One very pressing legal issue that seniors should be aware of is the growing problem of elder financial abuse. Sadly, a very significant percentage of seniors are taken advantage of in one way or another.
Back in 2011 MetLife released a survey, and they estimated annual losses in the vicinity of $3 billion. However, the actual losses may be greater, because many instances of elder financial abuse go unreported. This is because people who commit the acts of abuse are often close to the victims.
Long-term care costs are another pressing elder law concern. Medicare does not pay for long-term care, and it is extremely expensive. Medicaid does pay for long-term care, but it takes careful and informed planning to qualify, because there are income and asset limits.
These are a couple of the more important elder law issues of our day, but there are others. You would do well to discuss your future with a licensed elder law attorney if you want to be optimally prepared.
Many elder law attorneys offer a broad set of services, because one thing leads to another. Elder law matters are for the most part going to be financial in nature, so elder law attorneys will often provide comprehensive financial planning assistance.
This will include retirement planning, and it will also include estate planning. There are a number of different ways to transfer assets to your loved ones, and you should act in a fully informed manner when you are devising a long-term financial plan.
The estate tax is something you should be aware of if you have been successful from a financial standpoint. The federal estate tax carries a $5.34 million exclusion in 2014. You can transfer unlimited assets to your spouse tax-free, but transfers to others that exceed the amount of this exclusion are potentially subject to the estate tax.
We also have a state-level estate tax in New York that has a much lower exclusion. Until April of 2015, the New York state estate tax exclusion is just over $2 million.
You should evaluate any potential exposure you may have so that you can position your assets with estate tax efficiency in mind if it is necessary.
Speak With a Licensed Attorney
If you have questions about elder law and the other areas that elder law attorneys handle, we can provide you with answers.
Our firm offers free consultations, and we would be glad to discuss your unique personal situation with you. We will become apprised of your objectives, gain an understanding of your financial position, and make the appropriate recommendations.
If you would like to schedule an appointment, send us a message through this page: Smithtown NY Elder Law Attorneys.