Estate Planning Services - Questions and Answers
Estate Planning is the process of anticipating and arranging, during a person's life, for the management and disposal of that person's estate during the person's life and after death, while minimizing gift, estate, generation skipping transfer, and income tax.
Estate Administration is the process of managing an estate (all the money and property owned by the person who has passed away), including gathering assets, paying off outstanding debts, and distributing the remaining assets.
Elder law focuses on preparing an individual, or helping their family to plan, for their financial well-being and care.
A conservator, or guardian of the estate as it is called in Washington, is a person who is appointed by the court to manage the income, property, and finances of a person deemed to be incapacitated or disabled.
Guardianship is a legal process through which an individual or business is given the legal authority by the court to make decisions for another person who is determined to be incapacitated or disabled. Guardianship takes away most or all personal rights from the incapacitated or disabled person.
When set up properly, an irrevocable Medicaid trust can protect your assets from a Medicaid spend down. A properly established irrevocable Medicaid trust will allow your property to be passed down to your family when you die.
Both are useful estate planning devices that serve different purposes, and both can work together to create a complete estate plan. One main difference between a will and a trust is that a will goes into effect only after you die, while a trust takes effect as soon as you create it.
The three major categories that make up elder law are: Estate Planning and administration, including tax questions; Medicaid, disability, and other long-term care issues; and Guardianship, Conservatorship, and commitment matters including fiduciary administration.
Estate planning is no longer tax-deductible.