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Estate Planning and the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Estate Planning Amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic has impacted every corner of the world at this point. As medical experts, financial advisors, and our colleagues that specialize in healthcare law, employment law, and other related areas are busy advising clients on the best course of action for the weeks and months ahead, we – as estate planners – also want to remind our clients and friends of some important considerations during these uncertain times.

At this point, we would simply promote the following actions to ensure that your estate planning affairs are in order:

(1) Review your existing documents. Make sure that you have copies (either paper or electronic) of your existing estate planning documents, and review them to confirm that they still reflect your wishes. If you cannot locate your documents, consider calling or emailing your estate planning attorney to obtain copies.

(2) Pinpoint any items that require attention sooner rather than later. As you review, take note of any major changes that may have occurred in your family since you last updated your estate plan. These might include child births, deaths, marriages, divorces, etc. And also consider whether the individuals that you previously appointed to serve as your agents are still appropriate.

(3) Follow up with your loved ones and advisors.

  • Make sure that your loved ones know to contact your estate planning attorney in the event anything should happen to you. This includes your named executor (i.e. personal representative under your will, or trustee of your trust), guardian for your minor children, attorney-in-fact under your financial durable power of attorney, and patient advocate under your health care power of attorney.
  • Consider reaching out to your financial advisor, insurance advisor, etc. to ensure that your beneficiary designations are up to date and discuss any new planning opportunities relative to your current financial status.
  • If you require any medical attention in the near future, confirm that your medical provider has a copy of your patient advocate designation and is informed as to who you wish to have access to your confidential health information.

NOTE – If you do not already have an estate plan, now is as good of a time as any to consider the opportunity before you. Having a will/trust, a durable general power of attorney, and a healthcare power of attorney can certainly contribute to a healthy state of mind.

Estate Planning Protects Your Loved Ones and Savings

By Medicaid Planning and Gifting

ESTATE PLANNING: For All Stages Of Life

Don’t put your life savings at risk. Meet with an attorney to discuss your estate plan. We have a plan for all ages and stages of life. Call attorney Matthew Leonard at 401-401.648.7000 for your free consultation.

Procrastination in most things in life will bring about bad results. Estate Planning is no exception. It has been said that A FAILURE TO PLAN IS A PLAN TO FAIL. In the context of estate planning – it is very true.

Regardless of if you are single, newlywed, married with kids, empty nesters or retired.

Regardless if you are in fine health, average health, or failing health.

Regardless if you are rich, poor or all measurements in between.

With your estate plan you get to ensure that your assets are protected during your life, and then the people you are most concerned for get to benefit from what you have died. Meeting with an attorney to discuss your story – your concerns – your wishes is the only way you can ensure your dreams and wishes are fulfilled.

Contact our office to discuss your estate planing goals.

 

Fraud: Targeting the Elderly

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Schemes Targeting Elderly Not Limited to Tax-Related Scams

While tax-related fraud schemes aimed at seniors have been in the news, financial schemes targeting the elderly aren’t restricted to those involving Internal Revenue Service impersonation calls or tax refund fraud.Elder Fraud

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a civil complaint alleging multiple international mail fraud schemes that have defrauded elderly and vulnerable U.S. victims out of tens of millions of dollars. According to the complaint, U.S. residents received fraudulent direct mail solicitations that falsely claimed that individual victims had won, or would soon win cash, prizes or other bonus. The solicitations appeared to be personalized even though they were really form letters mailed to hundreds of thousands of potential victims.

The solicitations typically matched one of three types:

  • False claims that the victim is the winner of a lottery or sweepstakes and will receive winnings if they pay a processing fee;
  • False claims that the victim has won a large sum of money and should purchase a “guaranteed,” “secret” method for winning lotteries and other games of chance; or
  • Solicitations allegedly from a psychic who has “seen” the victim winning large sums of money through the lottery or other contest which will only happen if with the purchase of various supernatural and divinatory objects or services.

fraud-alertIn some instances, the solicitations claim that the recipient has already been confirmed the winner of a prize in bold, prominent lettering, but then explain in smaller text that the prize drawing has not yet taken place or that there is no prize drawing. Potential prizes touted were said to be in excess of $20,000 and included cash, checks, amounts held in trust, and cars. DOJ estimates that more than half a million victims responded, netting the defendants $18 million.

 

Elder Abuse from Children – the Opioid Crisis

Reports of suspected elder abuse in Massachusetts have surged over the past five years, according to state figures — a troubling increase that law enforcement and elder advocates say is fueled in part by the opioid crisis and addicted adult children exploiting parents and other relatives. Since 2011, abuse reports have climbed 37 percent, with more than 1,000 additional cases reported each of the past five years to protective services offices. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the agency that tracks and investigates abuse, recorded nearly 25,000 cases last year, but the state’s numbers do not delineate how many involved opioids. More adult children addicted to opioids are moving back in with their elderly parents, Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said. Retired parents, with their monthly Social Security and pension checks, become easy targets for financial, physical, and emotional abuse.

Protecting the Elderly from Fraud

Want to protect your elderly loved one? While people certainly have the right to choose where they spend their money, we don’t want our loved ones prayed upon and taken advantage of. Keep in close contact with your loved one.  Watch for any changes in spending or behaviors. Review mail received for any solicitations that are seeking donations of payments. If irregularities are noted, inquire into spending habits. If possible, review banking and financial records.

Consider executing a Durable General Power of Attorney to address any competency issues. A fully considered and executed estate plan will often minimize the chance that the Elderly will be targeted by fraudulent activity.

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6 Major Reasons For Planning Your Estate

By Uncategorized

Estate and asset protection planning provides solutions to the following types of concerns:

Estate_planning

How will I avoid the cost and inconvenience of probate for my spouse and children?

If you have ever been confronted with needing to administer an Estate for a loved one who died without a will or estate plan, they quickly realize the time and expense associated with the probate process.  For many clients, the best solution is a revocable trust, often referred to as a living trust. This document when funded will enable you to avoid the probate process.

 

If I can’t make legal, financial, or healthcare decisions for myself, how can I be sure my wishes are carried out?

Again, a revocable trust may provide the answer. In addition, every client needs a durable power of attorney and a health care proxy appointing a trusted individual to make financial and health care decisions for you when you no longer can yourself.

 

How can I make sure my wealth and possessions end up in the right hands when I’m gone?

Wills and trusts are vehicles for passing on your assets to those you choose. Many clients are concerned about funds they leave to their children being at risk of their children’s creditors, spouses upon divorce, or simply bad decisions their children may make. For them, a family protection trust can provide the protection they seek. In addition, proper planning will prevent the payment of unavoidable estate taxes upon your death.

 

My spouse needs more care than I can give. Will we lose everything to pay for care, or are there options?

Not if you plan properly, the earlier, the better. There are a number of planning options available to spouses of nursing home residents to protect their financial well-being while qualifying their ill spouse for Medicaid coverage of nursing home fees.

 

My child is disabled. How can I provide for her future?

We have helped many parents of children with special needs plan for their children through the creation of a special needs trust funded with life insurance.

 

What legacy will I leave?

Your greatest legacy of course is the children and grandchildren you raise, if any, and the memories you leave with your family, friends, and work colleagues. However, support of charities and an estate plan that provides for your family and smoothly passes on what you leave behind will also contribute greatly to the legacy you leave and your family’s welfare for decades to come.

Contact us today for more information 401.648.7000

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Peace of Mind Checklist

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Estate Planning Peace of Mind Checklist 

Please check the following questions that are important to you:

Happy senior man and woman couple dancing and holding hands after finishing medicaid with RI medicaid planning

________ I am concerned about losing my assets to the high costs of long-term care for myself and my spouse. Will we lose everything to pay for care, or are there options (Medicaid Planning)?

________ My child is disabled. How can I protect his or her future (Special Needs Planning)?

________ How can I set things up so my kids’ inheritance will be protected if they get divorced or are sued (Asset Protection Planning)?

 

________ My parents are aging. What should I know to help them to remain independent and protect their assets (Medicaid Planning)?

________ How can I minimize or eliminate paying taxes upon my death (Tax Planning)?

________ Do I have to be wealthy to benefit from a living trust? What are its benefits (Probate Avoidance Planning)?

________ If I can’t make legal and financial decisions for myself, how can I be sure my affairs are conducted in my best interest (Durable                        Powers of Attorney) ?

________ If I am too ill to make health care decisions for myself, how can I be sure my wishes will be carried out (Health Care Power of                               Attorney)?

________ How can I be sure my money and property end up in the right hands when I’m gone (Estate Planning with Trusts)?

________ My parent just passed away. What do I do now (Probate Administration)?

Many of our clients came to us with the same questions. They all seek the same thing: PEACE OF MIND FOR THEMSELVES AND FOR THE ONES THEY LOVE.

Estate Planning is a general term the encompass each of the stated questions and concerns above. The paths of Estate Planning are:

  • Medicaid Planning
  • Special Needs Planning
  • Asset Protection Planning
  • Tax Planning
  • Probate Avoidance Planning
  • Long Term Care Planning
  • Disability Planning – Powers of Attorney – Financial and Medical
  • Planning with Trusts
  • Probate and Estate Administration Planning

Contact us for estate and elder law planning solutions, PROVIDING YOU WITH PEACE OF MIND BY ADDRESS ALL YOUR  LIFE’S CONCERNS AND GOALS THROUGH DRAFTING AN ESTATE PLAN THAT ADDRESSES YOUR GOALS.

Call our office today at 401.648.7000

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