Pre-Hospice care is catching on

Kaiser Health News writes:

“Gerald Chinchar isn’t quite at the end of life, but the end is not far away. The 77-year-old fell twice last year, shattering his hip and femur, and now gets around his San Diego home in a wheelchair. His medications fill a dresser drawer, and congestive heart failure puts him at high risk of emergency room visits and long hospital stays.

Chinchar, a Navy veteran who loves TV Westerns, said that’s the last thing he wants. He still likes to go watch his grandchildren’s sporting events and play blackjack at the casino. “If they told me I had six months to live or go to the hospital and last two years, I’d say leave me home,” Chinchar said. “That ain’t no trade for me.”

Most aging people would choose to stay home in their last years of life. But for many, it doesn’t work out: They go in and out of hospitals, getting treated for flare-ups of various chronic illnesses. It’s a massive problem that costs the health care system billions of dollars and has galvanized health providers, hospital administrators and policymakers to search for solutions.

Sharp HealthCare, the San Diego health system where Chinchar receives care, has devised a way to fulfill his wishes and reduce costs at the same time. It’s a pre-hospice program called Transitions, designed to give elderly patients the care they want at home and keep them out of the hospital.”

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Five estate planning essentials

Leaving this life and leaving loose ends can create a nightmare scenario for your heirs. If you haven’t taken the time to organize your assets that is exactly what can happen. With that in mind, here are five estate planning essentials you will need to make your passing as stress free for you heirs as possible.

  1. Draft a will

This sounds like a no-brainer, but statistics says over 50% half of Americans don’t have a will. Even if you don’t have a zillion dollar estate a will is absolutely necessary.

If the worst should happen and you don’t have your financial affairs in order, you’ll leave your loved ones a big headache, and possibly a financial burden. No one will be worried about home maintenance, but they will be forced to make crucial decisions about your estate at an emotionally charged time, with no idea if they’re doing what you had in mind.

Most importantly, taking care of this basic in advance will also help ensure that your money stays in the family and not in the hands of the feds or even an ex-poouse Here are five more fairly simple steps you should take now to protect your family and your assets.

2. Ask an attorney about trusts

This is where the Law Offices of Jeffrey Weinstein can be helpful. If you establish a living trust, your estate can bypass probate and its hassles, but you probably need one only if your estate is worth more than about $2 million, you own real estate in more than one state or you want to keep the terms of your estate private. In all other cases, you might want to create a trust within your will to manage your assets after your death. This is a good idea if you fall into one or more of these categories: 1) You have minor children and don’t want to leave property directly to them. 2) You have adult children and aren’t confident they can responsibly manage their inheritance. 3) You want to protect your assets from ending up with a creditor or a child’s ex-spouse.

3. Assign power of attorney

This authorizes someone to handleyour matters if you’re unable to act on your own behalf. There are two types: financial power of attorney, which lets someone take care of things such as writing checks; and medical power of attorney, which allows someone to make decisions about your health care. Without this form, your loved ones might have to go to court to handle simple estate matters if you were incapacitated.

4. Set up an advance directive

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5. Update your beneficiaries

Beneficiaries on your 401(k), insurance policies, retirement accounts and investments trump your will. So even though you’ve left everything to your children in your will, if your ex-wife is still listed as your IRA beneficiary, the dough goes to her.

We see a lot of errors in cases like this.  Review your designations about every two years  and make sure to choose a contingent beneficiary. Otherwise, if your primary beneficiary dies before you do, your funds will go to your estate, which can create tax and legal issues. It’s not unheard of for people to leave seriously outdated beneficiaries, like when you enrolled in your first 401(k) at age 24, you might have named your boyfriend as next in line? You might want to change that.

There are other essential that space prohibits us from listing, but if you contact an attorney like Jeffrey Weinstein, we can lay it all out for you an mak sure your assets and family are protected.

 

 

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Estate planning, not just a good idea.

End-of-life planning isn’t fun.  In fact, it’s a drag. But it’s an important aspect of managing your assets and protecting your family. That’s why it’s surprising that 6 out of 10 Americans don’t have estate planning documents, much less a will.

Surveys show only 42 percent of U.S. adults currently have estate planning documents such as a will or living trust. For those with kids under 18, it’s even lower, just 36 percent.

People don’t like thinking about death especially their own.That study was conducted in January by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, who asked 1,003 adults whether they currently have estate-planning documents in case of their death, and if not, why not?

Debbi King, author of “The ABC’s of Personal Finance” says,  “This is the ‘I’m going to live forever’ theory. No one literally thinks that, but we all want to believe we are going to live until our 80s or 90s so we don’t think we need a will right now. This isn’t true, of course. We all have an expiration date and no one knows exactly when it will be. The best thing you can do for your loved ones is have a will now.”

The Law Offices of Jeffrey Weinstein is here to help you with all your estate planning needs. Call us for a free consultation.

 

 

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Do you need an attorney for a living will?

You can make a living will without a lawyer’s help. Most states have designed their health care forms, called Living Wills and Health Care Proxies in New York, with the specific intention you will complete them yourself. Usually, you’ll need to consult a health care professional or an attorney only if there is something about your forms that you don’t understand. And this is why you should consult an attorney to help you.

There are a few instances where it would do you well to consult with an estate planning lawyer, like Jeffrey Weinstein Esq.or a health care professional.

Terms such as “artificial nutrition and hydration,” “persistent vegetative state,” and “incapacity” in the forms may leave you confused. A health care professional or lawyer can explain the terms you don’t understand and can answer any questions about how your documents work. Many hospitals and other health care facilities have representatives who can explain the basics of your state’s health care forms and help you complete them.

You might be worried that family members may not agree with your health care wishes or may even fight about your medical treatment. This is where a good estate planning lawyer can ease your concerns by making sure your wishes are clearly expressed. The lawyer can also double check your forms to be sure they are properly finalized and legally sound.

A qualified lawyer can also help you make health care documents as part of a comprehensive estate plan, including a will, living trust, or other documents you may need. While it’s usually possible to accomplish these tasks on your own,  it much easier to put the job into a lawyer’s hands. If it’s a question of hiring a lawyer versus putting off doing it yourself, don’t procrastinate. Take steps to make these essential documents or get the help you need.

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Inheritance laws in New York

New York is one of 12 states that tax estates of decedents people who owned property in the state.  Now besides that, there are other things you need to know when estate planning.

New York doesn’t charge inheritance tax, but the estate tax comes with one big provision. Though December 31st of this year there is a  $5.5 million exemption which means if the value of the estate is less than $5.5 million, the estate tax is waived.

That tax is in addition to the federal estate tax that hits individual estates worth more than $11,180,000 between gross assets and prior taxable gifts to pay within nine months of the individual’s death. You can get a six-month extension. But chances are you don’t have an estate worth $11 million. Only a few thousand people do.

New York estate property categories

There are only two categories in New York: personal property and real property, Real property is what you probably think it is; land and houses. Personal property is everything else. New York is not a community property state so the surviving spouse doesn’t automatically inherit the deceased’s property.

It does, however have what they call  a spousal right of election when deciding on inheritances for spouses. This law states that should a spouse pass away, his or her spouse will receive an “elective share” of $50,000 or one-third of the decedent’s estate. Should a spouse not receive this elective share, he or she has the right to file for it as long as it’s within a six-month window after an executor for the estate has been named.

Importance of a will 

If you die with a will in New York things are normally pretty straight forward, but it will still need to go through probate and people can challenge the will. There are ways to avoid probate and the Law Offices of Jeffrey Weinstein can help you avoid probate.

The State  entitles surviving spouses who have disinherited them to a piece of their estate. But this is limited to non-probate assets, such as property held in joint tenancy or a jointly held brokerage account paid on death to beneficiaries.

Dying without a will

An administration proceeding is the most common legal event that occurs in New York if you die without a valid will, but you own property. If when you pass away you don’t have a will, your estate consists of either jointly-owned or no real property, and your personal property is worth less than $30,000, you must file as a small estate.

Without a will, if you only own real property, it goes to your nearest relative.

There are other issues involve in estate planning and the law offices of Jeffrey Weinstein  347-305-8752 can help you navigate the process to lessen the hassle for you and your heirs.

 

 

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