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White Bear Lake, Minnesota Estate Planning Law Blog

Long-term care carries a high price

If you are like many in Minnesota, you have not wanted to think about the possibility of your parent needing long-term care. Perhaps you assumed you would be able to take care of your parent in the later years or honor his or her wishes to remain at home. Unfortunately, if you are noticing your loved one declining in physical or mental health, you may be realizing neither of these is a viable option.

You may assume your parent will rely on Medicaid at some point to fund the services he or she will need. Medicaid is means-based; to qualify for Medicaid in Minnesota, your parent may have no more than $3,000 in assets, although it varies from state to state. You may want to assist your parent by distributing some of those assets to other family members. However, each state also has a look-back period, and asset transfers that fall within that period may result in penalties. There are other options.

Is it time to start estate planning?

When many people picture someone going through the estate planning process, they may imagine a white-haired man and woman thinking about how they will distribute property to their grandkids. While common, this mental picture may not be the one you need to have when it comes to estate planning.

Even if you have recently reached the age of 30 and feel as if you have your whole life ahead of you, it may benefit you to start estate planning. Even at this young age, you have likely accumulated assets that will need addressing in the event of your demise, and you may already have children of your own whom you certainly want to protect after such an event.

Using estate planning to pass on your house

These days, you may transfer many of your larger assets to loved ones upon your death without them even going through probate. Beneficiary designations, transfer-on-death accounts and pay-on-death accounts allow you to pass on retirement accounts, investment accounts and deposit accounts to one or more beneficiaries directly.

This may leave only your house that would need to go through probate upon your death. Fortunately, even this asset can pass to a loved one directly. Even so, as with most things in life, downsides exist, which means you need to weigh the pros and cons carefully.

How To Discuss Estate Planning With Your Parents

One of the most difficult things to discuss with loved ones is the eventuality that each of them will someday die. The inherent reference to mortality in a conversation about estate planning has many adult children uncomfortable discussing this important task with their parents.

Estate planning should not be ignored, however, because of its ability to formalize wishes about financial management, healthcare, and gifts to family and friends. Here are strategies to make talking with your parents about estate planning a little easier.

What is a revocable living trust and do you need one?

Like many Minnesota residents, you probably know that you need a will. Otherwise, the state gets to decide where your assets go after you pass away. However, a will is not the only estate-planning document you can use to provide for your family after your death.

Have you considered a revocable living trust? This and other types of trusts are not only for the rich and famous. Depending on your family circumstances, a living trust could provide the best way for you to provide for your family after your death.

You've been appointed as executor. What does that mean?

You might feel like other Minnesota residents whose loved ones want them to serve as executors of their estates. You appreciate the trust and honor, but don't know what duties the law and the court require you to perform when the time comes. Hopefully, your loved one asked you if you would like to serve in this capacity before putting it in writing.

It might help you make your decision to have at least a rudimentary understanding of what an executor does. If you weren't given the chance to make the choice, but you still agreed to serve after the death of the loved one who appointed you, the information below will provide you with an outline of your duties.

Do I really need to create an estate plan?

Thinking about death is generally an unpleasant experience, so it likely comes as no surprise that many people in Minnesota avoid estate planning. However, death is unavoidable, so it only makes sense to create a well-thought-out estate plan in preparation for it. Creating this type of plan is paramount for ensuring that your assets end up in the intended hands.

Afraid an elderly loved one is being abused? Look for these signs

Sometimes the choices you make on behalf of an elderly loved one work out, and sometimes they go horribly wrong. You more than likely spent a considerable amount of time locating a nursing home or assisted living center that you felt would treat your aging family member with the same care you would, but when you visit, something seems amiss.

Appropriate legal protections for vulnerable adults

Minnesota families caring for an elderly and vulnerable adult would be wise to take the appropriate legal steps to ensure that their loved one is cared for and protected. Older individuals may face a myriad of complex legal concerns, but being proactive may allow your family to avoid legal and financial complications in the future.

By working with an experienced elder law attorney, you may also be to shield a loved one from negligent care, elder abuse and other forms of harm. If you are currently caring for or believe that you will be providing care and support for an elderly family member in the future, your lawyer can help you understand what legal steps are necessary.

Elder Law: Alcohol Addiction Patient Chooses Assisted Suicide

The "right to die" is an increasingly common trope in elder law around the world. In the Netherlands, assisted suicide is legal for people experiencing "unbearable suffering" and with no chance of improvement. Most of those to take advantage of the law are in the late stages of a terminal disease -- but not all.

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