0

When Children Are Responsible For The Nursing Home Bill / York, PA

Bigstock-Elder-Couple-With-Bills-3557267If your parents live in one of 29 states or Puerto Rico that has filial responsibility laws on the books, you could potentially be held legally responsible for their care under certain circumstances, such as when your parents are ailing and without sufficient financial resources to take care of themselves. Until recently, these statutes have been largely ignored. However, several recent court decisions indicate that there might be renewed interest in enforcing them.

Filial support is not just a moral virtue. In many parts of the country and branches of the legal system filial support is a legal imperative. Filial support laws exist in 29 states as well as Puerto Rico, and have quietly existed on the books for some time. Now, however, these laws are a very real and present concern for the adult children of elderly loved ones.

Fortunately, Forbes has provided a crash course regarding filial laws and their potential challenges in an article titled “Who Will Pay For Mom's Or Dad's Nursing Home Bill? Filial Support Laws And Long-Term Care.

Essentially, filial support is the legally-imposed financial responsibility whereby children are responsible for their aging parents. The origins of filial support are found in some pretty old laws and lines of legal reasoning. History aside, consider filial support the flip-side of the legally-imposed financial responsibility parents owe to young children.

Nevertheless, in a modern context with the massive escalation of healthcare costs, some see a dangerous pattern emerging. This is most dramatically evident when it comes to the costs of long-term care. So are you at risk?

These are state laws. However, you might be liable if an elderly loved one resides in one of these states and you do not. Does this have your attention?

Be sure to read the original article and, perhaps, do a little online research yourself. If nothing else, find out which states have filial support laws. Better yet, consult with an experienced elder law attorney.

For more information about Children and their responsibility for Nursing Home bills, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Forbes (February 3, 2014) “Who Will Pay For Mom's Or Dad's Nursing Home Bill? Filial Support Laws And Long-Term Care

0

A Medicaid Primer 101 / York, PA

MP900289434If you have elderly parents, don’t wait to learn about Medicaid — sometimes referred to by a litany of other state names, like Medi-Cal and MassHealth.

What is your Medicaid IQ? Most Americans have heard of Medicaid, since it has been part of the national political debate for some time. A political discussion is one thing, but what does Medicaid mean to your elderly loved ones?

If you have elderly parents, it is high time to learn about Medicaid and how it works.

Fortunately, a recent Forbes article is a good place to start. The article is aptly titled “Medicaid And Your Parents: The Basics.” Essentially, Medicaid is a program run jointly by the federal government and each respective state government. Think of it as government insurance for, among other things, late-in-life medical care like home care or nursing home care when the one needing care has too limited financial resources.

Medicaid is “means-tested.” Consequently, having too great an income or too much in assets will disqualify a Medicaid applicant and create a legal hurdle to receiving benefits. In addition, having “assets” is not the same as having the money to pay for care.

For those with assets exceeding the Medicaid limits, “giving” assets away will only disqualify them from Medicaid assistance if the transfers violate the “look back” period designed to keep them from gaming the system. Of course, an elderly individual might have had innocent intentions when they made a disqualifying gift a few years ago and the need for Medicaid was unforeseen. Regardless, such transfers are a red flag when it comes to Medicaid qualification.

Each state is subtly different in its approach, but these are very real rules and they require careful thought and timing. Otherwise, it is easy to run afoul of the rules now and be disqualified from care later. You owe it to your elderly loved ones to start planning for a worst case scenario without delay.

For more information about Medicaid, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Forbes (February 11, 2014) “Medicaid And Your Parents: The Basics

0

Unequal Inheritances – Handle With Care / York, PA

MP900382633Advisors say it doesn’t happen often, but parents who divide their assets unevenly are playing with fire. That said, there are things they can do to try to keep the fire under control, so it doesn’t become a conflagration that blows the family up.

Sometimes it is easy to split up your assets like pieces of the pie, with equal pieces for everyone. Sometimes, the assets just do not split that way or maybe you do not want to split them equally. For those who receive something less than equal, they may feel spurned or sense favoritism.

How do you split your estate unevenly and still keep the peace in the family or, at the very least, keep it out of the courts?

The uneven distribution of an estate is always a challenge. Nevertheless, when it must happen, it must happen carefully. Why might you split assets differently among your children and what are the challenges? Private Wealth investigated this matter recently in an article titled “Playing Favorites.” 

While “favoritism” may be the sole motivation, such is generally the exception to the rule. Commonly, after a “lifetime” of rearing their children, parents may want to level the playing field out of a sense of fairness. Whether making adjustments for unrepaid lifetime “loans,” helping children who were less “successful” financially than their siblings, or protecting an inheritance from a squandering prodigal, the reasons for unequal inheritances as unique as families themselves.

Since there are so many variations on the unequal inheritance theme, the key is to ensure that your reasons are thought-through, valid, and, better yet, conveyed. Remember: inheritance and disinheritance are complicated subjects, both legally and emotionally. Depending upon your reasons, you may even find another path forward to be more useful.

For more information about Estate Planning & Inheritances, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Private Wealth (January 7, 2014) “Playing Favorites

0

Planning Your Family Business Legacy / York, PA

MP900422638These two experiences taught me a lesson about family businesses. Making a family business a family legacy takes planning and preparation. While each family business has its own unique issues, there are some common strategies associated with succession planning.

Sometimes, passing along your assets to the next generation is simply a matter of passing them along. You just let the gift and the potential represented by that gift be your legacy (emphasis on the “sometimes”). However, when the asset is a business, it is rarely that simple.

A business is not merely a thing. No, a business is a mindset, an activity and, oftentimes, even a lifestyle. It can get complicated. If your legacy is the family business, then with great responsibility comes the need for equally careful planning, preparation and dialogue.

Because every business is different, as every family is different and every individual is unique, what is right for a family business is something to be figured out and understood. That said, businesses have been coming and going for generations. Some have transferred successfully and others less so. Consequently, there are some tried and true strategies to consider when planning for your own family business succession.

Whether your objective is a sale, windup or succession, Forbes has provided a practical roadmap in a recent article titled “Six Steps For Making Your Business A Family Legacy.

Here are the six steps by heading alone:

  1. Give the family a reason to continue the family business
  2. Develop a management team
  3. Structure a business succession plan
  4. Fund the business succession plan
  5. Wealth replacement for other family members
  6. Have a successful business

So what is right for you, your family and your business? I recommend reading the original article and then consulting with your team of professional advisors. Your attorney, accountant, financial planner and insurance agent will each bring a valuable and unique skill set to the table.

For more information about planning your family business legacy, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Forbes (February 3, 2014) “Six Steps For Making Your Business A Family Legacy

0

Family Wealth And Financial Entropy / York, PA

Bigstock-Extended-Family-Relaxing-On-So-13907567The numbers also show that roughly one in three businesses pass to the next generation.  Just about 10% of family businesses pass to the grandchildren’s generation.  Still fewer make it to the subsequent generation.  Regardless of the reasons, family money seems to move away from that which created it.  Among wealth advisors, there is a saying: the first generation makes it, the second generation spends it, and the third generation blows it.

Family wealth created through a family business can be a wonderful blessing for a family. The trick is keeping it through the generations. Far too few families make proper plans to keep the family business going between generations. That is where the real work needs to be done.

Only the big family names (think “Rockefeller”) lead us to believe that family wealth is perpetual. In reality, family wealth left unchecked has a tendency to follow the laws of entropy as it devolves into chaos and greater and greater breakdown or division. This phenomenon, along with some constructive advice, is featured in a two-part Forbes article titled “How The Wealthiest Families Make And Lose Their Money.

The article offers a solid point about the power of solidarity. The family that sticks together stays together, and so it is with the family business and the family wealth. As a whole, the family assets get a single voice, a larger capacity, and even attracts the attention of professional management.  Absent that solidarity, the basic estate laws can effectively and efficiently work to pull apart the assets, the business, and potentially the family’s financial health.

As you read the original article, think about your own family assets. How do you want to pass along your family wealth, whether you have a little or a lot?

For more information about Family Wealth and Financial Entropy, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Forbes (February 5, 2014) “How The Wealthiest Families Make And Lose Their Money

1 147 148 149 150