May is National Elder Law Month | 2013

Happy Elder Couple

THREE LEGAL ISSUES NEW JERSEY SENIORS NEED TO CONSIDER

May is National Elder Law Month.  Elder law is an area of legal practice that serves the senior population.  The bulk of Bratton Scott’s elder law work is focused on helping families pay for long term care.  Qualifying for Medicaid is incredibly important to millions of families.  However, just as important are many other areas of elder law such as financial planning, estate planning, and elder abuse prevention.

Although there are many facets to elder law and estate planning, let’s just consider three of the basics that are often on people’s minds.

#1         Do I Need a Power of Attorney?  The bottom line to the question is, absolutely and unequivocally, yes.  Each and every adult needs a power of attorney to authorize a trusted adult to act on his or her behalf to handle financial, day-to-day business, and medical decisions.  The two main types of powers of attorney are the general durable power of attorney and the medical power of attorney.

#2        How will I pay for long term care if an illness strikes?   It’s not something you look forward to thinking about; however, consider that the cost of one year of nursing home care, in a private room, hovers around $110,000 (perhaps $220,000 if both spouses require care) in the South Jersey area. Our firm helps thousands of clients figure out exactly how to pay for their care and continue to provide for their family, whether through the use of private funds, long term care insurance, or through Medicaid.

#3        Will my heirs pay taxes when I die? It depends on a number of factors, including where you reside, the value of your entire estate, and who receives your assets.  The recent federal law changes do not make any changes to the NJ Estate and Inheritance taxes and it is just as important now as it ever was to plan for New Jersey’s paltry estate tax exemption of $675,000 as well as the New Jersey Inheritance tax. These taxes can range anywhere from 4.5% to 16%.

As with all estate planning, the sooner you consult with an attorney and map out a plan, the more money you’ll be able to protect, and the more choices you will have.  But, it’s never too late to start.

Protect the ones you love. Request a free copy of our Elder Law Checklist – Email Tina.Lutts@RothamelBratton.com for your free copy. For a consultation, contact Bratton Scott’s Attorney, Charles Bratton, at 856-857-6000.