Effective Estate Planning
Your heirs, including minor and adult children, may not see eye to eye on family circumstances, particularly regarding inheriting your estate. Relationships can change and intensify when you die, with underlying issues that bubble to the surface, creating tensions over your estate and possibly tearing your family apart. Even if your children get along well, distribution of your assets can require conflict resolution skills. Without previously experiencing any significant conflicts, even close siblings can struggle to maintain happy family relationships when settling your estate.
Proactive planning today can drastically reduce family conflict and infighting among your heirs. During these next two decades, vast sums of inheritable assets in the US will transfer from the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers in the realm of 73 trillion dollars to their adult children, and nearly 12 trillion to charities.
Wealth management groups estimate that roughly 70 percent of these families will lose a sizable chunk of their inheritance due to estate battles.
Yet sibling conflicts are not limited to money. There are always stories of heirs fighting over a piano, valuable artwork and jewelry, sentimental items, and even baseball card collections as they vie for a perceived edge of inheritance. Situations may occur where fighting families spend more on legal fees in court litigation than the actual worth of what the other heirs stand to inherit.
The easiest way to avoid infighting is to speak to your children directly to manage their expectations about your estate plan and receive their input. You can’t honestly know what your heirs prefer to hold on to once you are gone unless you ask. These family discussions need to include all heirs equally because if one heir gets a say about what they inherit, so should all, but these conversations do not need to cover every aspect of your estate
How to Utilize a Health Savings Account to Pay for Long Term Care
A third option is for those retirees with sizable health savings accounts to use pretax funds to cover long-term care expenses or premiums. Currently, those itemizing deductions can write off long-term care expenses above 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income on their taxes.
Finally, those low-income retirees with assets below a certain threshold may qualify for Medicaid LTSS. Applicants must pass a five-year “look back” period to assure they did not gift or spend down assets to qualify.
Typically, family members play an important caregiver role in their loved ones who need help regarding activities of daily living. This statement is particularly true in the earlier stages of requiring care, where someone may need help with just one activity of daily living. In-home assistance, community programs, and residential facilities can help your loved one stay as active as possible, accomplishing everyday tasks. The family-style approach constitutes most living arrangements for those who receive long-term care.
Many available resources help older adults continue to reside in-home and participate in their communities. The stay-at-home option in the earlier stages of a significant long-term need, or if projected care requirements may be a matter of two to three months, may be the most viable and cost-effective solution. Pivoting to in-home service provision is the most likely scenario for most American retirees. Nursing home residential space is expensive, and Medicaid can only supply so much aid. While most LTSS stays remain paid care and have relatively short durations, the lifetime risk for expensive out-of-pocket costs runs high.
Unfortunately, receiving paid LTSS care is not equally distributed among the US population. Generally, people with limited education and less financial resources are the most likely to experience severe LTSS needs. Over a lifetime, however, the more well-educated population with different socioeconomic advantages tend to live longer and can outlive their assets. Family is an integral part of the solution for long-term care while the federal government responds to the growing need to make this care more available and affordable. For your best outcome, be proactive in your planning. Most Americans will need LTSS, but few will have taken steps to plan for it.
Please call on us if we can assist you with pre-planning (asset protection) or if you are facing a challenge in paying for long-term care (crisis care). We are here for you.
DISCLAIMER No information herein is intended to, nor does it constitute legal or tax advice or the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Every situation requires individual analysis.