Elder law estate planning provides for (1) your care in the event you become disabled as you age, and who will be in charge of that care, and (2) the passing of your assets on death to whom you want, when you want, the way you want, with the least amount of taxes and legal fees possible. These are the five steps to creating such a plan.
Step One: Understanding the Family Dynamics. Clients often overlook the inestimable value of getting to know the family dynamic. We are firm believers that the social goes first and the legal should serve the social. Too often it is the other way around. Once we understand who’s who and everyone’s interpersonal relations with each other, we are far better able to craft a plan that will work socially as well as legally. The failure to address the social aspects has led to many a plan tearing the family apart.
Step Two: Reviewing the Client’s Assets. IRA’s and other “qualified” assets (i.e. tax deferred) are treated quite differently, on death or disability, from “non-qualified” assets. The determination of the amount and value of all assets, who owns them, and whether they have named beneficiaries are of the utmost importance in planning correctly, including saving legal fees and taxes.