The Difference Between a Simple Plan and an Ettinger Law Estate Plan
An estate plan has been defined as providing that your assets go to whom you want, when you want, and the way you want, with the least amount of taxes and legal fees possible. It most often consists of one or more revocable living trusts, powers of attorney, health care proxies and living wills.
An Ettinger Elder Law Estate Plan enhances the simple estate plan first by adding a multi-generational component, known as the Inheritance Trust, which protects the inheritance you leave, for your children’s lifetimes, from their divorces, lawsuits and creditors. More significantly, it passes the unspent portion of the inheritance on their death to your grandchildren, instead of in-laws or even strangers. In other words, with Inheritance Trusts, your estate plan carries on for decades after you are gone, protecting your assets and keeping them in the blood.
Secondly, as an experienced elder law firm, we know that planning for disability today is as important as planning for death. People are living much longer these days, greatly increasing the rate of disability. With about half of all people eventually having a period of disability, it is essential that your plan includes additional powers for your appointed agents (1) to change IRA, insurance, annuity and other beneficiaries, (2) create trusts or modify the ones you have, and (3) transfer assets in unlimited amounts, when needed. Elder law attorneys generally have the background, training and experience to know what powers are needed on disability and what actions the family needs to take. For example, since 1991 Ettinger Law Firm has filed thousands of Medicaid applications for disabled clients and their families. Many of these Medicaid clients were once estate planning clients of the firm and only became elder law clients many years later.
The elder law component of your estate plan also helps you to plan ahead from having your assets depleted for long-term care, either at home or in a facility. Long-term care insurance policies are recommended where the client qualifies and those policies are continually monitored by the firm over the years to be certain that the benefits are keeping pace with the cost of care. For clients unable to obtain long-term care insurance, for medical or financial reasons, as well as for clients whose long-term care insurance fails to keep pace with the cost of care, the Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT) should be discussed and considered. The MAPT generally protects your home and life savings, but is only fully effective five years after it is established. It pays to plan ahead.
Nevertheless, even the best plans for death or disability may become obsolete over time due to changes in the client’s circumstances. For this reason, Ettinger Law Firm invented and trademarked its unique process, The Lifetime Estate Planning Process, to keep your plan up-to-date so it works when you need it, not only when you wrote it, which may have been years, or even decades, earlier. Exclusively for Ettinger clients, this proprietary program provides:
1. Continuous computer monitoring of your plan for law changes. When a change in the law occurs regarding your will or trust, power of attorney, health care proxy or living will, you will be notified;
2. Our weekly email, the Ettinger Elder Elert, to keep you abreast of key information that you will need to know in the future; and
3. A free, in-person review of your plan every three years to address any changes which may have occurred in your health, your assets and your family (such as births, deaths, marriages and divorces). This way, when you need to use the plan many years later, it will be current at that time.
Unavailable elsewhere, the breadth and depth of protections that an Ettinger Elder Law Estate Plan provides are what we believe you are owed and deserve as a client. We urge you to join the over ten thousand families that have placed their trust and confidence in us over the past twenty years. As our logo says, and as our experience has shown, by choosing Ettinger Law Firm, you truly will be “Protecting your Future”.
An Estate Elder Law Estate Plan Provides
• That your assets go to whom you want, when you want, and the way you want, with the least amount of taxes and legal fees possible;
• That the persons you choose will be in charge for legal, financial and medical decision-making should you become disabled
• That your assets will not be depleted for the cost of long-term care, and
• That you have a process to keep your plan up-to-date, so it works when you need it, not just when you wrote it, which may have been years or decades before.