As estate planning and elder law attorneys, serving people in and around Clinton Township, Michigan is very meaningful to us. We have a long-standing connection to the area, and there is no place in the world that we would rather live.
You have access to an unbelievable cornucopia of activities when you live in our area, and the landscape is truly gorgeous. Clinton Township is known for its beautiful parks, with George George Memorial Park being a centerpiece. It’s a great place to call home, and many famous people do just that, including music superstar Eminem.
When you combine the unique identity of Clinton Township with the easy access to Detroit proper, you can see that it truly provides its residents with the best of all possible worlds.
Wills and Trusts
Estate planning involves the utilization of legal devices like wills and trusts. A last will can be a suitable asset transfer vehicle under simple circumstances, but a trust of some kind is usually going to be a better choice.
Things are not as simple as they may seem to be if you use a last will. An estate is not administered in a vacuum when a will is used. The executor that is named in a will would be required to admit it to probate. Subsequently, the probate court would get involved, and the heirs would not receive their inheritances during the probate process.
This can be a long wait, because a best case scenario would be somewhere in the vicinity of a year. Complex circumstances can result in a much longer probate process.
On the other hand, if you were to use a living trust, the probate process would be completely avoided. Assets in the trust could be distributed to the beneficiaries after your passing in a more timely manner, and you could also include spendthrift protections.
A living trust is a revocable trust, but there are also irrevocable trusts. These trusts accomplish more advanced estate planning goals. Irrevocable trusts can provide estate tax efficiency and asset protection.
You can also use an irrevocable supplemental needs trust to provide for a loved one with special needs who is relying on government benefits. This is key, because a direct inheritance can cause a loss of eligibility for need-based government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.
Nursing Home Asset Protection
To properly plan your estate, you have to consider the expenses that you may incur toward the end of your life. The United States Census Bureau tells us that around one fourth of people who are at least 85 years of age are residing in nursing homes. This figure goes up to 50 percent when you are talking about elders who are 95 years old and older.
Nursing homes are extremely expensive everywhere, and the costs in the Detroit area exceed the national averages. In our area, you are looking at six figures a year, and people often require care for multiple years.
Many people assume that Medicare would pick up the tab, but this is not the case. The Medicare program does not pay for nursing home care. However, Medicaid does pay for long-term care if you can obtain eligibility.
Of course, Medicaid is only available to people with limited financial resources. To qualify for Medicaid, you could essentially give your loved ones their inheritances in advance.
This sounds simple enough, but the five-year look-back complicates things. If you give gifts before you apply for Medicaid, the gift giving must be completed at least five years before you submit your application. You are penalized, and your eligibility is delayed if you violate this rule.
Intelligent advance planning is the key to Medicaid eligibility. We help our clients position their assets wisely with future Medicaid eligibility in mind. If things are done correctly, assets can stay in the family, but Medicaid eligibility can be obtained when the time is right.
Studies are conducted that are intended to get a feel for the estate planning preparedness of American adults. Even though passing away is one of the certainties of life, the majority of people are not appropriately prepared from an estate planning perspective.
There are also those who have estate plans that they created decades ago, but in the meantime, things can change considerably. These people are also taking big risks.
If you know that you need to take action, but you don’t know where to begin, our doors are open. We are Clinton Township locals, and we understand the needs of our neighbors here in the community that we call home. To schedule a consultation, give us a call at (586) 493-7661 or send us a message through our contact page.