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What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is not only for the rich or the elite. If you have assets and own property, you have an estate and therefore you need to have a plan!

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that covers nursing home costs for people who meet both the financial and health eligibility requirements.

Probate

Medicaid planning is the legal process of arranging your property so that your assets go to your family (or other people or organizations,

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Executors are responsible for:

Gathering the Estate

The Executor must identify and locate all of the decedent’s assets, such as Bank Accounts, CDs, Stocks, Bonds, Real Estate, Pensions, Life Insurance Policies, Death Benefits and Safe Deposit Boxes (these must be opened and inventoried).

Valuation of Assets

Property such as Cash, Stocks, Bonds, Life Insurance, Real Estate, and interest in a closely held Corporation or Partnership must be valued.

Payments of Debts and Administration Expenses

It is the Executor’s responsibility to pay expenses such as Taxes, Medical Bills, Funeral Costs and other debts of the Decedent.

Distribution of Assets

The Executor will distribute the Estate in accordance with the Will, and if none, then in accordance with the laws of New York State.

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Avoiding probate

The probate process is costly and timely. This process must be conducted in each state in which the decedent owned property is costly and timely. Any asset owned by the decedent is subject to probate. Probate can be minimized by taking assets out of your estate and placing them in trusts or by planning for their transfer to family or survivors via will.

Generally, assets in a trust are not subject to probate – making trusts very attractive to individuals who want to place their assets in the hands of a spouse, partner, or close family member. The mere creation of a trust does not transfer assets into the trust however. You must take steps to legally transfer assets or property into the trust instrument you created for it to be effective. Trust funding problems may be avoided by making sure that after you create the trust, you transfer the assets that are now managed by the trust.

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