Although it can be a sad thing to think about, it’s important to think about protecting your assets for when you pass away, or in the event you become incapacitated. Enlisting an attorney to help you plan for later life and prepare the necessary legal documents ensures that your family is protected when the time does come. We’ve put together some of the five essential steps you should take to put that protection in place.
1. Preparing an estate plan
Estate planning is the process of working with an attorney to direct the way your assets will pass in the event of your death, and to arrange for management of your affairs in case you become disabled. An estate plan in New Jersey typically includes a will, a durable power of attorney, a health care power of attorney and other legal documents such as beneficiary arrangements or trusts, that are all designed to protect your family if you become incapacitated or pass away.
2. Making your Will
Starting with the basics, a Will is a document that spells out the distribution of your assets and also specifies who will have legal authority to handle the estate (the executor). A Will has to be in writing and must be properly witnessed and notarized. Your assets are called your “estate,” and the estate can be distributed to one or more people according to the percentages you want. It’s a good idea for anyone over age 18 who owns anything of value to discuss a Will with their attorney.
3. Protection in case of incapacity
Serious illness or other catastrophic events can happen at any time, so you should always have specific protection in case you become unable to make decisions for yourself. Our elder law attorneys can identify which protections would benefit you, and help you to put them in place.
This may include powers of attorney, which are legal documents permitting someone to make decisions about your property, finances or medical care if you are unable to. It can also include Health Care Directives, or “Living Wills”, which tells doctors which treatments you do and do not want to receive, if you cannot make decisions about your own medical care at the time.
4. Coordinating Beneficiary arrangements
Even a careful estate plan can be disrupted if beneficiary arrangements don’t match up with your plan. Our attorneys help you coordinate all your financial arrangements to make sure your wishes are met.
5. Planning to finance long-term care, and Medicaid applications
Our experienced lawyers can work with you to create a comprehensive plan to finance assisted living, home care or nursing home care using Medicaid, Long Term Care insurance and other strategies.
Long-term care can quickly deplete your life savings and hard-earned assets, causing significant hardship for family members such as your spouse who remain in the community and rely on those finances. We will help you to create a tailored plan which preserves your hard-earned assets as much as possible and protects your family from suffering financially.
Medicaid is the government program that pays for nursing home care, assisted living, adult day care or home health for eligible people. Our attorneys will help you to understand and navigate the complex Medicaid process, protect the assets for your loved ones, prepare and present your application, and represent you in your appeal if your application is denied.
Legal support from Fink Rosner Ershow-Levenberg
You can trust our elder law attorneys to help you plan, protect and preserve your finances and assets for later life. We will guide you through the entire process, carefully evaluating your circumstances to identify which legal issues you may face and provide personalized solutions for ultimate peace of mind. Contact our experienced lawyers to get started today on 732-382-6070.