About Your Estate Planning Checklist
Utilizing an estate planning checklist will assist the aging baby boomer to educate themselves on inheritance tax laws, protect their home from loss due to long term care costs and save thousands of dollars by taking some simple and cost effective steps by implementing a few documents.
We do not know what the future will bring. Baby boomers have expressed that they want to remain in their home and in the community that they are most familiar. Many own their own homes, and will live longer and utilize community health services than past aging generations did not need. Home care, adult day care, assisted living, respite care retirement communities are growing in every community.
Yet, due to poor planning, lack of education and preparation, many find themselves frustrated, angry and frankly shocked when they discover that they have to pay out of pocket for these services. Yes, you must privately pay for these services unless you qualify for Medicaid. Medicare does not cover these services. When you over come the shock of learning this fact, you will learn the term “spending down”. What does that mean to you?
“Spending down” is the process of reducing your assets or financial/ possessions of value in order to qualify for Medicaid. Simply stated, spend down is nothing more than spending your own money until the acceptable countable asset limit for your state is reached. At present, the asset limit in most states is $2,000.00 Medicaid program. Because this a federal and a state program each state has different limits and interprets the Medicaid rules differently.
More on using an estate planning checklist.
This brings me to Medicaid asset protection. There are laws that the government has put in place to reduce your assets and inheritance taxes and pass those savings onto your family members. Most hard working middle class individuals do not take advantage of these tax laws. Many feel that estate planning and trusts are just for the wealthy? This is simply not the case. No matter what your net worth, the money estate planning can save you, can be used for other purposes that you may need.
Some individuals want to have alternative or holistic treatments available to them. Medicaid will not pay for those services. Some individuals may want to continue to pay for out of state family members to come visit them, as they are unable to pay their own way. Medicaid will not allow them to have a fund to keep finances to allow that to continue. With estate planning and trusts you will be able to learn how to utilize the laws in place to protect your assets for the future. This will benefit you and your family or designated beneficiaries.
The planning checklist covers many different aspects of you life. Many think that estate planning is just writing a will, but it is much more than that. It is a process that has many steps. Those steps must answer seven very important questions. I will share a few with you today.
The first part of the estate planning checklist is to make a list of your assets. This list should include all your assets, financial as well as real estate, furniture, automobiles and jewelry. It is really important to be very thorough. The next steps on the checklist are putting a will in place, as well as identifying a financial and health care power of attorney and putting an advanced directive in place. An estate planning checklist is an important tool to utilize when collecting your Medicaid asset protection information. It will help give you the ability to utilize the laws put in place that allow you to legally and responsibly protect your assets for the uses that you chose.
Diane Carbo, a Registered Nurse, has more than thirty five years in the nursing field. Her experience as a geriatric care manager, makes her uniquely qualified to help those who want to live out their lives in their own homes. In the event staying in your home is impossible you may need more information especially in relation to Medicaid, get more answers to the question What is estate planning?. Visit her home page and take advantage of her advocating course, a free bonus for signing up for her monthly newsletter.
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