What is Elder Law Estate Planning?

“Elder Law Estate Planning” is an area of law that combines features of both elder law (disability planning) and estate planning (death planning) and relates mostly to the needs of the middle class. Estate planning was formerly only for the wealthy, who wanted to shelter their assets from taxes and pass more on to their heirs. But today estate planning is also needed by the middle class who may have assets exceeding one million dollars, especially when you consider life insurance in the mix.

Estate planning with trusts became popular starting in 1991 when AARP published “A Consumer Report on Probate” concluding that probate should be avoided and trusts should be used to transfer assets to heirs without the expense and delay of probate, a court proceeding on death. Trusts are also widely used today to avoid guardianship proceedings on disability, protect privacy, and reduce the chance of a will contest in court.

As the population aged, life expectancies increased, and the cost of care skyrocketed, the field of elder law emerged in the late 1980’s to help people protect assets from the cost of long-term care by using Medicaid asset protection strategies.

We have been practicing “elder law estate planning” together for over thirty years to address these needs:

  • Getting your assets to your heirs, with the least amount of court costs, taxes and legal fees possible.
  • Keeping your assets in the bloodline for your grandchildren and protecting those assets from your children’s divorces, lawsuits and creditors.
  • Protecting your assets from the costs of long-term care and qualifying you for government benefits to pay for your home care or facility care.
  • Avoiding guardianship proceedings if you become disabled and probate court proceedings on death.
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