As you age, you will be faced with many difficult decisions, not the least of which is how to pay for mounting medical costs. Medicare and Medicaid are two government programs that purport to help you pay for care. But often, these programs are insufficient, encourage you to impoverish yourself, and offer poor quality of life. Proper planning, however, can help you avoid these traps, and maintain your independence.
Medicaid. Medicare. These terms can be confusing. People often mix them up, or think that one provides more medical coverage than it actually does. Continue reading “Deciphering Medicare & Medicaid”
When someone acts as the Executor of a probate estate or the Successor Trustee of a trust, they often focus on the ultimate beneficiaries of the will or trust. The Executor or Trustee tends to be concerned about whether a beneficiary will object, or how quickly they can distribute to a beneficiary in need. While certainly valid concerns, you should not overlook the creditors of an Estate.
When someone passes away, they will owe money to someone. Sometimes it is as simple as the last month’s utility bills. There are also usually bills owed from the last illness, like medical or funeral expenses. There may be larger debts owed such as credit card bills and the mortgage. Just because someone has passed away does not mean that these debts can go unpaid. Indeed, the assets of an Estate must be used to pay the last bills of the deceased person.
An Executor or Trustee is not personally responsible for the debts of the deceased, unless the Executor or Trustee guaranteed the debt (such as a co-signer for a mortgage). The Executor or Trustee has a legal obligation to use the deceased’s assets to pay outstanding bills. If an Executor or Trustee fails to pay known creditor’s bills when there were assets in the Estate to pay that bill, then the Executor or Trustee could be liable to pay that bill him or herself.
When someone passes away, a creditor has up to three years to go after the deceased person’s assets in order to have those assets used to satisfy the bill. However, that time can be cut short by simply giving notice to creditors. By mailing notice to known creditors and publishing notice in the newspaper, the Executor or Trustee can force creditors to file a claim for payment within 60 to 90 days. If the creditor fails to timely file, then their claim is forever barred by statute. Continue reading “Giving Notice to Creditors Best Defense”
“But I don’t have an estate.”
This is a common response I receive when I tell people I am an estate planning attorney. People often give me this response because: (1) they do not want to talk about death and dying, or (2) they do not think they have enough money to consider “estate planning.”
In short, this person is wrong. Everyone has an estate, no matter the size. This is because proper estate planning is not only about what happens to your stuff when you die. Instead, the first goal of any estate plan should be about taking care of you now and in the future, while you are alive.
Estate planning at its core is really about taking care of people.
Continue reading “Planning for Your and Other’s Care”
Elder law is an area of law that includes estate, public benefits, and end-of-life planning. In contrast, estate planning is a narrow area only concerned with protecting and transferring your assets to your beneficiaries and heirs upon your death. Traditional estate planning is based on the misconception that the only issue you need to plan for is what happens to your stuff when you die, and how to avoid paying taxes.
Elder law is more comprehensive. It helps you plan to maintain your independence, puts a protective covering over your assets, helps you access resources to pay for medical care, and minimizes burden on your family and friends. Continue reading “Elder Law Defined”
Heritage Law Group, P.C. provides clients from Minden, NV and surrounding communities with a wide range of expert legal services. From estate planning to business law, you can count on our firm to always put your needs first. Our experienced attorneys will take the time to understand your circumstances and determine the best solution.
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