Using Trusts to Keep Assets in the Bloodline

I recently created an estate plan for a couple living in Metairie. One of the main concerns and planning goals was to keep a tract of inherited land in the family. The wife inherited the land from her father, and it has been in the family for generations. She wished to transfer the land to her children, but did not want her children to sell it. I explained to the couple that they should consider leaving the land in trust for the benefit of their children. I showed them how we could draft a trust to prevent the children from
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Starting the Five Year Look-Back Period for Medicaid

Under current law, Medicaid will impose a penalty for transfers (donations, gifts, etc.) made within the prior five years of applying for Medicaid long-term care. One method of protecting assets from Medicaid spend-down (e.g. nursing home spend-down) is to transfer assets prior to five years of applying for Medicaid. Assets such as real estate, bank accounts, investments, etc. may be transferred to children and/or grandchildren. Direct transfers may be a problem if your child or grandchild is named in a lawsuit, makes poor decisions with money, or gets a divorce. You also lose all control of the asset with a
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Wills vs. Trusts: A Quick & Simple Reference Guide

Confused about the differences between wills and trusts? If so, you’re not alone. Here’s a quick and simple reference guide: What Revocable Living Trusts Can Do – That Wills Can’t Avoid a conservatorship and guardianship. A revocable living trust allows you to authorize your spouse, child or other trusted person to manage your assets should you become incapacitated and unable to manage your own affairs. Wills only become effective when you die, so they are useless in avoiding conservatorship and guardianship proceedings during your life. Avoid reliance on a power of attorney. Powers of attorney are great tools to allow
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Critical Agent Powers to Include in Louisiana Powers of Attorney

An important part of estate and elder law planning is planning for incapacity. Planning for incapacity is often overlooked as estate planning is typically focused on distributing assets after death. Increasing life expectancies will continue to drive the need to plan for incapacity. For example, one in nine people age 65 will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The odds increase to one in three for those age 85 and older. Stroke is another common cause of mental incapacity. Properly planning for incapacity will keep most, if not all, of your planning options open. In addition, planning ahead for the possibility
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Planning Tips for Special Needs Trusts

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful organization Acadiana Families Helping Families for inviting me to speak at their 2016 Family Forum “Your Journey…Guiding You Through” in Scott, Louisiana on April 28th. We had a great audience who asked many questions about planning for a loved one with special needs. The forum is the basis for this blog post about planning tips for special needs trusts. Use care when selecting a Trustee. Loved ones or family members can manage the special needs trust while alive and well if they are willing to serve and have proper
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Planning for Persons with Disabilities

I had the pleasure of serving on the attorney panel for the East Ascension ARC Life Planning for Persons with Disabilities Conference in Gonzales on April 30, 2016. Much of the program focused on SSI, SSDI, Medicaid and special needs trusts. This blog post will review some of the planning concerns of families who have loved ones with special needs.  Understanding the necessity for special needs planning is a must for all who assist families with children, grandchildren or other loved ones (such as parents) with special needs. Don’t attempt to disinherit the special needs beneficiary.  Many disabled persons receive
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Planning for a Loved One with Dementia

When a family member has been diagnosed with dementia, it is critical to get the family’s legal and financial affairs in order. There are several key areas that must be addressed in any situation where a loved one is diagnosed with dementia or will likely need long-term care for any reason. For example, families should discuss options and preferences for care; acting on behalf of someone who lacks capacity; and paying for long-term care. When a loved one is afflicted with dementia, it is a traumatic and emotionally draining experience for patients and their families; however, proper planning can help
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