a trust.

Read more . . .


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Your Estate Planning Checkup


We’re quickly approaching 2018—doesn’t it seem like time just goes by faster and faster? Before the ball drops in a few weeks, take some time to do a quick checkup on your estate plan:

Locate Your Plan: Surprisingly, many people don’t remember where they put their Will, Power of Attorney, Trust, and other important documents. It’s a fundamental problem—if neither you nor anyone else can find the legal documents, what good are they? Use a fireproof safe at home to safeguard the documents—it’s likely you’ll remember they’re in the box. 

Review Beneficiary Designations: These are often overlooked, so you may have outdated or no beneficiaries on your accounts. Review your retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and annuities. Keep a list of your current beneficiaries on the accounts and when you last changed them.

Read more . . .


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Does A Medicaid Trust Make Sense?


Ensuring your loved ones inherit part of your estate even if you need long-term care (nursing home, round-the-clock home care, etc.) is important to many of my clients. But how are you able to preserve assets in the face of nursing homes and Medicaid spenddown regulations? You might consider adding a Medicaid Trust to your estate plan.

You may be reading and thinking to yourself, “What’s the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?” It can be confusing to a lot of us, so you’re not alone. But they are two completely different programs, and the one most folks know more about—Medicare—does not cover long-term care costs beyond a couple of months.

Read more . . .


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Critical Estate Planning Mistakes To Avoid

As we rapidly approach the end of the year, it’s a good time to do a quick review of your estate plan before the holidays become too distracting. I see many critical problems with old estate plans, but fortunately when folks meet with me, I can correct the mistakes. Speaking of mistakes, here are three important ones that sometimes get overlooked in a lot of estate plans:

  1. Not Having a Power of Attorney: If you thought having a Last Will & Testament was all you needed for your estate plan, you are not alone. But that does not mean you’re right. Estate planning today also includes having to plan for potential incapacity and long-term care.

Read more . . .


Friday, August 11, 2017

With Estate Planning, Organization Is Key


If you have recently put together your estate plan, congratulations. An estate plan—whether it consists of a Will, Trust, another device, or some combination of those things—is imperative to leaving a positive legacy and making sure your estate is distributed the way you want.

And while you can pat yourself on the back, you don’t want to forget an important “non-legal” aspect of planning—that is, organizing everything so that your Executor, Trustee, and heirs can find everything and easily settle your estate.

I recommend a fire-proof safe at home to store key documents. That way, the documents will be close to you and more accessible to your Executor.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Long-Term Care: Should You Count On Uncle Sam's Help?


There’s no doubt about it:  long-term care planning is stressful and costly, causing many people to simply ignore it and hope for the best. But it’s to their detriment. Some private nursing homes can cost over $12,000 per month these days, and the cost of nursing care rises faster than inflation. When I speak to prospective clients and clients, I get a lot of anxious questions about long-term care and nursing homes, but my answers provide little desire to plan for this possibility. Why? Long-term care insurance is expensive, and many of my clients do not have ideal assets to establish a “Medicaid Trust”.
Read more . . .


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The Law Offices of Jeremy A. Wechsler assist clients with Estate Planning matters in Willow Grove, PA as well as Abington, Hatboro, Dresher, Horsham, Bryn Athyn, Huntingdon Valley, Fort Washington, Jenkintown, Glenside, Oreland, Warminister, Wyncote, Ambler, Elkins Park, Flourtown, Philadelphia, Warrington, Cheltenham, Gwynedd Valley, Jamison, Feasterville Trevose, Richboro, North Wales, Blue Bell, Lafayette Hill, King of Prussia, Collegeville, Oaks, Phoenixville, Oxford Valley, Langhorne, Penndel, Bristol, Fairless Hills, Bensalem, Plymouth Meeting, Furlong, Philadelphia County, Bucks County and Montgomery County.

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