Personal Practices

Estate Planning

Preserve your legacy. Prepare for the future.

Protecting the next generation in your family or business can be overwhelming – but it doesn’t have to be. Our accomplished attorneys are ready to help you tackle estate planning, so you can put your mind at ease and preserve your legacy.

We have extensive experience helping our clients draft wills, powers of attorney, living wills, trust documents, and business succession plans. We are accustomed to handling complex and difficult situations and talking through options with our clients. No matter what your situation is, chances are, we’ve seen something similar, and we can help you decide what’s best for all involved.

We also assist families who are dealing with the aftermath of a lack of planning, or who need advice following a loved one’s passing to settle an estate. We represent fiduciaries, both corporate and individual.

As part of our work, we often find clients need solid tax advice, whether at the local, state or federal level. We are prepared to help answer any questions you have and work with you to preserve your hard earned assets.

Call us today to get started with your plans. We can help you and your family prepare for the future.

1. Make an appointment with an attorney. If you don’t know one, we can help (270-781-6500).

2. Inventory your assets. Your attorney can help determine the most tax-effective way to distribute your property.

3. Choose your beneficiaries. Reflect on the persons and organizations you wish to benefit.

4. Calculate your gross estate. State or federal estate tax may be a concern if your estate exceeds the amount sheltered by the applicable exemption (ask an attorney about current exemption amounts).

5. Discuss whether you need additional estate planning documents, such as a revocable trust, with your attorney.

6. Plan for medical decisions. Ask your attorney about a power of attorney and living will directive.

7. Write a letter of instructions to your executor. In your letter, you can name specific individuals to receive certain personal assets.

8. Follow through on your estate planning. Execute all necessary documents. Make sure that any trust assets are transferred into the trustee’s name.

9. Store your will, trust and other estate planning documents in a safe place. These documents should be readily accessible for your executor.

10. Retain copies of income tax and gift tax returns. These will assist your executor in filing income and state tax returns.

11. Review your estate plans regularly. Many events can make your plans obsolete: death of a spouse or beneficiary, a move to another state, or a change in tax laws, to name a few.

12. Call our office for suggestions on incorporating gifts in your estate plans. You can help achieve worthwhile goals by providing for charitable bequests that will perpetuate your thoughtful lifetime support.

Whether you want just a basic Will, or a more complicated estate or asset protection plan is needed, our timeline for the preparation and completion of your personalized plan will most likely follow the format below:

  • Initial Consultation: Review and discuss your estate planning questionnaire (Download the ELPO Law Estate Planning Questionnaire), as well as discuss the appropriate documents to meet your estate plan goals. Please plan on about an hour for this meeting.
  • Preparation of drafts. After your consult and agreement, we will prepare drafts of your documents and mail them to you for your review.
  • Execution Meeting. After you review the documents, you should call us to schedule a meeting to review and execute the documents.

A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children. If you die without a will, those wishes may not be carried out. Further, your heirs may end up spending additional time, money, and emotional energy to settle your affairs after you’re gone.

Living Will Directives: A living will is a written, legal document that spells out medical treatments you would and would not want to be used to keep you alive, as well as your preferences for other medical decisions, such as pain management or organ donation.

A medical or health care power of attorney is a type of advance directive in which you name a person to make decisions for you when you are unable to do so.

A trust is a fiduciary relationship in which one party, known as a trustor, gives another party, the trustee, the right to hold title to property or assets for the benefit of a third party, the beneficiary. Trusts are established to provide legal protection for the trustor’s assets, to make sure those assets are distributed according to the wishes of the trustor, and to save time, reduce paperwork and, in some cases, avoid or reduce inheritance or estate taxes.

Postmortem estate planning is the decisions and elections that an executor makes after someone dies when the executor implements the estate plan. However, some of the best postmortem planning occurs before death.

A prenuptial agreement (or prenup) is a contract that a couple enters into prior to marriage that outlines all the terms of divorce in the event of dissolution. A postnuptial agreement (or postnup) is simply a prenup that is created after the marriage takes place.

Special Gift Planning Opportunities

CALL OUR OFFICE BEFORE YOU…

  • Sell Investments at a Profit
  • Make or Amend Your Will or Trust
  • Make Qualified IRA Charitable Contributions
  • Roll Over Low-Interest CDs or Bonds
  • Name Beneficiaries for Pension Plans or Life Insurance
  • Add a Payable on Death Beneficiary to an Account

Our attorneys can assist with tax planning and preparation as it pertains to estate planning including all federal estate tax forms, state estate and inheritance forms, gift tax forms and personal tax forms.

Four Time-Tested Ways to REDUCE YOUR INCOME TAX
1. DEDUCT as much as the tax laws allow. Strive to itemize your deductions, rather than use the standard deduction. Establish tax credits where possible. Try to bunch deduction in a year of high income, perhaps by prepaying some of the coming year’s expense. Maximize charitable contribution deductions.

2. CONVERT full taxed investment income (such as taxable interest) to income that is tax free (such as municipal bonds) or taxed at maximum rate off 20% (qualified dividends and long-term capital gains).

3. DIVERT investment income to a family member who is in a lower tax bracket than you, through gifts of investments or by establishing trusts. Note: Investment income in excess of $2,100 of a child under 19 or full-time students under age 24 will be taxed at the parents’ rate.

4. DEFER receiving some income until a time when you are in lower income tax bracket. A common example is contributing to a qualified retirement savings plan that allows you a current income tax deduction and postpones tax until you retire.

Trusts and Estates Litigation is the specialized practice of law involving the resolution and, if necessary, litigation of trust, estate, and protective proceedings. Our attorneys have significant experience handling estate litigation.

There are many aspects to robust succession planning, which, when done well, can help align decision-making and strengthen family unity. The succession plan should address transitioning both the ownership and control of the family wealth enterprise as well as the leadership and management of the family office and, if applicable, the business too.

In Kentucky, guardianship is a legal relationship between a court-appointed adult who assumes the role of guardian for a ward. A ward is a person who has been declared legally disabled by the court and is no longer able to care for his or her personal and/or financial needs.

Medicaid Planning is a way to protect people’s assets from the threat of long-term care expenses. Our attorneys work legally and ethically to protect your assets when qualifying for Medicaid.

If you or someone you love require long-term care in a nursing home or assisted living facility, but lack the money to pay for it, you may consider applying (or helping your loved one apply) for Medicaid, the joint federal-state program that offers health coverage to eligible low-income seniors. While many people have access to Medicare, Medicare is not going to cover long-term nursing home expenses. For Medicaid eligibility for long-term care, an applicant must have limited income and assets (as well as have a functional need for long-term care). If the applicant’s income or countable assets exceed Medicaid’s financial limits in your state, it is possible to become eligible by “spending down” one’s income or assets to the point where they become financially eligible.

While a Medicaid spend down can be a savvy strategy, the rules, restrictions, and requirements can be complex and confusing. And it is not your only option. Careful planning can provide Medicaid asset protection to your family, while providing the applicant or institutional spouse the financial support he or she needs for long-term care. Care and consideration must be made to maximize the resources available to the Community Spouse (if applicable) through the Medicaid Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA) or the Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA), and issues such as estate recovery, and much more, must be addressed. A variety of options and solutions can include setting up a Miller Trust, QIT (Qualifying Income Trust), Special Needs Trust and more. But how do you know which is best for your situation and family’s protection? And is it already too late to evaluate your options?

You are not alone. Let our skilled attorneys help navigate this complicated system with you. Whether it be through the implementation of a Medicaid crisis plan to prevent the unnecessary dissipation of all of one’s life savings in the event nursing home care is required, or Medicaid asset protection planning in advance of needing nursing home or assisted living facility care, we are here to help.

If you want to leave money or property to a loved one with a disability, you must plan carefully. Otherwise, you could jeopardize your loved one’s ability to receive means-tested benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid benefits. By setting up a “special needs trust” in your will, you can avoid some of these problems. Parents and guardians can establish and fund a “third-party” special needs trust or supplemental needs trust to hold a disabled child’s inheritance and avoid terminating their government benefits.

But what happens when the person with special needs unexpectedly comes into their own money? This could be an unplanned inheritance or maybe even a settlement from a car accident. In some cases, a spend-down may be the best solution. But other options exist: the “first-party” special needs trust (also known as a self-settled special needs trust or d4A trust) and pooled special needs trust (also known as a d4c trust). “First-party” special needs trusts are discretionary trusts, just like “third-party” special needs trusts, but are subject to a Medicaid payback lien amongst other complex regulations to avoid being included as a countable resource. Pooled special needs trusts are similar to a “first party” special needs trust, except they are managed by a nonprofit organization instead of an individual trustee. Regardless of which kind of trust best fits your situation, care and consideration must be given to your particular situation to avoid a loss of benefits.

Navigating the available options to find the best fit for you and your family can be overwhelming. Our ELPO Law attorneys have the experience you are looking for along with the compassion needed to make sure you and your family are protected.

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Related News

Preserve your legacy. Prepare for the future. Protecting the next generation in your family or business can be overwhelming - but it doesn’t have to be. Our accomplished attorneys are ready to help you tackle estate planning, so you can put your mind at ease and preserve your legacy. We have extensive experience helping our clients draft wills, powers of attorney, living wills, trust documents, and business succession plans. We are accustomed to handling complex and difficult situations and talking through options with our clients. No matter what your situation is, chances are, we’ve seen something similar, and we can help you decide what’s best for all involved. We also assist families who are dealing with the aftermath of a lack of planning, or who need advice following a loved one’s passing to settle an estate. We represent fiduciaries, both corporate and individual. As part of our work, we often find clients need solid tax advice, whether at the local, state or federal level. We are prepared to help answer any questions you have and work with you to preserve your hard earned assets. Call us today to get started with your plans. We can help you and your family prepare for the future.

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