Elder Law Estate Plan: What is an elder law estate plan and what are its components?

estate planning lawyerA Trust

Most elder law estate plans are composed of either an Irrevocable Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT) or a Revocable Living Trust (RLT). The MAPT is utilized where protection of assets is required because the senior does not have long term care insurance. Assets need to be protected in the event the senior needs to go into a nursing home and will require Medicaid eligibility to pay for the nursing home expenses. A Revocable Living Trust will protect inheritances from creditors, and in some instances, have a similar impact to a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement.

Pour Over Will

In the event you have a trust written for you, it will be necessary to draft a pour over will to go with this trust. A pour over will pours assets left out of the trust back into the trust at the time of your death. If assets not placed in the trust are kept as joint assets with another individual or have a designated beneficiary, it will eliminate the need for the probate of the pour over will. The pour over will is an emergency device that hopefully will not need to be used.

Advanced Directives

There are several advanced directives. The first is a Power of Attorney. An estate planning power of attorney is designed to name an individual to help you with your financial affairs should you be unable to take care of these affairs on your own. Elder law attorneys draft very user friendly powers of attorney which include powers to change beneficiaries of IRA’s and other insurance contracts, allow the preparation of a trust agreement if one doesn’t exist and to make gifts pursuant to an estate plan.

Health Care Proxy/Living Will

Health Care Proxy is an individual named to make medical decisions in the event you are unable to make those decisions on your own. The living will provides a road map to family members and loved ones concerning the termination of life support under circumstances where three doctors have certified there is irreversible brain damage and that you will never gain consciousness.

Funeral And Burial Instructions

This involves preparing a hand written note laying out your final instructions to your next of kin concerning your funeral and internment. Distribution of jewelry and personal items in the household such as furniture, photographs and memorabilia is best handled in a personal note to the executor and next of kin. These items are not usually dealt with in a will or trust.costs of dying on Long Island