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Pick your own financial advisor

Financial advisers are one of the most important components of your team when you prepare yourself for what lies ahead. You are not only trusting them with your current finances but essentially putting your future in their hands. Unfortunately, not all financial advisors end up being trustworthy individuals.

Developing a plan for a parent with Alzheimer's Disease

A parent's mental capacity, memories and sense of self may become impaired over time. For family, it's difficult to see a loved one change and decline in these ways. However, you can take steps and make decisions to help maximize your parent's quality of life.

Long-term plan

Medicaid and financial eligibility

Medicaid/Medical Assistance Planning always involves the consideration of financial eligibility. There are many different factors that people may need to take into consideration when it comes to applying for Medicaid. Many people assume that in order to qualify for Medicaid, a married couple must be destitute and living in poverty. However, there are protections in place which can allow one spouse to benefit from Medicaid while the healthier spouse is able to sustain some financial security. We will explore this topic in this post.

Talking with an elder law attorney about Medicaid/Medical Assistance Planning can help a married couple protect their assets. No couple or family wants to sacrifice a lifetime of savings if one spouse needs long term care, either at home or in a nursing facility. There are a number of assets that a married couple can retain when one spouse becomes eligible for Medicaid. What are these assets?

How can you lessen the financial blow of dementia?

When it comes to dementia, there exists a lot of information regarding the disease itself and what individuals can do to prevent it. However, there is little information on how the disease affects a family's financial wellbeing or what they can do to soften the blow. This makes it difficult for Pennsylvania residents to adequately plan for life post-diagnosis. Alzheimer's Association strives to change that by offering advice on how to prepare financially after a dementia diagnosis.

After you or someone you love receives a dementia diagnosis, it is understandable if the last thing you want to do is talk money. However, dementia causes considerable financial strain on the families it touches, thereby causing even more stress as the disease progresses. You can reduce the financial stress by preparing for care costs ahead of time. By doing so, the person who received the diagnosis can participate in the decision-making process.

Why use an irrevocable trust?

Whether you are in the process of organizing your estate and making plans as to what will happen with your property once you pass, or you are dealing with the aftermath of a friend or family member's passing, you may be faced with some difficult issues. One of the most challenging may involve the probate process. Probate procedures are used to help transfer property to the rightful beneficiaries named in the deceased's last will and testament. During the process, the estate is inventoried and calculated, estate expenses are taken from the value of the estate and the remaining property and assets are given to beneficiaries. Yet, the probate process may be skipped altogether if an irrevocable trust is in place.

As you are creating the trust, you can decide exactly who you want to have what when it comes to property and assets. When you pass, the money is directly transferred to those named in the trust. In addition, information regarding who received property and/or assets is not a matter of public record, unlike the probate process.

Difference between Medicare and Medicaid

Many people in Pennsylvania may find it difficult to distinguish between Medicare and Medicaid, given the similarity in their names and the fact that both programs relate to health coverage. Understanding the difference is important when planning for or reviewing one's medical coverage needs.

As explained by MedicareInteractive.org, one of the biggest differences between Medicare and Medicaid is that the former does not require any income eligibility requirements to be met in order to qualify for coverage. Medicare is an insurance program administered by the federal government and its basic eligibility requirements are that a person is at least 65 years old or is disabled.

Factors to consider when selecting an executor

When people in Pennsylvania begin to consider making or updating a will, they may focus initially on how they want their assets distributed after they die. Certainly, this is an important thing to address with a will. However, it is equally important to give clear thought to who shall be named as the executor of a will. The decision to identify someone to essentially manage an estate is not a popularity contest and should be taken seriously.

As explained by Forbes, an executor must be able to deal with a variety of legal and financial matters, including filing tax returns and more. For this reason, an executor of a will should be someone with some prior experience that would allow them to understand or quickly learn the nuances of the job. 

Nursing home ratings and compare feature help with choices

For those in Pennsylvania who do not need to be in the hospital but require extra care, nursing homes are a valuable resource. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, 80,000 residents live in nursing homes, with over 700 to choose from throughout the state. With so many options, the process of choosing the right nursing home for a loved one can seem overwhelming at first.

Fortunately, Medicare.gov provides a compare feature that allows individuals to quickly determine which nursing home is preferable for them. In this database, the government provides information on staffing, penalties, fire and health safety inspections, quality of resident care, staffing and other general information.

Estate planning is not a one-time affair

Many people in Pennsylvania might believe that not having an estate plan is the biggest problem associated with these plans. Certainly, the lack of any proactive steps to protect one's estate can be an issue but so too is having an outdated plan. Estate planning is not something people should do once and consider it done. The tools used in creating a good plan should be considered living documents according to Forbes.

There are many situations and circumstances which may necessitate a change to an estate plan. One of these is outside anything an individual has control over and that is a change in the tax law. Many estate planning tools may be chosen specifically or largely for their tax advantages but a single change to the laws in this area may have major implications for these choices and tools.

Planning to avoid estate taxes

A major component of estate planning in Pittsburgh is ensuring that one's liabilities have a minimal impact on the anticipated amount of assets they will have to pass on to beneficiaries. One can typically plan to resolve a majority of their debts before their estate's are dispersed; they may believe that there is nothing that they can do to avoid paying estate taxes. Yet a closer review of federal tax law reveals that estate taxes need not be a major concern. 

Why? First off, only a small percentage of estates will actually be taxed (indeed, projections from the Internal Revenue Service show that in 2019, only around 31,700 are anticipated to be filed in the U.S.). This is because the federal government has established an estate tax threshold. If the total taxable value of one's estate is under that threshold, then it is not subject to federal estate taxes. 

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