Updating Your Estate Plan

As a part of the estate planning I do for my clients, I contact them each year to see if they need to make any updates or changes to their plan. You may think that once you get your estate plan drafted that you can make some changes just by handwriting in the changes and adding your signature to the change. Not so fast!

There are specific procedures that have to be followed when you execute the documents in your estate plan. According to Massachusetts law, you need a certain number of witnesses and those witnesses must meet certain requirements. You must also have documents notarized. If you do not meet these requirements, then your will, trust, or incapacity documents could be considered invalid after you become incapacitated or die. All that hard work and money that you put into getting your documents drafted correctly by an attorney will be wasted. Even more importantly, you may not receive the care you wanted, and your beneficiaries may not receive the inheritance you left them.

In addition, making a change to your estate plan without having your estate planning attorney do it may have other ramifications. You may put in a term or make a change that is not recognized by Massachusetts. For example, an Irrevocable Medicaid Trust must have certain language in it or it may be successfully challenged by Medicaid, causing you to potentially lose your home to pay for nursing care costs. An estate planning attorney stays current on any state law that may effect estate plans. This allows her to draft documents that meet your needs and are legally binding.

If you haven’t updated your estate plan in the last year or longer, contact me so we can see if you want any changes made, and I can make sure they are done correctly.

The Importance of a Medicaid Trust

power of attorney long term care planning medicaid medicare nursing homeThe October 2019 issue of The Atlantic contains an article that highlights the importance of an Irrevocable Medicaid Trust. In the article, the author discusses how older individuals may lose their homes if they need go into a nursing home and need Medicaid (also known as MassHealth in Massachusetts) to pay for it. She asserts that it is a little-known fact that most people don’t know to address unless they have a lot of assets and are doing estate planning. I am here to tell you that you need to protect your home if you think you will need to use Medicaid to pay for a nursing home in the future. With the rising cost of nursing homes – they can exceed $10,000 a month! – many people need to use Medicaid for themselves or someone they love.

Your home is perhaps your most important asset, and it CAN be protected with an Irrevocable Medicaid Trust. I draft these kinds of trusts for clients so that they can keep their homes for themselves and their families. I talk with my clients about the importance of doing this kind of trust as early as possible because there is a five-year look-back period, which basically means that you may not be protected if you use Medicaid for a nursing home within five years of putting your home into this kind of trust. There are some very specific requirements with these trusts, so you really need an attorney to make sure they are drafted properly.

Contact me today so we can talk about an Irrevocable Medicaid Trust and see how we can protect your home for you and your family. I have payment plans and discounts so don’t let the legal cost keep you from protecting your home.