Our practice was founded on the principles of:
Taking the time to educate our clients. An informed client is a happy client.
Our independence enables us to provide impartial, unbiased advice free of any proprietary influences.
Our commitment to education provides us with the advanced tools necessary to furnish you, with the latest cutting edge planning strategies.
Asset protection planning is about protecting your assets from creditors - and it is not just for the super-wealthy. Anyone can get sued. Lawsuits can stem from car accidents, credit card debt, bank foreclosures, or unhappy customers, among many other things. If someone wins a monetary judgment against you, your family could become bankrupt trying to pay it off. To keep your assets away from creditors, you need to move them somewhere where creditors can't reach them.
Asset protection techniques include maximizing contributions to IRAs, moving funds to an irrevocable trust, retitling various assets, or using limited liability companies or family limited partnerships. To develop an asset protection plan, you need to talk to your attorney. Your attorney can discuss your short- and long-term financial goals and help you create a plan that will work for you.
It is important to note that asset protection planning only works if you act before you are sued. Under the law, you may not defraud current creditors. If you are already being sued or if you know you are going to be sued and you transfer assets so that creditors can't reach them, the court will reverse the transfer. That is why it is a good idea to put a plan into place now - before it is too late.
Every adult is assumed to be capable of making his or her own decisions unless a court determines otherwise. If an adult becomes incapable of making responsible decisions due to a mental disability, the court will appoint a substitute decision maker, often called a "guardian” or a "conservator".
A Guardianship is a legal relationship between a competent adult (the "guardian") and a person who is no longer able to take care of his or her own affairs (the "ward"). The guardian can be authorized to make legal, financial, and health care decisions for the ward.
Depending on the terms of the guardianship and state practices, the guardian may or may not have to seek court approval for various decisions. Or, a person may be appointed only to handle finances (the "conservator."). If this time comes, proper planning can help make this legal transition seamless.
One of the greatest concerns of older Americans is that they may end up in a nursing home. This not only means a great loss of personal autonomy, but also a tremendous financial price.
Depending on location and level of care, nursing homes may cost between $80,000 and $200,000 a year. Careful planning can help protect your estate, whether for your spouse or for your children. This can be done in different ways, by purchasing long-term care insurance or by making sure you receive the benefits to which you are entitled under the Medicaid program.
Special Needs Trusts
Special Needs Trusts, or Supplemental Needs Trusts are established for the benefit of physically or mentally disabled individuals. It ensures that it protects the disabled adult and their assets while still maintaining their eligibility for government programs.
Special needs trusts can provide benefits to, and protect the assets of, the physically or the mentally disabled. Special needs trusts are frequently used to receive an inheritance or personal injury settlement proceeds on behalf of a disabled person or are founded from the proceeds of compensation for criminal injuries, litigation or insurance settlements.
Careful planning and great care is taken in the choice of appropriate trustees to manage the trust assets and to deal with future replacement appointments. Special needs trusts are often set up under the guidance of a structured settlement planner in cooperation with a qualified legal and financial team to ensure the trust is set up correctly.
No one likes to dwell on the prospect of his or her own death. But if you postpone planning for your demise until it is too late, you run the risk that your intended beneficiaries -- those you love the most -- may not receive what you would want them to receive whether due to extra administration costs, unnecessary taxes or bickering among your heirs.
This is why estate planning is so important, no matter how small your estate may be. It allows you, while you are still living, to make certain that your property will go to the people you want and, in the way you want.
It enables you to save as much as possible on taxes, court costs and attorneys' fees; and it affords the comfort that your loved ones will not be burdened with unnecessary red tape and financial confusion.
Elder Law is a wide range of legal matters, affecting the growing aging population. This includes issues relating to estate planning, long-term care planning, retirement, guardianships, Social Security, Medicaid, and other important matters. It is best to seek an elder law attorney’s services before illness or incapacity becomes an issue so they can help you draft legal documents detailing exactly how certain situations should be handled if or when you are not able to make decisions for yourself. That means you will be in control of the care and treatment you receive regardless of your ability to assert what you want at a later point.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides health care benefits to veterans. The plan covers a number of health care services, including preventative services, diagnostic and treatment services, and hospitalization. The VA also offers a number of long-term care options through its health plan.
All enrolled veterans are eligible for the following services:
Geriatric evaluation -- provides either an inpatient or outpatient evaluation of a veteran's ability to care for him or herself.
Adult day health care -- a therapeutic day care program that provides medical and rehabilitation services to veterans
Respite care -- provides either inpatient or outpatient supportive care for veterans to allow caregivers to get a break
Home care -- nursing, physical therapy, and other services provided in the veteran's home
Hospice/palliative care -- provides services for terminally ill veterans and their families
Wills and Trusts
Wills, Trusts and Probate encompasses the roles and activities of Executors and Administrators; the creation and administration of Wills and Last Testaments; Trusts and Living Trusts; Probate; Power of Attorney; Living Wills, associated tax issues and various other related topics.
Everyone has heard the terms "will" and "trust," but not everyone knows the differences between the two. Both are useful estate planning devices that serve different purposes, and both can work together to create a complete estate plan.
A will covers any property that is only in your name when you die. It does not cover property held in joint tenancy or in a trust. A trust, on the other hand, covers only property that has been transferred to the trust. In order for property to be included in a trust, it must be put in the name of the trust.