Why You Must Plan Sooner, Not Later

Estate planning shouldn’t wait until your later years – in fact, the sooner you begin making plans, the better – and here’s why…

Increasing Options

Planning for situations that can come up late in life, such as the need for long term care or Medicaid planning, allows you to plan and choose options, rather than forcing your family members to make tough choices based on availability and cost factors. When it comes to Medicaid planning, which is planning for the use of this need-based program to play for long term care, those who are not in immediate need may have the luxury of distributing or protecting their assets in advance, as Medicaid law limits benefits to those who meet strict asset and income restrictions.

In fact, Medicaid law allows a five year ‘look back’ period when they review your eligibility for this program. In other words, they review any gifts or sales that are made in the previous sixty months to make sure you are not giving away or selling your property to qualify for benefits. Any improper transfers during this time can result in a period of ineligibility for Medicaid benefits.

Lowering Costs

Some estate planning tools, such as life insurance, base a monthly rate on your age. When you purchase life insurance in your earlier years, your monthly cost will be lower than the rate of a policy purchased in your later years.

Peace of Mind

All too often in the news we hear of the tragedies that can tear families apart when it comes to end of life decisions. The Teri Schiavo case stands out in this respect, as a 7 year legal battle between Ms. Schiavo’s parents and spouse made national headlines when they disagreed on whether or not to remove the feeding tube keeping her alive.

By completing advance medical directives such as a living will or durable power of attorney, you are able to document your wishes and spare your family the heartbreaking decisions and conflict that can occur in these situations.

Author Bio

Catherine Hammond is the CEO and founder of Hammond Law Group, a Colorado-based estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With a strong focus on protecting families from the legal consequences of disability and death, she creates comprehensive estate plans that minimize taxes, costs, and government interference.

A native of Denver, Catherine completed her undergraduate studies at Coe College in Iowa, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in 1993, concentrating on estate planning, tax, and mediation. Catherine is a member of various professional organizations, including WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Colorado Springs Estate Planning Council, and the Purposeful Planning Institute. Beyond her legal expertise, Catherine provides transformational coaching to support clients and their families through life transitions.

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