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Phone: 201-345-3018

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Ridgewood Estate Planning Blog

3 documents your parent may need after an Alzheimer's diagnosis

Most people are forgetful from time to time. However, when you noticed your parent calling you by the wrong name, forgetting important events and generally not seeming like him or herself, you began to feel concerned, mainly because your parent had reached his or her elderly years. Thankfully, your parent agreed to undergo a medical examination and received an early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

While this outcome was certainly not the one you or your parent wanted, doctors caught the signs in enough time for your parent to still have the mental capacity to make critical decisions. Now, you both feel it is time to get important matters in order.

Does your college-bound child have a power of attorney agent?

You always knew that your child would one day grow up and go to college here in New Jersey or maybe out of state. This year is the year that your child reaches that milestone, and you have likely already done a lot of preparation to get him or her ready to head off to the dorm. However, you may have overlooked an important preparational step.

Has your child appointed a power of attorney agent? You may feel taken aback by this question, but even if you consider your college-bound student your baby or even still a child, he or she has likely reached the age of 18. As a result, your baby is an adult in the eyes of the law, which means you no longer have automatic control over important areas of his or her life.

Medicaid, the irrevocable trust and noncountable assets

If you are beginning to think about your future and the possibility of eventual nursing home care, you are probably also thinking about Medicaid and its connection to nursing home eligibility.

You want your assets to go to your heirs rather than spending down to meet Medicaid requirements. This is where an irrevocable trust can help by turning countable into noncountable assets.

New Jersey seniors and 2020 rules for Medicaid eligibility

Medicaid is one of the many government programs that most people need help to navigate successfully. The rules change frequently and there are new requirements for 2020.

In New Jersey, residents 65 years of age and older may qualify for various Medicaid programs as long as the amount of their income and assets falls within the established guidelines.

Powers of attorney provide peace of mind at no extra charge

There are several important estate planning tools, but perhaps none more essential to peace of mind than financial powers of attorney and advance directives or medical proxies.

Both documents can go into effect during your lifetime. They represent thoughtful planning on your part, and comfort for your family in the event either power is ever required.

How can I benefit from a trust in my estate plans?

If you are in the process of creating or updating your estate plans, you may want to think about incorporating a trust to help protect your legacy. Trusts are not for everyone. Many people who have basic assets and wealth do not necessarily need to have trusts. However, if your estate involves more complex considerations and assets, a trust could be necessary to ensure that you retain control over what happens to your assets after your death. 

When structured properly and with the right trustee selection, a trust can give you greater flexibility than a will over your assets. To avoid potential issues that could render your last wishes less effective or nullify them completely, consider the following information about estate plan trusts

How to include digital assets in an estate plan

When most people think of an estate plan, they think of physical belongings, such as property and cash. However, in today's world, people now need to determine what to do with digital assets, such as social media accounts and projects that exist solely on a hard drive. 

When it comes time to create an estate plan, you know to talk about your house and other possessions with a legal authority. You should never ignore your computer, and there are steps you can take to protect such assets. 

Paying for your parent's long-term care

When your aging parent loses physical and/or mental functions, you may worry about what to do. One option is to become a full-time caregiver for your mom or dad. While this may save you some money, it may not be good for your parent or your health. You may look at nursing homes instead but not believe it possible to find an affordable facility.

What makes it harder is when your parents are just above the limit to qualify for Medicaid. On paper, it may look like they can support themselves, but you know that they would struggle to pay for long-term care in addition to all their regular expenses.

What courts look at regarding dueling wills

A will is an important aspect of an estate plan. It allows the estate holder to designate his or her estate as desired.

Sometimes, parties may update their will. If the previous will is not properly discarded, or if the new will is not presented to all involved parties, a dueling will situation may occur. There are a few key things the court considers in determining the best way to move forward with the estate.

Should your parent change a will after remarrying?

Your father is nearing retirement and wants to ensure he has enough invested to last him through the rest of his life. Your mother passed away years ago, and your father has not shown an interest in entering a new relationship – until now.

A stepmother is a new experience and along with her comes a slew of step-siblings and grandchildren. Your father and mother worked hard to build up their nest egg, but now with this new relationship, is all of that in trouble? It is a good idea to go back and revisit your father's estate plan after the remarriage.

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