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Kearny Estate Blog

Medicaid planning requires an early start to succeed

A previous post on this blog talked about Medicaid planning. This subset of estate planning can be an important part of a New Jersey couple's overall financial strategy for affording the medical care they will likely need in their old age.

If it is successful, Medicaid planning can allow a person to legally qualify for government health care benefits through Medicaid while still be able to pass at least some property down to his loved ones.

What is Medicaid planning?

The concept of Medicaid planning has grown in popularity over the last decade or so. Many New Jersey residents may have heard about Medicaid planning but may not be fully aware of what it entails.

Basically, Medicaid planning is meant to get around some of the problems with Medicare. Medicare, the federal health insurance program for those of retirement age, does not pay for every service someone of that age may need. For example, Medicare will not cover the bulk of a person's stay in an assisted care facility and, for that matter, may also not provide for in-home care.

The to-do list of an executor

As this blog has discussed on previous occasions, executors of estates in New Jersey have a lot of things that they need to do. Many of the items on their to-do list are legal requirements that come with important deadlines or timeframes.

If an executor fails to meet these deadlines, there can be serious consequences both to the executor and to the heirs of the estate.

What can I do if an executor is not doing his job?

New Jersey residents who stand to benefit from a loved one's estate or trust have to put a lot of faith in the executor of the estate or, in the case of a trust, in the trustee.

These people have a lot of power over a deceased person's property, but with that power comes the responsibility to make sure the property gets handled carefully. The must also transfer the property to the heirs and beneficiaries according to the law and to the instructions in the will or trust. This responsibility is what the law calls fiduciary, meaning that, as a trusted person, the executor has a strict obligation to act in the best interests of the estate.

How do wills, living wills and living trusts differ?

As you create an estate plan, you have many documents to choose from, and the differences between documents can sometimes be confusing. Three documents that people are often confused about include wills, living wills and living trusts. Although all three documents are common estate planning documents, they serve very different purposes and it can be advantageous to know the differences.

Last will and testament

Not much progress in the Prince estate after 3 years

As many music fans in New Jersey may know, it has been about three years since the rock-and-roll legend Prince died at his residence in another state. He was 57 years old when he died.

While his untimely death offers many lessons to the American public, perhaps the biggest lesson is that it is important to do at least some minimal estate planning, such as creating a will. This is especially true when one's estate is reported to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, as was the case for Prince. However, even those of much more modest means should heed the same lesson the case of Prince's estate offers.

Overview of guardianships in New Jersey

Many people in New Jersey have parents and other relatives who are older, sick or otherwise suffering under a disability. Such conditions can make it hard for such people to make financial and other decisions for themselves.

If such a person did not create a power of attorney, then it may be necessary for a loved one to get legal authority to care for their friend or relative and manage property on their behalf.

What powers does an executor have?

In the context of administering a New Jersey estate that is going through the probate process, perhaps the person with the most important role is the executor, who may also be referred to as a fiduciary, an administrator or a personal representative.

The job of this person, quite often a loved one of the deceased, is to gather up the deceased person's property, pay off any legitimate debts and bills and then distribute the balance to the deceased person's lawful beneficiaries, all under at least the informal supervision of the court.

The benefits of a special needs trust

Many residents of New Jersey have relatives and loved ones who face physical or mental challenges. The special needs of these loved ones can make it very hard for them to support themselves or even to live without constant assistance.

Aside from a natural desire to leave such people an inheritance, New Jersey residents may also recognize that their loved one truly needs all the financial help he or she can get. For these and other reasons, a person will likely want to include a gift or inheritance for their loved one as part of their estate planning.

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