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February 2014 Archives

Estate planning must include medical care decisions

No one looks forward to planning for their own end-of-life needs, and for reasons that are entirely understandable. Estate planning forces us to confront our own mortality, which is difficult for many people to take on. However, there are important aspects of one's eventual medical needs that must be addressed within the estate planning process, making it imperative for New Jersey residents to have these conversations sooner rather than later.

Check facility ranking during nursing home planning

For New Jersey families who are looking into their options for late-life care facilities, there are a number of tools and resources available. One of those lies in the yearly ranking of nursing homes conducted by U.S. News and World Report. The annual evaluation is conducted in the hopes of aiding the nearly 1.4 million families who have to make this difficult decision every year. When it comes to nursing home planning, these types of evaluations can help make the decision-making process easier for all involved.

Estate planning regarding foreign nationals

The vast majority of estate planning advice is tailored to a family in which all members are American citizens. When an individual is married to a foreign national, things typically become a bit more complicated. The same applies to a New Jersey couple in which both spouses are citizens of another nation, but reside within the United States. These circumstances require a tailored estate planning approach that must take into consideration a number of important factors.

Lending to family can be good estate planning tactic

As the economy continues on a slow path toward recovery, many young families are struggling to move ahead with their lives in the manner they once intended. Loans are increasingly harder to come by, especially for those just starting out in life. In such cases, many New Jersey families turn to intra-family loans to allow parents or other family members to lend money to their younger relatives. As it turns out, this scenario provides benefits to not only the borrowers, but the lenders as well through some lesser-known estate planning benefits.

Medicaid planning must be realistic

For many in New Jersey, estate planning includes an estimation of how Medicaid will factor into one's later years. Medicaid provides many services to the American elderly population, such as covering the cost of doctor visits, medical procedures and medications. However, Medicaid is not a comprehensive solution for an individual's late-life medical needs, and there will be a great many expenses that are not covered under this national plan. In addition, qualifying for Medicaid can be tricky, and families should begin Medicaid planning well before the need to seek coverage begins, so that individuals can create a strategy for fulfilling all of their medical needs during retirement.

Estate planning 101: Why you need a will

Very few New Jersey residents relish the thought of planning for the end of their lives. However, estate planning is a serious matter, and there is a real and pressing need to complete this process in a timely manner. Failing to do so can leave loved ones with little or no direction when it comes to dividing assets or determining how their loved one would have wanted things handled, and can also lead to contention and strife between those left behind.

Estate planning is important, no matter the income level

There may be some New Jersey readers who believe that estate planning is only for those with a certain amount of wealth or high-value assets. However, estate planning is a vital step for all walks of life, no matter the income level. This step can protect children and beneficiaries and ensure that all assets are adequately distributed.

Billionaire's complex estate plan partially sealed

After a court proceeding, a court has agreed to partially seal some of the details of billionaire Harold Simmons' complex estate plan. The family has requested that the judge seal his entire will from the public, claiming that the complex estate plan could bring unwanted pressure to beneficiaries. New Jersey readers may know that Harold Simmons is a businessman who accumulated massive wealth and properties during his life.

Existing estate planning documents should be updated regularly

A person should probably update his/her estate plan at least every five years. However, changes may be needed even sooner than that in some instances. There are a number of issues to keep in mind for determining whether it's time to update. The first thing a person should question is how long it has been since the last estate planning review took place. Because of recent changes in federal estate tax laws, the need in New Jersey and elsewhere for larger-asset estate plans to be revisited is great.