End-of-life care options should be discussed

There are a variety of sources for families who want to learn more about the end-of-life decisions that they will want to make before the need arises. Regardless of where you get your information it is a topic that should be discussed and built into your estate plan.

Preplanning for funeral, cemetery and memorial options is critical, but it can be a difficult decision for many to make. Other individuals, couples and families delay even having the conversation because it is an uncomfortable topic. Yet these are discussions that should occur and be reflected in an estate plan or trust as individuals approach their retirement years.

One of the newer websites that can serve as a resource for families is (www.prepareforyourcare.org) The website gives visitors information on how they can talk about not just end-of-life issues, but medical care options during a  critical care situation.

Frequently people who are suffering from a terminal illness may not be able to speak for themselves and medical preferences should be stated in a prior estate plan. The Prepare website allows individuals and couples to get a better understanding of what their choices are in advance.

Of course if you have any questions on other online or printed sources, contact the Center for Estate Planning at 248-593-5000.

LADY BIRD DEEDS

  • The Lady Bird Deed acquired its name after President Lyndon B. Johnson’s use of it to convey property to his wife, Lady Bird Johnson.
  • A primary objective of using Lady Bird Deeds is to avoid Probate of real estate.
  • What makes the Lady Bird Deed unique is its language.
  • If the owners do not dispose of the property before their death, the beneficiary named as the default in the deed will have title to the property.
  • Upon the Owner’s death the ownership of the property is effectively transferred to the default beneficiary and avoids Probate.
  • When the default beneficiary receives the property at Grantor’s death, it is included in the Grantor’s gross estate and thus receives a step-up basis.
  • Property taxes are not uncapped when the Lady Bird Deed is recorded.
  • A Lady Bird Deed does not provide the default beneficiary with rights of immediate ownership in the property, nor can a beneficiary’s creditor make a claim to the property.
  • This provides estate planning flexibility because the Grantor can also change their mind regarding whether certain persons should inherit the property outright, in trust or not at all since they retain their present ownership rights.

To find out more about the firm visit http://www.lipsonneilson.com/

HOW LONG TO SAVE TAX RECORDS

  • The greatest risk of an IRS audit is in the 3 years after the tax returns due date.
  • The IRS can extend that audit time by 3 years if it suspects an under-reporting of income by 25% or more for a period of 6 years.
  • There is a growing trend to digitize all the records to make safe keeping in the future easier and more accessible.

To find out more about the firm visit http://www.lipsonneilson.com/

COSTLY ESTATE PLANNING MINEFIELDS AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

  • In 1998, 61 percent of Americans 55 and older had a will or trust. In 2012, only about 54 percent did, says a recent study by Texas Tech University.
  • A good estate plan can save your family money; it also protects you and them while you are alive. If you don’t have a plan and you become incapacitated, someone will have to go to court so they can make medical and financial decisions for you. The process not only is unpleasant but costly and makes your personal affairs a matter of public record.
  • After a divorce or the death of one parent, the surviving parent often just adds a child’s name (or that of another relative or friend) to bank, brokerage accounts, property, and other assets as a way to ensure that they can take control if you need them to, and allow them to inherit the assets when you die and avoid probate. You may not be worried about your child or another person you trust misusing the funds, but this joint titling puts these assets at risk if the other person is involved in a lawsuit, bankruptcy, or divorce proceeding as well as effects future tax issues.
  • One of the biggest misconceptions is that a will or trust is the final word, which is not entirely true. If you have a 401(k), an IRA, insurance policies, and other assets with named beneficiaries, as well as the payable-on-death and transfer-on-death account mentioned above, those funds will be distributed directly to the people named, even if your will or trust says otherwise.
  • You could also set up a trust that pays a child’s funds out over time and provides how the trust funds can be used for, such as educational expenses, a new home, or a wedding.

To find out more about the firm visit http://www.lipsonneilson.com/