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Cumming Georgia Estate Planning Law Blog

Care planning costs depends upon health and circumstances

The average Georgia resident looks forward to retirement. In many instances, the individual eagerly anticipates the opportunity to travel and enjoy life. Unfortunately, these opportunities may not be available when the time comes. Depending upon one's health and circumstances, one may need to consider care planning instead of travel planning.

The cost of long-term care has risen dramatically over the years. For those who have millions in the bank or very little, this may not be a serious concern. However, for the typical middle-class individual, this cost can quickly deplete one's life savings and have a devastating effect on the family finances.

Basic requirements for a valid will in Georgia

Making a will that reflects your wishes and disposes of your property effectively can take a lot of careful thought and planning. Many people understandably tend to focus on the content of the will.

However, Georgia law does have certain basic requirements. If your will does not meet them, the probate court may deem it invalid, in which case your property can end up distributed according to intestacy laws rather than your wishes.

Trusts can affect Medicaid planning

A provision that limits the transfer of assets before a person becomes eligible for government medical benefits may also affect trusts. When a person in Georgia looks into estate planning, keeping this in mind will help ensure the protection of the estate. Medicaid planning requires one to understand how the transfer of assets may affect one's own medical care and the inheritance of beneficiaries. 

Medicaid is a government program that assists individuals with medical needs. To qualify, one must meet income requirements and maximum asset levels. In the past, individuals have transferred all assets out of their own name in order to meet requirements and access the benefits. In order to prevent this tactic, Medicaid has imposed a penalty period of five years. If assets are transferred out of one's name within the five years prior to receiving benefits, there is a period of time in which the person is ineligible for the benefits. 

Care planning is part of planning for the future

Regardless of all of the time and effort spent planning for one's future, there are some things that simply cannot be avoided. It is a fact that at some point in time, each individual's life will come to an end. As a part of planning for one's future, each Georgia resident will want to make care planning a part of this planning process.

Medicare recognizes the need for this type of planning. As such, Medicare will even pay for a care planning visit in a doctor's office. This is a voluntary opportunity for the individual and beneficiary to meet with the doctor to discuss the individual's wishes regarding end-of-life care and the life-saving measures the individual wants used.

70 percent of Americans without wills

At some point in time, each Georgia resident will die. Yet, so many conduct their personal affairs in a manner suggesting that they expect to live forever. In fact, research shows that wills have not been created by approximately 70 percent of Americans.

A will is a legal document that specifies how an individual's estate should be handled upon death. Generally, the will identifies the individual's assets and exactly who should receive them. In some cases, the law dictates how certain assets must be distributed. For example, a spouse is entitled to a certain portion of the estate unless other arrangements were made with a prenuptial agreement. The will also allows the individual to leave assets to friends, other family members and charities.

Medicaid planning and nursing home costs

As one ages, it is not always possible to remain at home. Sometimes, the Georgia resident's condition simply makes it too difficult for loved ones to care for him or her, and it is necessary to seek out nursing home care. While this may be a necessity, it also comes with a price tag. However, through careful Medicaid planning, this price tag can be minimized.

Nursing home care can be expensive. Medicaid does provide funding for this care; however, Medicaid also requires that the individual utilize his or her assets first. When this becomes necessary, it can put a huge dent in one's life savings.

3 reasons to consider establishing a trust

If your estate plan only consists of a will, you may be missing out on the various benefits of a trust. Establishing a trust can help you transfer your wealth and property to your beneficiaries according to your wishes. A trust is simply a legal structure that passes on assets to heirs according to specific instructions. Do yourself a favor and learn about three specific benefits of creating a trust. 

1. Avoid going through probate

Care planning assists with meeting end-of-life desires

Death is inevitable. One day, each Georgia resident's life will end; however, how and where this will happen is part of the unknown. While the majority of these details are uncertain, many individuals do have specific desires regarding the how and where. Unfortunately, unless these desires are made known through various care planning documents, it is likely that these wishes will not be fulfilled.

Research shows that the majority of Americans would prefer to die at home. As one ages or becomes seriously ill, the desire to simply be left to die in peace at home often becomes great. However, depending upon the community in which the individual resides, this may or may not happen.

Care planning often involves naming a guardian

Americans are living longer than ever; this is good news for many Georgia residents. Many look forward to the time they will have available to spend with family and traveling to new and exciting places. However, this will not be the reality for some individuals. Along with longer lives comes the possibility of becoming physically or mentally unable to make legal decisions. As a result, many find that care planning is a critical part of the estate planning process.

An important aspect of care planning is determining who will act as guardian for the individual and his or her legal estate. A potential guardian can be selected ahead of time and so indicated in the individual's estate plan. If this is not the case, it may be necessary for a Georgia court to appoint a guardian.

How to qualify for Medicaid in Georgia

As your age goes up and your income goes down, you probably are considering applying for Medicaid. Medicaid is a federal program that provides health services to low-income families. However, each state administers the program and therefore has the power to set requirements for eligibility and determine the type and length of services.

If you want to apply for Medicaid in Georgia, you first must see if you qualify for the program. An experienced attorney can help you determine eligibility and submit an application for the best chances of acceptance.

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At Hodges Law Firm, we handle a wide range of legal issues for clients throughout the Atlanta area, including elder law, estate planning, probate, Medicaid planning and protection, asset protection, litigation, and business law and services. We are knowledgeable in the law and understand the real life implications of legal actions.