Probate has a bad reputation and is often described as a proceeding that is to be avoided at all costs. It is true that when someone dies without an estate plan in place and therefore, by default most of their assets fall into a probate proceeding, the probate proceeding can be unnecessarily expensive and time consuming. However, when incorporated into a well designed estate plan, probate can have a positive role to play.
The Florida Medicaid long-term care program provides much needed services to its participants. However, even with Medicaid in place, there are still services that family members continue to provide to their loved one.
When a spouse needs to turn to Florida Medicaid to help pay for the costs of long-term care, it can create anxiety for the well spouse for a number of reasons. First, there is worry about the spouse in need. Can their needs be met in an assisted living community or do they need the higher level of care that a skilled nursing facility provides?
You decide that you want to make a gift to a favorite family member or friend. You write a check and send it off in the mail with that warm feeling that generous acts can inspire. Who would ever stop to think that making a gift could cause you harm? The hidden trap with gifting is that many people are familiar with the IRS annual gifting rules, but they are not familiar with the Florida Medicaid rules.
“Does it avoid probate?” That is an important question to ask when evaluating ideas for how to leave assets to your beneficiaries. However, does avoiding probate automatically make it the best idea for your family? Is it necessary for every asset to avoid the probate process? Are there any advantages to having some assets go through probate?
Understandably, seniors want to maintain their independence in their homes as long as they can. However, as their needs for assistance increase, sometimes staying in their homes alone all day can create an unhealthy and unsafe situation. They may stop eating well because they don’t have the ability or the desire to cook.
The homestead is the house that the couple lives in as the marital home. It doesn’t matter that only one of the spouse’s names is on the title to the marital home, the homestead rights still attach to the property. The homestead rights are designed to make sure that the surviving spouse does not suddenly lose his or her home upon the death of the first spouse. However, in second marriage situations, sometimes this protection for the surviving spouse is a surprise and upsets the estate planning goals of both spouses.
You have finally admitted to yourself that it might not be safe to live alone any longer. You and your children have visited several assisted living communities and have decided which one feels right for you. Now it is time to think about how you are going to pay the potential $2,500 – $4,000 monthly cost of making this community your home.
Being a caregiver for a senior family member who is starting to lose their independence can be an emotionally and physically draining act of love. The caregiver shoulders the burden of keeping their loved one safe, which can be especially challenging if the loved one is suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s or some other kind of memory disorder.
If we knew which year the hurricane was going to hit our house, we may decide to buy homeowners insurance only for that particular year and not “waste” our money buying it in other years. However, we don’t know for certain when or even if our homes will be damaged, so we buy homeowners insurance every year “just in case”.