Asset Protection

Here’s More Insight into Why Estate Planning is Critical

Fox 5 NY says in the article “Why estate planning is important regardless of your age or wealth” that this is a great time to begin talking to your loved ones about estate planning, especially older relatives and parents.

The key to a successful discussion depends upon the right approach.

Try to always make suggestions, rather than demands. One great way to start the conversation with family members is to mention what you’re doing. You might say something like, “I just took care of my own estate planning. Have you done anything? Maybe we should talk about it.” That might get the conversation rolling.

Many people believe that, as they get older, they need a will. However, that’s just one piece of the puzzle: core estate planning includes a will, power of attorney, health care proxy and asset protection.

For most of us, the asset we most want to protect is our home. One of the best ways to do that is through an irrevocable trust. This trust may have tax advantages, could protect your home during a healthcare crisis and protect your home from your children’s creditors.

You also need to find people you trust to help with finances and health care. A power of attorney is a legal document in which you grant a person the authority to handle finances on your behalf.

Similarly, a healthcare proxy is an individual who makes healthcare decisions, if you get sick or are in an accident and can’t make decisions for yourself.

You can use one person to do both or separate individuals for each role. You can opt for a family member or a trusted friend. However, either way, it should probably be a younger person, who won’t be dealing with the same aging issues as you.

You should also note that your will doesn’t cover everything. Another important part of estate planning is making certain that any beneficiaries designated in your retirement plans or life insurance and any additional names on joint bank accounts are current. The beneficiaries you appointed by a designation form will get the money in those accounts, no matter what it says in your will.

If all of this sounds a bit complex, don’t worry because our experienced estate planning and elder law attorneys can help you with all of the forms and all of your questions. Just understand these three things before you visit our elder law firm: your assets, whose names are on the accounts and your wishes.


Reference: Fox 5 NY (December 12, 2018) “Why estate planning is important regardless of your age or wealth”

How Do I Make an Estate Planning Gift to an Adult Child?

As Forbes explains in its recent article “The Estate Planning Gift To Give Your Millennial Children In 2019,” Boomers entering their 60s and 70s are more focused than ever before on managing their family legacies. The 2018 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth Study found that 67% of those over 50 want to use their wealth to invest in their children and grandchildren. Boomers who’ve managed their finances successfully, want to be sure their hard work doesn’t go to waste. One thing driving Baby Boomers crazy is their kids’ estate planning–or lack thereof. Boomers have been building legacies from the day they were born.

The challenge, however, is that Boomers can’t control all aspects of their financial lives. One complaint they have to their estate planning attorneys is that their kids aren’t doing the things that they ask. Gen Xers and Millennials may see estate planning as a very low priority. Most are burdened by heavy debt and trying to get their day to day financial lives on the right track. Nagging parents might make them resist this type of advice.

There is one thing that Baby Boomers can do to make certain their children do the right thing, when it comes to estate planning—they can make an estate planning gift to their adult children.

However, before Boomers do this, they should think about several issues to put their family on the path to success. Family dynamics can be challenging, and family patterns are often hard to break.

Parents who want to offer to pay for an adult child’s estate plan should consider how best to broach the issue. A wrong start could torpedo the wrong situation and end in a family drama. Timing is crucial for these discussions. The assistance of your estate planning attorney can smooth the way for a successful approach. He can outline the process for everyone to feel that they have a voice. This can be done with a family meeting.

The advice for Boomers interested in making an estate planning gift is quite simple: these conversations need to be more intentional in the why and the how. Boomers must also respect boundaries, once the estate plan is completed. They may have paid for the estate plan, but that does not mean they’re entitled to see the child’s documents. The burden of enforcing this parameter falls to the estate attorney.

The best gift a parent can give their children for 2019, is to help them organize and manage their affairs. If they offer to pay for an estate plan, Baby Boomers can take the right actions to be sure their legacies will continue after they are gone.


Reference: Forbes (December 12, 2018) “The Estate Planning Gift To Give Your Millennial Children In 2019”

Does My Living Trust Shield My Assets From Creditors?

Do you remember that episode of the U.S. version of “The Office” where Michael Scott thinks he can seek bankruptcy protection from his creditors simply by walking into the office and stating, “I declare bankruptcy!” Obviously, that is not how bankruptcy works. Yet, when it comes to estate planning, some people operate under a similar misunderstanding of the law; they think they can shield their assets from their creditors by placing it in a trust.

How the Law Treats Revocable Living Trusts

Now, there are ways to use trusts as a legal means of asset protection, but when it comes to a revocable living trust–the most common form of trust used in estate planning–that is not the case. A revocable living trust is a means of avoiding probate, not a way to avoid paying back your creditors.

Do I Need to Include Bitcoin in My Estate Plan?

Estate planning is only effective if it includes all of your assets. In most cases this is not a big deal. Major assets like your home have a deed that clearly establishes legal title. Other liquid assets such as a brokerage account are maintained by a trusted third party that must follow certain regulatory standards.

How Cryptocurrencies Work

How can a Family Business Complicate My Estate Planning?

Family-owned businesses are often the most complex type of asset to deal with in estate planning. There are multiple stakeholders to consider. On the one hand, you may want your family to continue enjoying the benefits of owning the business. But you may also want to make sure the business continues to run in a professional manner.

Asking a Fiduciary to Take on Multiple Roles can Lead to Conflicts

Should My Child’s Bankruptcy Affect My Own Estate Planning?

One of the biggest estate planning concerns that we hear about from parents is that they are reluctant to leave a potentially sizable inheritance to their financially irresponsible adult children. This raises an interesting question that you probably have not considered in connection with your own estate plan: What happens if my child files for bankruptcy just before I die? Will my estate be forced to pay off my son or daughter’s creditors?

Which Of These Powerful Secrets Could You Use To Build Your Ideal Estate Planning Legal Program

Which Of These Powerful Secrets Could You Use To Build Your Ideal Estate Planning Legal Program

  • Keep your estate settlement simple;
  • Avoid the court-supervised Probate process when you die;
  • Avoid federal and state estate and gift tax;
  • Avoid losing your home and life-savings to nursing home expenses;
  • Designate the right person or people to handle your estate when you’re gone;
  • Set up your estate legal program so that it takes days or weeks to settle your estate – rather than months or years;
  • Avoid assets from having to be sold within nine months of your death to pay estate tax;
  • Protect your children’s inheritance from their past, present, or future divorces;
  • Provide for your special needs children and grandchildren so that their government benefits are protected;
  • Protect both your spouse AND your children in a blended family situation;
  • Set up your retirement accounts and IRAs to minimize tax and maximize the benefit to your family;
  • Provide for the distribution of your personal effects without causing a fight among surviving family members;
  • Provide for your unstable children or heirs (on drugs or alcohol, or unable to responsibly handle money) so their inheritance is protected from themselves;
  • Keep your financial affairs private when you die, outside of the public records, and off the internet;
  • Keep your family from having to pay capital gains tax when they sell your property after you die;
  • Ensure that the right family members have access and authority when you become incapacitated and protect what you have while you are alive and need it most;
  • Avoid Medicaid’s Estate Recovery liens from taking your home and vehicles after you pass away;
  • Keep your loved ones from having to make the often-difficult decision to terminate your life and withdraw life-support machines when you are in a profound vegetative state, hooked up to machines, with no chance of recovery;
  • Arrange your estate legal affairs so that when you have a stroke, illness, or accident and become incapacitated, the right people will have the authority to make decisions for you, without interference from other difficult family members, and without the need for a court guardianship proceeding;
  • Provide for your grandchildren in a way that they benefit from the inheritance for decades after you die.

To learn more about these secrets talk to the estate lawyers of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC practice law in the areas of Probate, Wills, Estate Planning, and Trusts. We assist clients in and around Madison, Wisconsin with all matters related to estate planning, trusts, and probate matters. Our dedicated attorneys will even make house calls if you are unable to come to our office.

Contact our office by calling (608) 268-5751 to schedule a consultation or use our online contact form.

Forget About The Estate Tax. Capital Gains Tax Is The New Tax To Avoid

monopoly-capital-gains-tax-300x225Let’s face it, most families simply won’t have to worry a lick about the federal estate tax. That’s because about 99% of unmarried people don’t have an estate that exceeds $5.49 million. And more than 99% of married couples don’t have a combined estate of $10.98 million. So, for most families, have no worries about trying to avoid the 40% federal estate tax but fail to spot this unintended tax issue of the Capital Gains Tax.

But almost every family who engages in estate planning has assets that have appreciated in value. That means there is the potential for capital gains tax at the federal level when those appreciated assets are sold.

Example: Let’s say Dad bought stock in ABC Co. for $5 per share over the years. Now, that Dad is 76 years old, ABC Co. stock sells for $60 per share. That means that there is $55 of gain in each share of stock that Dad owns. If Dad sells the stock during his lifetime, he’ll get hit hard with a capital gains tax.

What Are Options That People Consider When Attempting to Protect Their Estate from Nursing Home Poverty?

We’ve talked to many Wisconsin families about things that they had done in an effort to protect their money from all being sucked up by the nursing home costs which can exceed $100,000 annually. Lots of mistakes are being made by people who don’t truly understand the intricacies of the Wisconsin Long Term Care Medicaid law and regulations. While you won’t get all the answers in this post, you’ll learn what some of the common mistakes are. So… here are options that just don’t work. …

Long-Term Care: Top 5 Reasons to Plan Ahead

According to estimates, if you are 61 years old now, the average annual cost of long-term care when you are 79 years old is likely to be: 1) over $180,000 per year for nursing facility care; 2) over $69,000 per year for assisted living care; and, 3) over $80,000 per year for in-home care.

According to the US Government Administration on Aging, “70% of the people who turn 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lifetimes.” Also, according to the Administration on Aging, “one-third of today’s 65 year-olds may never need support, but 20 percent will need it for longer than 5 years.”

So, based upon the skyrocketing costs of long-term care, and the odds that two-thirds of us may someday need long- term care, should we plan ahead? The answer is YES.

Planning Ahead Means Many Things

◆  Learning about the different long-term care options, and considering which of those options for receiving the care would be your preference;

◆  Considering the impact that long-term care costs can have on your lifestyle and quality of life, as well as the impact that it can have on your spouse, your children, and your retirement and nancial goals;

◆  Investigating how the risk of long-term care can be shielded from your pocket book to another source of payment: Medicare and Medicaid, Veteran’s Administration, Health Insurance, Long-Term Care Insurance;

◆  Meeting with a trusted advisor, or team of advisors (elder law attorney, Financial advisor, accountant) and establishing a comprehensive estate plan that is customized to meet your long-term care goals, including legal tools that will help you achieve those goals; and

◆  Carrying out your estate plan and then reviewing it on a periodic basis with your attorney, and other trusted advisors.

Top 5 Reasons to Plan Ahead

  1. Protect you and your family from Financial devastation.
  2. Preserve the right to choose the type of care you want.
  3. Reduce the stress on you and your family when a medical crisis occurs
  4. Give yourself peace of mind now and in the future.
  5. Allow for the quality of life you deserve.

Long-Term Care Planning Options

Few of us are fortunate enough to have the financial resources to “self-insure” against the cost of long-term care. Some of us do have the financial resources to shift the risk of long-term care costs to insurance companies, by purchasing one of any number of long-term care insurance products. Others of us will decide to take steps to protect our savings utilizing legal tools like irrevocable trusts, perhaps in combination with long-term care insurance. And, many of us will have to rely on government insurance programs to assist with the cost of long-term care.

Is doing no planning an option? Of course. And if you are lucky enough to be one of the one-third who never needs long-term care, that may work well for you. But the “do-nothing” approach fails miserably if a medical crisis occurs, and there is no plan, or even no thought of what the plan should be.

There is no “one size fits all” long-term care plan. However, there is a plan to fit your goals and needs. But we don’t recommend trying to figure that plan out on your own. Rely on the knowledge of professionals who understand the legal, financial, and psycho-social impact of long-term care, and who will give you the guidance you need. You’ll be glad you did.

The estate lawyers of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC practice law in the areas of Probate, Wills, Estate Planning, and Trusts. We assist clients in and around Madison, Wisconsin with all matters related to estate planning, trusts, and probate matters. Our dedicated attorneys will even make house calls if you are unable to come to our office.

Contact our office by calling (608) 268-5751 to schedule a consultation or use our online contact form.

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