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Cost of Probate

Probate is a complicated court process that includes filing fees, inventory fees, appraisal fees, recording fees, attorney fees, etc.  A typical probate will have fees of $2500 to $4000 and will take 6-12 months or more before assets can be distributed to the heirs.  We have ways to avoid the cost of probate, including the use of joint assets, beneficiaries, “Ladybird Deeds” and trusts. If you have an existing estate plan, contact our office for a free review of your current documents or to discuss the type of plan you need.

Taxes

Estate taxes should concern you if you are in excess of $5M and/or if you created a revocable living trust when the federal estate exemption was a $1M or less and the trust contained what is commonly known as an A-B trusts or Spousal / Marital trusts.

Gift taxes are probably the least understood of taxes.  They are completely avoidable if you do not reach $5M in your lifetime.


Income taxes are one of your top expenses each year.  One goal of estate planning is to move assets from taxable to tax deferred, to tax exempt.  Some of these strategies may be:


• Convert taxable assets to tax deferred assets

• Reduce or eliminate taxes on your social security
• Reduce or eliminate the taxes to be paid on your annuity when you make
  withdrawals
• Convert your taxable IRA death proceeds to non taxable for your heirs

Contact our office for a free consultation to review your plans.

Stock Market Losses

Results over the last decade have been unremarkable for most and retirees are worried about running out of money before death.  For most people, the top two valuable assets are either their house or their retirement savings.  You insure your house from any catastrophe that might happen. Now there is a way to insure your retirement assets.  No longer will you have to worry about the ups and downs of the stock market.  Contact our office for a free consultation to determine how much guaranteed lifetime income you can create with your assets.

Long Term Care

Long Term Care is the assistance we need to hire to help you through the day on an on-going basis.  Three out of four people age 65 will need some form of long term care in their lifetime.  Long term care includes a nursing home, at-home care, assisted living, rehabilitation facilities and memory care facilities.  Planning for these expenses may include any of these strategies:

• Annual payment long term care insurance
• Single premium long term care insurance
• Converting an annuity to tax free long term care distributions
• Combination life insurance and long term care policies
• Veterans pensions for wartime veterans or their surviving spouses
• Medicaid

Contact our office to set up a free consultation to review these strategies. 


Medicaid

Medicaid is a federally funded program that will pay for a nursing home where the person in need of care meets certain poverty standards established by statute.  There are legal ways to protect more than what is apparent from a first reading of the statutes. Generally speaking, we can show you how to protect from 50% to 100% of your assets if you need to go into the nursing home.  If you want to protect your retirement funds from the nursing home, or you need to have someone help you with crisis Medicaid planning for a parent, contact our office for a free consultation.

Veterans Pensions

For service connected disability pensions, we work with “Legal Aid for Veterans” located in our building.  They are experts at helping to secure a disability pension for a veteran who has been denied that benefit.
VA Aid and Attendance Pension:   Gary Allen is a VA certified attorney who has secured benefits for more than 100 people.  Contact our office to schedule a free consultation to review the legal requirements to secure this pension and determine whether you or your parents might be eligible.


Protecting your Assets after Death

Usually, after death, the assets are distributed to the heirs as soon as possible.

Sometimes it would be a good idea to put restrictions on the inheritance if the heir is:


• A minor

• A “spender” (the average inheritance is spent in 94 days)
• On Medicaid, Social Security disability, or other governmental programs that would
   be lost upon receipt of an inheritance
• On drugs and an inheritance would compound their drug problem
• In a marriage that is on shaky ground and you do not want the inheritance to
• Become a marital asset to be divided
• Inherits asset as an IRA (all the income tax will come due in the year following
   death)

We can show you methods to control the distribution of your assets and the income earned on those assets following your death.  Contact our office for a free consultation if you want to manage the distribution of your assets after death. 


Outliving your Assets

Several studies have shown that the number one fear of retirees is outliving their income.  Now, certain insurance companies will guarantee you a lifetime income that you cannot outlive, or if married, for both you and your spouses’ lifetime.  This approach provides predictability with guaranteed protection of your retirement assets, guaranteed growth, and guaranteed lifetime income.  Contact our office for a free consultation to discuss how much guaranteed income for life you are eligible for. 


Guardians and Conservators or Powers of Attorney

As we age, we often need to have assistance with our financial affairs. If we become incompetent and cannot make medical decisions, we need someone to make them for us.  A Durable Power of Attorney and a Healthcare Power of Attorney allow you to name the person(s) you want to make the financial and medical decisions for you when and if needed in the future.  If you currently have these documents, you should bring them in to ensure new laws have not made your documents obsolete.  Contact our office for a free review of your existing documents or to discuss creating these important powers of attorney. 


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