Archive for September, 2011
PARENTS WITH YOUNG CHILDREN, BEWARE! REVOCABLE LIVING TRUSTS TO TAKE CARE OF MINOR CHILDREN
Many families with young children think they are too young to have a trust or that they don’t own enough for a trust. However, here is a true story showing that nothing could be further from the truth!
A few years ago, a young mother became an instant widow. Her husband died in an automobile accident. The husband had left life insurance, naming his minor son as beneficiary. So, not only did the young woman have to raise her son alone, but she had to go to court to be appointed guardian over the young son’s assets. This restricted her ability to use the assets, required her to account for every penny of the assets each year, and required her to pay court costs and attorney’s fees to do so.
Then, when the son reached age seventeen (17), he got into an argument with his mother and left. He moved out because he knew that he would be getting his inheritance within a year. Kids instinctively separate from parents in the early teen years, as any of us with teenagers can attest! The main leverage parents have to continue to encourage children is financial. Ordinarily, children are willing to stay with their parents until they have acquired the skills they need to go out and make their own way. However, when the financial balance is upset, children may be harmed by the assets they acquire.
Preventing children from receiving assets at eighteen (18), creating certainty in who will raise the children, and responsibly providing for them are goals that using a Revocable living trust for your planning can achieve. How much better would it have been for the family if the life insurance proceeds were left in trust for the child, with the mother appointed as trustee and able to use her discretion to invest and spend the money to raise the child without court supervision.
There are many aspects to family dynamics that come into play during the estate planning process. This is but one example. But it’s a good one!
SEPTEMBER 11-17 IS NATIONAL ASSISTED LIVING WEEK
Americans are living longer than ever before. Eventually, many of us will require nursing home care or assisted living. How many? Studies indicate that one in two women and one in four men will reside in a nursing home at some point in their lives.
The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), a division of the American Health Care Association (AHCA), helps Americans celebrate our aging citizens each year with an official “National Assisted Living Week”. In 2011, the celebration runs from September 11th through the 17th. During this time, assisted living facilities and nursing homes across the country will bring together nursing home residents, staff, families and community members for events, promotions and games honoring seniors.
This year’s theme is Forever Proud. It was chosen, in part, to remember the tragic events of 9/11/01 ten years ago and how our country pulled together in a spirit of unity and pride afterwards. On another level, the theme was chosen to address pride in other areas as well: pride in a lifetime of work well done; pride in skills mastered and goals accomplished; pride in the achievements of family and friends.
As an estate planning attorney, I applaud the efforts of the NCAL and hope that you will take part in this year’s celebration. We also hope that National Assisted Living Week serves as a reminder to you about the importance of long-term planning. If your current plan does not incorporate legal tools and strategies to protect your assets against the high cost of nursing home or assisted living care, now would be a good time to contact us to add this important component.
In a similar vein, if you, a loved one or a dear friend has recently been informed that they will need to enter a nursing home in the near future, we may be able to obtain assistance from Medicaid, the Department of Veterans Affairs and other sources to help cover the costs. Even if you or someone you care for is already in a nursing home and has been denied such assistance in the past, we may still be able to help.
As our nation reflects upon the events of 9/11/01 this year, we hope you will feel a surge of pride not only in our country, but also in your own accomplishments thus far in life, and for those yet to come.