Believe it or not, somewhere in the vicinity of 10,000 Americans are applying for Social Security each and every day. This volume of applications is expected to be handled by the Social Security Administration into the foreseeable future.
One of the primary elder law issues of our day is the matter of long-term care and the expenses that go along with it. Though most seniors will qualify for Medicare coverage, this program will not help with assisted-living costs.
A very significant percentage of senior citizens simply cannot absorb these costs out-of-pocket without losing everything that they intended to leave behind to their family members.
Genworth Financial tells us that the median annual cost for a private room in a nursing home in the state of Connecticut is a whopping $155,125. A year in a semi-private room comes with a median cost of $142,168 according to this survey.
Elder law attorneys help people who are concerned about long-term care costs. This can involve positioning your assets with future Medicaid eligibility in mind.
Medicaid is a government health insurance program that will pay for long-term care, but there are income and asset limits.
Most elder law attorneys also focus on the estate planning niche. Everyone should have an estate plan in place, but unfortunately, studies indicate that most American adults are not fully prepared.
When you plan your estate you make sure that your assets will be distributed in accordance with your wishes after you pass away. There are various different ways that you can facilitate asset transfers.
The last will is a possibility, but there are other options available to you. A last will is not always the best choice.
For example, some people have estate tax concerns. The federal estate tax comes with a $5.34 million exclusion in 2014. This is the amount that you could transfer to people other than your spouse tax-free. Transfers that exceed this amount are potentially subject to the estate tax and its 40 percent maximum rate.
In Connecticut we also have a state-level estate tax to contend with. The state level exclusion is just $2 million, so you could be exposed to the state estate tax while being exempt from the federal tax.
If you are faced with estate tax exposure on the state level, the federal level, or both, you would probably not want to use a last will to transfer assets. There are other vehicles of asset transfer that can be utilized that provide estate tax efficiency.
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If you would like to discuss any elder law or estate planning matter with a licensed attorney, our firm can help. We offer free consultations, and you can send us a message through this page to set up an appointment: Hartford CT Elder Law Attorneys.