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Elder Law Archives

THREE REASONS WHY GIVING YOUR HOUSE TO YOUR CHILDREN ISN'T THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT IT FROM MEDICAID

Are you afraid of losing your home if you have to enter a nursing home and apply for long term care Medicaid? While this fear is well-founded, transferring the home to your children is usually not the best way to protect it.

HUD CHANGES TO REVERSE MORTGAGE PROGRAM

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has made changes to the federal reverse mortgage program. Citing the need to put the program on better financial footing, HUD has raised reverse mortgage fees for some borrowers and lowered the amount homeowners can borrow. The changes took effect on October 2, 2017. They affect borrowers who take out new loans, but not existing loans.

USE YOUR WILL TO DICTATE HOW TO PAY YOUR DEBTS

The main purpose of a will is to designate the beneficiaries (known as "devisees") to whom your assets are to be distributed after you die, but it can also be used to instruct the person responsible for administering your estate (known as your "personal representative") on how to pay your debts. While your devisees are generally not responsible for your debts, the debts that you leave can reduce what they receive. Spelling out how debt should be paid can help your devisees.

DON'T WAIT UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE TO EXECUTE A POWER OF ATTORNEY

A durable power of attorney is an extremely important estate planning tool. If you become incapacitated due to dementia or some other reason, this crucial document allows the person you appoint (your "attorney-in-fact" or "agent") to act in place of you (the "principal") for financial purposes. The agent under the power of attorney can quickly step in and take care of your affairs. The "durable" aspect of a power of attorney allows the document to remain valid after your incapacity.

THE LIFE ESTATE: A USEFUL TOOL IN THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES

The term "life estate" often comes up in discussions of estate and Medicaid planning. Life estates can be used to avoid probate and to give a house to children while retaining the ability to live there. Life estates also can play an important role in Medicaid planning. But what, exactly, does the term mean and how are life estates used?

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