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Ridgewood Estate Planning Blog

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.

How long does it take heirs to receive inheritances?

When developing an estate plan, it is paramount to understand your state's laws to avoid as many fees and taxes as possible. New Jersey is one of the only states to have inheritance taxes, but spouses, siblings and children are typically exempt. 

When making your estate plan, you want your loved ones to have assets and money to have easier lives after you pass away. You need to take the right steps to ensure your loved ones receive their inheritances in a timely manner, so they do not go through lengthy legal processes. Consider these items if you want your heirs to receive their inheritances as quickly as possible. 

3 important discussions to have with an aging parent

When you were a child, you relied on your parents for virtually everything. As your mother or father reaches the final stages of life, though, you may need to become the caregiver. While it can be challenging to watch a parent age, you can likely ease the transition. 

As you probably know, planning is an effective way to minimize many of the consequences of aging. After all, with a comprehensive strategy, you help your parents remove much of the uncertainty that often accompanies aging. Here are three important discussions you should have with your aging mother or father.