Attorney Timothy P. Crawford, S.C. - CPA, CELA*, CAP**


Frequently Asked Questions

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Q. I have a Trust, aren't my assets already protected?

A. It depends on the type of Trust. A Revocable Trust is a great tool for people to avoid probate, but it offers no protection when it comes to the nursing home. For instance, if you home is in the name of your Revocable Trust then it will be subject to a lien being placed on it for any government benefits you receive while you are alive (whether it be for in-home care or a facility). If you want your home to be protected from the government lien, you MUST place it into an Asset Protection Irrevocable Trust.

Q. I already did planning. Why do I need more planning?

A. Planning, just like your car, occasionally needs a "tune up". Because Tax Laws and Medicaid Laws change frequently, it is a good idea to have your planning reviewed periodically. Certain aspects of the law change and things that were a part of good planning in the past may no longer be allowable or advantageous to you. When changes occur in your life, such as having a grandchild, a child of yours dies, or someone needs nursing home care, you should come in to have your planning reviewed and possibly "tweak" the path you are on.

Q. I named my child as Financial Power of Attorney. When I die, won't my child be able to take care of my financial affairs?

A. NO! This is a common  misbelief. A Financial Power of Attorney ceases at the time of your death. An agent on your Financial Power of Attorney can only do planning during your lifetime.

Q. Can I just do the work myself? Aren't the online estate planning forms good enough?

A. You could but it could be the worst mistake you could make. Wills and Trusts can be challenged and litigated if your wishes aren't clear or are not in line with your state's requirements. Self drafted Wills tend to be incomplete, this making it invalid under state law.

Q. What does it mean to be a "fiduciary"?

A. This means you will be held to the highest standards of good faith, fair dealing, and undivided loyalty with respect to the principal. You must always act in the principal's best interest and keep his or her goals and wishes in mind when making any discretionary decision.

Q. Will doing Title 19 Planning affect the level of care my loved one will receive?

A. No. The level of care, in nursing homes that accept Medicaid and private-pay patients, is identical for all tenants. The only difference is how much it is going to cost you.  Do the proper planning and save your family's money.