Category: Estate Planning

Achieving Better Life Experience

Do I have to spend down my entire settlement or inheritance to be able to keep my Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? No! There is a new savings tool available to individuals with disabilities called the ABLE account. ABLE stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience. This Act was passed in December 2014, and it allows …

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6 Estate Planning Facts You Need To Know

While estate planning is a personalized process that is impacted by each individual’s unique family and financial circumstances, there are some questions that estate planners are asked, again and again, by a majority of our clients. Here are some of the questions I hear most often: Will my estate need to go through probate after …

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When a Family Member Dies Without Assets

My Uncle Spike had two claims to fame: He was a nationally recognized ghost hunter, and he was the Yukon Cornelius of the Penobscot River, prospecting for gold and regaling the locals and passers-through with his tales of adventure and fortune. (I am not making this up.) A millionaire, however, he was not. Bless his …

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Does all Property go Through Probate?

The purpose of a Last Will and Testament is to control the distribution of property in your probate estate after your death. But what property makes up your probate estate? Not all of it! Anything that is not part of your probate estate is not controlled by your Will and therefore will not be distributed …

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Medicaid Estate Recovery: Will the State Take my House?

There is a lot of misinformation and confusion surrounding estate recovery and the Maine Medicaid (MaineCare) long-term care benefit. One of the biggest fears we hear from aging Mainers is, “I don’t want the State to take my house.” That only happens in the context of a process called estate recovery. Estate recovery can only …

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The Forgotten Step in Estate Planning: Beneficiary Designations

Individuals often believe that a last will and testament is sufficient estate planning. However, a complete estate plan includes a last will and testament and planning for incapacity with a financial power of attorney and an advance health care directive. In some cases, a revocable living trust will also be included in the estate plan. …

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Avoid Capital Gains Tax by Rethinking the Credit Shelter Trust

Estate planning attorneys have traditionally employed a number of strategies designed to minimize or eliminate estate tax liability for their clients. While many of these strategies increased capital gains tax liability by forfeiting a basis step-up, with federal estate tax rates of up to 40%, capital gains tax was the preferable tax to pay. Changes …

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TIPS FOR A MAINECARE LONG-TERM CARE APPLICATION  

In Maine, the Medicaid benefit is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and is called MaineCare. MaineCare can help pay for long-term care services for individuals who are both medically and financially eligible for the benefits. The MaineCare rules regarding long-term care are complex, and they include: An asset limit for …

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Asset Preservation for Married Couples Using Last Wills and Testaments

When people become chronically ill or disabled, they may need long-term care (LTC) services. Given the very high cost of LTC services, many people will apply for MaineCare (Maine Medicaid). People are sometimes surprised to learn that the application of the MaineCare rules varies based on whether the applicant is married and what type of …

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