As with just about every aspect of elder law, estate planning issues are constantly evolving and changing. Protecting your assets is more important than ever before. There are issues involving gifts, income taxes, estate transfers, powers of attorney, special needs beneficiaries and more. Making the right choices is essential for not just ensuring that you are provided for, but that your relatives and heirs will be as well.

Making the right choices means getting the right guidance and having a solid understanding of the issues you’ll face. Let’s look at the modern issues in estate planning, the decisions you’ll need to make, and how a qualified estate planning attorney can help you make the right choices.

Modern Issues in Estate Planning

It’s been several years since the ATRA, or Taxpayer Relief Act, made large transfer tax exemptions permanent along with portability, as well as modifying income rates and transfer taxes to bring them more in line with one another. Further, the Supreme Court recently issued a decision allowing estate tax deductions for same-sex spouses.

All of these issues and more come into play when you’re planning your estate. You’ll need the right knowledge and guidance to make the decisions to keep you and your family solvent. Just a few of the issues you’ll need to consider include:

  •         Estate transfers, gifts and bequests
  •         Estate planning strategies: wills vs. trusts
  •         Ethical issues and conflicts related to life insurance
  •         Same-sex marriage and estate planning issues
  •         Planning for special needs
  •         Income tax issues
  •         Powers of attorney and living wills

How to Make the Right Choices

There are a lot of pitfalls to avoid when you’re taking care of your elder planning. For example, a living will outlines specific medical directives in case you become incapable of making decisions on your own, but what if a situation arises that’s not covered in your living will? You’ll likely want a medical power of attorney invested in someone who can make decisions on your behalf.

Since these decisions will need to be paid for, you’ll need to ensure that the funds are there to cover it as well, which may require a limited financial power of attorney. Speaking of powers of attorney, paying your bills should you become unable to do so is also something you’ll need to be sure is in place.

Then there’s the issue of inheritance: do you use a will to simply distribute property, or do you set up trusts that enable you to have some control over how the property is used even after you pass on?

Seeking Help from an Estate Planning Attorney

When you start working on your estate plan, it’s important to have someone who can guide you through the process, educate you on all the current issues in estate planning and help you to make the right choices. At Stano Law, we’ve been helping clients in Cuyahoga County with their estate planning and asset protection needs for years, and we’re ready to help you. Give us a call for a consultation today.