Minnesota Elder Law Attorney
An elder law attorney in Minnesota can assist you with all of your elder law concerns and questions. Whether it pertains to medical issues and healthcare, financial assets or properties, an attorney from Johnston | Martineau, P.L.L.P. can help you with these things that you would like taken care of. It’s important to ensure that your assets and finances are in order and secure so that you or your loved one have everything in place for the future. Elder law attorneys from our firm have years of experience providing asset plans and sound advice for you or your loved one.
What Is Elder Law?
Elder law concerns itself with estate planning which includes wills, trusts, and asset management. It also includes areas like healthcare, retirement, financial planning and more. A Minnesota elder law attorney is able to provide many more details about all of these things. Attorneys from Johnston | Martineau, P.L.L.P. are here to help with any questions pertaining to elder law and can help you to set up wills, trusts or other asset management and financial planning for you or your loved ones.
What an Elder Law Attorney Can Do for You?
There are many different things that an attorney practicing elder law can do for you. Elder law covers a broad range of different items as stated above stemming from assets and finances to healthcare and other elder concerns that even include possible elder abuse. An elder law attorney in Minnesota can also assist with:
Establishing power of attorney or durable power of attorney: If you need someone to carry out important personal decisions for you, a power of attorney is how you give them permission to do so. A power of attorney lets someone you trust manage finances and health care. A durable power of attorney gives them permission to do so even if you’re seriously ill and can’t make decisions for yourself.
Estate planning that includes wills and trusts: Without a will, you’re leaving your family open to challenges and infighting that can potentially tear your loved ones apart. A will is an important document that provides instructions to be carried out upon your death, and will also name an executor to handle the proceedings. A living trust typically takes more work to manage, but unlike a will it can spare your beneficiaries from having to deal with the probate process.
Discuss the different taxes involved with gifts and estates: Like everything else in life, taxes will affect your estate. An elder law attorney can help you figure out what will be the hardest hit by taxes, and can also walk you through important steps to avoid steep taxes on whatever you leave behind. Gifts and estates are just as taxable as anything else, so make sure you contact a lawyer who can provide important tax information when you plan your estate.
Provide other information from their years of experience in elder law: When you reach out to an elder law attorney in Minnesota, you’re not just getting in touch with legal counsel – you’re also getting access to valuable information about how you should best prepare your estate. No two cases are alike, so the right lawyer can provide personalized case management and help you reach a plan that works best for you and your family.
Why Should You Hire an Elder Law Lawyer?
Estate planning is important for people of all ages, but many begin thinking more about it as they get older. With friends and family who count on you, it is important to have a plan in place so that your loved ones will be cared for, even after you are gone. Whether you want to create a will, figure out who would be your medical power of attorney, and deal with your stocks and bank accounts after your passing. An elder law lawyer can go over all of the potential things estate planning has to offer, and discuss what things you want to be taken care of for your family before your passing so that they do not have additional stress to deal with.
Six Misconceptions About Elder Law
Elder Law Is Scary
Elder law isn’t scary at all — it’s simply misunderstood. What people mean when they say elder law is scary is usually that they don’t understand elder law and don’t have the time or inclination to figure it out. Your elder law attorney in Minnesota, at Johnston Martineau PLLP can explain elder law so you can understand it better.
Elder Law Attorneys Only Help Seniors
Elder law helps adults of all ages, because it’s all about planning for your life as a senior citizen. You’ll want to talk to an elder law attorney as soon as possible to ensure your financial security after you retire. You can also begin making plans for long-term care. Any adult can be stricken down at any time, so it’s valuable to start your estate planning at a young age, too. Don’t wait until it’s too late; speak with an elder law attorney in Minnesota, as soon as possible
You Can Wait Until You’re Older to Talk With an Elder Law Attorney
While you can wait to speak with an elder law attorney, you really shouldn’t. Your financial security and long-term care are less costly the younger you start preparing for them. For example, to retire at age 65 with $2.11 million, which should last the rest of your life, if you start saving $650/month at age 25, you’ll reach your goal. If you don’t start saving until you’re 35, you’ll need to save twice as much every month, according to Nerdwallet’s retirement calculator.
Elder Law Attorneys Only Help With Wills
Your elder law attorney in Minnesota from Johnston Martineau PLLP can help you with all of your estate planning, including trusts, powers of attorney and healthcare directives, retirement plans and long-term care insurance.
I Have a Living Will So I’m Covered if I Can No Longer Make My Own Healthcare Decisions
A living will is only good if the doctors treating you know you have one. You need to have a healthcare power of attorney, naming someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you’re incapacitated. Your elder law attorney in Minnesota, can help you set up a healthcare power of attorney.
My Children Will Barely Inherit Anything From Me Because of Tax Liability
Minnesota’s estate tax rate is very low. For estates worth $3 million or more, the estate tax rate is between 13-16%. With a smaller estate, there is no estate tax. Minnesota has no inheritance tax, but some retirement account payouts may be taxable, such as that from an IRA.
Three Types of Elder Law To Help Your Parents as They Age
The needs of the elderly are often overlooked in today’s hustle and bustle society. As your parents grow older, there’s suddenly a need for different types of care than washing the dishes after Thanksgiving dinner or listening to the story of how they met for the umpteenth time. Suddenly they need help paying their bills, getting appropriate medical care or going into a nursing home. Here are three types of elder law lawyers in Minneapolis, MN, such as Johnston Martineau PLLP may be able to help your parents with.
1. Estate Planning
Estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy any more. If your parents anything of value, like cars or jewelry, or have financial accounts like checking and savings or CDs, estate planning can ensure those items go to their preferred beneficiaries. If they die without a will, the court will decide what to do with their estate, regardless of what they may have told you they want done. They may also want to avail themselves of trusts if that’s something relevant to their financial situation. An elder law lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, such as Johnston Martineau PLLP can help your parents navigate the ins and outs of estate planning.
2. Powers of Attorney
Your parents may want to designate you or your siblings as their durable power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney. A durable power of attorney can help you manage your finances and make sure your bills are paid on time.
A healthcare power of attorney can speak with doctors on your behalf, make medical decisions if you are doing too poorly to make them yourself and discuss “pulling the plug” should that become an issue.You will want to choose your powers of attorney carefully, because you are putting your life in their hands. An elder law lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, can help you turn your parents’ wishes into legal documents.
3. Nursing Homes or In-home Care
The elderly have certain rights if they live in nursing homes. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, these rights include:
- To be treated with respect and dignity
- To be free from abuse
- To be free from restraints
- To receive proper medical care, and be informed about it
- To manage your own money, either by yourself or with your durable power of attorney
- To have privacy
- To spend time with visitors
- To complain
In-home care can be an alternative to a nursing home. Nurses or other appropriate medical personnel will come to your parents’ home to treat their medical needs. This can also transition into hospice care at home if your loved one becomes terminally ill.
Some things people do not think about, but that are benefits of estate planning, include:
Creating ways to give some of your estate to charity: It may seem simple to donate a portion of your estate to charity, but there are still legal hoops you’ll have to plan for. You have to decide if you want to donate cash or investments, and an elder law attorney can help you figure out what works best.
Reducing taxes that your family has to pay in probate: Probate is a long, frustrating process that involves finding all of your assets, assigning a value to everything in your estate, and paying off your creditors before finally giving what’s left over to your beneficiaries. Fortunately, you won’t be around to deal with it – but properly planning your estate will make it easier for your loved ones.
Planning for what happens if you ever become incapacitated: People don’t oftentimes plan for what should be done if they’re incapable of making decisions for themselves any longer. Whether because of terminal illness, age, or an accident, you need to have a plan your loved ones can follow if you can’t handle your personal matters anymore.
Minimizing expenses that occur when it is time for beneficiaries to collect their inheritance: After your death, your family and friends may have to pay taxes and fees if they’re included in your will. By properly planning your estate, you can ensure they get more of your assets and have to deal with less taxes and fees when they divide your estate.
When you take steps to plan your estate, you’re taking steps to keep your family together after your death. Planning your estate can also help with
Preventing confusion or arguments when family members begin to collect what was given to them in your will
Drafting and creating legal documents that will hold up in court
Establishing a guardian for any minor children who are in your care
Reach out to Johnston Martineau, PLLP today, and get to work planning your estate. It’s never too early to get in touch with an elder law attorney in Minnesota.
An elder law lawyer is essentially an estate planning lawyer for older individuals or those with elderly family members that they want to see taken care of. It is important to begin thinking about estate planning while you are still able to make decisions, and you can always create living documents that can be changed as your life and relationships evolve. The more involved you are with a lawyer, the better protected your assets will be, which is why it is important to use an attorney instead of attempting to do estate planning on your own.
How to Begin Planning Your Estate
There is no set time frame that is recommended to planning your estate, but it is always important to have an estate plan set. You can speak about your goals and expectations with one of the Minnesota elder law attorneys at Johnston Martineau, PLLC so that we can begin forming a plan for your estate. This is a good way to ensure your assets are fairly distributed and that your beneficiaries are able to get the most from your estate, rather than it being taxed so much or given to the wrong people. One of our lawyers will speak with you about what your wishes are and come up with a plan from there. It’s alright if you don’t have a lot of ideas about what you want to do with an elder law attorney, as long as you are open and willing to talk about how you would like for all of your assets to be distributed. It is important to be thorough in this process to ensure all of your wishes are executed in your estate plan.
Putting Your Plan in Place
Our attorneys can put together a plan for you to ease the burden of the financial and asset management issues that you may end up having. If you or your loved one may need to go to a certain elder care facility, we can help to pair you with the right one and provide guidance. Other things needing a plan include medical care for the future and where to obtain that care. By considering these things the whole family can breathe a bit easier knowing that all things have been considered and that the care and accommodations needed for you or your loved one are met.
Get the Legal Counsel You Need
Dealing with issues pertaining to elder law doesn’t have to bring you down and cause stress. If you have questions or concerns regarding finances, are looking to prepare a will or secure your assets then it’s in your best interest to seek legal counsel that can take care of these issues on your behalf. A Minnesota elder law attorney from Johnston | Martineau, P.L.L.P. can provide you with all of the services you need as you get older. Contact us today for a free consultation. We are looking forward to hearing from you soon.
How to Prepare to Meet With an Elder Law Attorney
As you prepare to meet with an attorney from Johnston Martineau PLLP, you may be wondering what you can do to make your consultation most efficient and of highest value to you. Whether you are meting with an elder law attorney on your own or with a family member, here are a few ways in which you can prepare for the consultation. Of course, your elder law Attorney in Minnesota will be compassionate, patient and able to guide you through the process of whatever legal endeavor you are seeking to achieve, but being prepared ahead of time and knowing what to expect is key to a productive outcome.
Bring All Relevant Documents
When you meet with your elder law Attorney in Minnesota, bring any financial documents you may have. You should also remember to bring any title deeds to real property and vehicles, as well as all of your insurance policies. It will be helpful to show your lawyer any insurance policies you may hold, from home insurance to life insurance.
Any previous wills or trusts that were drawn up legally will be essential as well when you meet with your attorney from Johnston Martineau PLLP. Even if you are interested in completely changing your will, your attorney will need to see your previous will and make note of it in the one you want to draw up.
Ask Any Questions
No question is irrelevant when you speak with your elder law Attorney in Minnesota. You should feel free to ask about anything, from estate planning tools to questions about your medical coverage.
Perhaps you are meeting with an elder law Attorney in Minnesota to seek justice in an elder abuse case. Your attorney is well equipped to handle that type of case as well. Just bring your questions and any evidence you have regarding it, and your lawyer will guide you through the rest.
Think about decisions
As you get older, you may feel the need to involve your loved ones in more of your day-to-day life and decision making. Perhaps you want to appoint a power of attorney with the help of your elder law Attorney in Minnesota. You can ask about the difference between a medical power of attorney and a durable power of attorney, and then you will have to choose which of your loved ones can fulfill these roles for you.
It is helpful to meet with your Johnston Martineau PLLP attorney with decisions made about who will administer your trust, who will benefit from your inheritance, and who will make your medical decisions when you can no longer do so.
Common Myths About Long-Term Care
People plan ahead for many things, like their retirement and where they want to live several years from now. However, not enough people plan ahead for long-term care. Long-term care refers to care you need when you can’t perform everyday tasks on your own, such as bathing, dressing and cooking. Here are a few common myths about long-term care insurance that an elder law attorney in Minnesota wants you to stop believing.
Your Health Insurance Policy Will Cover Long-term Care. Many people falsely assume that their standard health insurance policy will pay for their long-term care. The truth is that you will have to purchase a separate long-term care insurance policy to be covered.
You Do not Need Long-term Care If Your Family Can Help. It is true that many family members are happy to help take care of their ill loved ones. However, they may only be able to do so much. If they have full-time jobs and families of their own to take care of, they might not have the time to give you the care you require. It can be a huge burden on their shoulders. If you get long-term care, you know that a professional will be there to help you around the clock.
Long-term Care Insurance Is Too Expensive for Most People. Some people shy away from purchasing long-term care insurance because they assume they can’t afford it. However, it can be more affordable than you think. There are many types of insurance plans, so you may likely find one that meets your needs and budget. Plus, if you purchase long-term care insurance when you’re younger, you can save money.
Long-term Care Is Only Necessary for the Elderly. Although most people that require long-term care are senior citizens, it does not mean younger people can’t need it. As an elder law attorney in Minnesota can confirm, younger people can develop unexpected illnesses and injuries and require specialized care.
You Can Pay for Long-term Care Out of Pocket. Even if you have your finances in order, paying for long-term care out of your own pocket can be very expensive. You may be looking at paying tens of thousands of dollars a year. That could easily eat up your retirement savings. If you purchase long-term care insurance, you will not have to worry about these astronomical costs.
The Role of a Guardian in Estate Planning
Selecting a guardian to care for your children in the event that you are no longer able to can be extremely difficult for parents. In many cases, no one else seems quite right to raise your children. After all, no one else is you. Although there may be no perfect guardian for your children, any guardian is better than allowing your children to become a ward of the state or having a judge appoint your estranged family member as guardian to your beloved offspring. Read the information below to assist you in navigating the nuances of choosing a legal guardian for your kids.
What is a Guardian?
If your worst nightmare occurs and you are unable to care for your children, a guardian is a person who would take care of them. There are two types of guardians, personal and financial. The personal guardian would be the person to physically care for your kids by providing a home, clothing, meals and an education. Alternatively, a financial guardian handles the funds left to your children through your estate. This person is responsible for paying the kids’ expenses while they are minors.
Why are Guardians Important?
The reason why guardians are important, is because they aid in providing needs that could not be met otherwise. As mentioned above, there are personal and financial guardians. The reason why personal guardians are important, is not just to physically care for kids, when parents are unable to. Rather, personal guardians are important, because they teach children how to be dependent on others outside of their parents. Moreover, personal guardians help children to develop other means of personal growth as well, such as socializing. For example; if a child is introverted, a personal guardian could help them open up about home life issues, they could become more comfortable talking around strangers (with caution), etc.
Next, there are financial guardians, which are just as important. As mentioned previously, when it comes to financial guardians, funds are left to children, through the estate. However, what is beneficial, is that expenses being paid when one is younger, ensures that there will not be any future debt that needs to be paid off. Moreover, financial guardians can also demonstrate to minors how to handle difficult financial situations, thus, preparing them for the future. Moreover, both types of guardians’ aspects tie into elder law attorney in Minnesota, because they demonstrate the following. Although planning and asset management are important, ensuring that children are also being taken care of during this process, is of equal importance.
How Do You Select a Guardian?
It is up to you whether you appoint the same person as guardian of both the person and the estate or not. You can choose two different people if you prefer that one individual raise your children but are unsure about their financial decision-making. A lot goes into making these choices, so be sure to carefully consider who you select for each role.
Things to consider before selecting a financial guardian:
- Who is well organized and good at retaining records?
- Who saves money and spends it wisely?
- Who is capable of ensuring your kids’ inheritance lasts them until they are 18?
- Things to consider before selecting a personal guardian:
- Whose values and beliefs most closely align with your own?
- Who would be willing to take on this monumental responsibility?
- Where will your preferred guardians choose to live?
Before making guardianships legal, discuss your wishes with the individuals you have chosen. You want these people to be fully on board with helping to raise your children in the event that you can no longer do so. No one wants to find out after losing a loved one that they have a massive unexpected responsibility to take on as well.
Contact an elder law Attorney Minnesota today if you think you may need assistance in selecting and appointing the right guardians for your children and your estate.
Why Should You Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance?
People are living longer and longer these days. However, the older you are, the more likely you are to need assistance with daily living. Unfortunately, this type of care isn’t covered by traditional health insurance. That’s where long-term care insurance comes in. Here are a few good reasons to purchase long-term care insurance.
You can’t depend on the government to pay for long-term care costs. Too many people find out the hard way that Medicare only covers custodial care for a short period of time. Once that time has passed, you will be responsible for paying for custodial care on your own. Medicaid may only provide funding for this type of care if you don’t have any assets to your name.
You won’t be a burden on your family members. The last thing anyone wants is to be a burden on their loved ones. However, if you come down with a serious illness and can no longer take care of yourself, your family members may have to take care of you. This can be a huge undertaking, especially if they have a full-time job and a family of their own. If you have long-term care insurance, you will not be a burden to them.
You won’t deplete your assets. Medical care can get very expensive when you get older. Without the proper type of insurance, you increase your risk of depleting your assets, leaving your family members with nothing once you’re gone. As an elder law attorney in Minnesota can confirm, having long-term care insurance may help you protect your assets.
You can decide where you want to receive care. If you invest in long-term care insurance right now, you will be able to choose where you want to receive care. If you don’t want to go to a nursing home, you will not have to. You can even stay in the comfort of your own home. A skilled home care professional can come to your house every day to help you with various tasks.
You can secure an affordable rate right now. The cost of long-term health insurance depends highly on how healthy you are. If you are in good physical condition right now, it’s wise to purchase long-term care insurance soon. If you wait until you have a health condition, you might have to pay expensive rates.
When you look for an elder law attorney, you’re taking an important step to ensuring your family and friends are cared for after your death. Grief is a powerful emotion, and your loved ones deserve all the time they need to focus on coping with your loss – and not coping with legal paperwork.
But what kind of legal issues will your loved ones be dealing with? If you leave behind a will, they shouldn’t have to worry much, right? Unfortunately, things aren’t ever as easy as you want them to be. Fortunately, an elder law attorney in Minnesota from Johnston Martineau PLLP can help you make asset distribution as streamlined as possible for your loved ones.
Read this FAQ to learn more about how your estate will be divided after your death, and learn more about how you can make the process easier for your family and friends.
What Does My Will Do?
In short, a will provides instructions and a list of what you own, as well as who should get what after your death. If you die without leaving behind a will, your family and friends will have no idea what kind of assets you’re leaving behind. And even if they did know what your estate held, your assets wouldn’t be distributed according to any instructions at all. Instead, the state will appoint a representative to handle the division of your property, and that representative might not be your first choice.
When you die without leaving behind a will, you’re setting your loved ones up for lots of legal drama they they shouldn’t have to deal with. On the other hand, when you die and leave a will behind, they’ll still have to deal with legal issues, but much less. Make no mistake: A will means probate, and probate means problems. But it’s much better to have a will than no will at all.
What is Probate?
When you die and leave behind a will, your assets don’t just magically appear where you want them to go. All of your collections, properties, investments, and other heirlooms and possessions need to be processed by a probate court. If your will names an executor, it’s their responsibility to make sure the process moves right along – so make sure you name someone you can trust.
Probate involves many different steps, and it’s a source of frustration for many grieving families. The executor will have to notify all of the beneficiaries named in your will, and they’ll have to make sure the will meets the state’s requirements. Everything needs to be authenticated before the process can continue.
After the will is authenticated, the executor needs to track down assets and have those assets valued by a professional, typically a third party that requires payment for their expertise. The assets need to be transferred, and fees (and estate taxes, if your estate is big enough) will have to be paid off before any of your beneficiaries sees a cent. And finally, after all this, your assets (or what’s left of them) will be distributed according to your wishes, as expressed in the will.
What Can an Elder Law Attorney do for Me?
Wills can be complicated and difficult to set up by yourself, and if you want your will to be approved by your state, an elder law lawyer can make sure everything is up to standards. Additionally, an elder law attorney can help you consider your other estate planning options to make life a little easier for your family and friends after your death. Get in touch with an elder law attorney today, and start planning for the future.