This blog contains a brief summary of four important estate planning techniques for you and your family to consider. 

1. Make Sure Basic Estate Planning Is Done.

Do something. Meet with an attorney – most attorneys will give you a free consultation – or attend a seminar. Anyone with children should have, at a minimum, a will that names a guardian for their children. Preferably, you will have at least all of the basic documents in place: a will, a general power of attorney, a living will, and authorization forms.

2. Create and Fund a Revocable Living Trust. 

A living trust gives you far more control than a Will-only estate plan. It may help avoid probate court at death, prevent court control of assets at incapacity, provide maximum privacy to your family, allow for an efficient distribution of assets to your beneficiaries, and prevent unintentional disinheriting in the case of subsequent marriages.

3. Utilize Beneficiary Designations Wisely. 

Make sure you have named, and updated, the beneficiary designations on your retirement plans, life insurance policies, and IRAs. Additionally, convert traditional IRAs into Roth IRAs to the extent you can. This strategy may eliminate the income tax that you or your heirs would have to pay when withdrawing the funds and delay the requirement to take yearly minimum distributions, thereby leaving more money in your estate.

4. Engage in Medicaid Planning Sooner Rather than Later.

The last thing you want is for your estate assets to get drained due to paying for an expensive long-term care facility for you or your spouse. You cannot avoid paying for long-term care simply by gifting your assets or by moving them into a trust because the Medicaid look-back time frame is 60 months. Accordingly, if you think your family, rather than the government or a nursing home, should benefit from the fruits of your lifetime of labor, then the time to plan is now.

Fournier Legal Services has been a customer-service oriented, technology-based, paperless law firm from the day we opened, and we are uniquely positioned to help our clients navigate the current environment. For any questions related to Business Law or Estate Planning, please contact us by calling 860.670.3535 or emailing info@jeflegal.com.