Extended family outdoors

LEARN MORE ABOUT ESTATE AND ELDER LAW

Smith Elder & Business Law, LLC in Kansas City, MO has legal advisers and business planners in its team eager to help you deal with startup documentation and succession process options, or develop business, retirement, and estate plans. Check out our blog and articles today to get a better idea of estate and elder law.

Workshops and Seminars Presented by Attorney P. Glen Smith

UPCOMING:

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - Getting My Affairs in Order: Basic Estate PlanningIn this seminar, you will learn how to control your property while you are alive and able, take care of yourself and your loved ones if you become disabled, and give what you have to whom you want while saving every tax dollar, professional fee, and court cost possible. Learn how to avoid probate with seven helpful tools including non-probate transfer mechanisms (beneficiary designations and tools, wills, trust, durable power of attorney, healthcare durable power of attorney, healthcare directives, and living wills).

Excelsior Springs Area Career Center
614 Tiger Dr., Excelsior Springs 
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 
Enroll: Call 816-630-9240 (Option #1) or online at www.excelsiorspringsadulted.weebly.com

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - Getting My Affairs in Order: Long-Term Care 
Planning and Paying for Care –This seminar provides information for long-term care. Topics include: remaining in control of your assets, protecting your asset from the high costs of care, types of long-term care available and getting the care you need, the long-term care planning process, seven basic legal documents you need and what they should provide, and much more! 

Excelsior Springs Area Career Center
614 Tiger Dr., Excelsior Springs 
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 
Enroll: Call 816-630-9240 (Option #1) or online at www.excelsiorspringsadulted.weebly.com

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. - The Gardens of Northgate (NKC) 
This seminar provides information for long-term care. Topics include: remaining in control of your assets, protecting your asset from the high costs of care, types of long-term care available and getting the care you need, the long-term care planning process, seven basic legal documents you need and what they should provide, and much more!

Saturday, September 23, 2017 - Navigating to 100 Symposium Northland 
This seminar features expert professionals to help you build your roadmap to “Navigate to 100.” Six informative breakout sessions will cover key topics:

  • Preserving Wealth: Medical Expenses, Legal Documents, and Estate Planning
  • Building a Plan of Aging or Caregiving: Having a Roadmap Through the Many Choices of Care
  • Care Choices: Defining Terms and Explaining What Type of Care Is Available at Each Level of Care (Home Care, Assisted Living, Nursing Home, Memory Care)
  • Senior Transitions: Selling the House, Moving, Downsizing, and Estate Sales
  • End of Life Choices: Hospice Care and Funeral Planning
  • Resources in the Northland: Clay and Platte County Senior Services

Location: Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
Registration Online: Registration is open at Pleasantvalley.org/events or direct to registration - https://pvbc.ccbchurch.com/form_response.php?id=515

Contact Us Today!

Disclaimer: The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

Divider - Horizontal Line

Passing on Assets Outside of Probate: PODs and TODs

For a variety of reasons, people sometimes want some or all of their assets to pass directly to specific individuals upon their deaths, outside of probate. One way to accomplish this is to set up a “payable on death” (POD) account for money in a bank account or a “transfer on death” (TOD) account if funds are in a brokerage account.

Probate is the process through which a court determines how to distribute property after an individual dies. Some assets are distributed to heirs by the court (probate assets) and some assets bypass the court process and go directly to beneficiaries (non-probate assets). With POD and TOD accounts, the account owner names a beneficiary (or beneficiaries) to whom the account assets are to pass when the owner dies. Generally all that is required to get the money or control of the account is for a beneficiary to show the bank manager or the brokerage firm an original death certificate. The funds pass outside of probate, meaning that the beneficiaries can receive the money quickly without the involvement of the probate court. The account assets also receive a “step-up” in basis when the original owner passes away, meaning that no capital gains tax should be due if investments are liquidated in order to be transferred.

Only the account owner has access to the assets while alive; the named beneficiaries have no control over the account, and the owner can change beneficiaries at any time, if competent to do so. If the named beneficiary predeceases the account owner, then the assets are distributed to the remaining beneficiaries or to successor beneficiaries, depending on what the owner writes on the beneficiary designation form or online. If there is only one beneficiary and he or she predeceases the owner, and the owner makes no subsequent changes to the beneficiary designation, the assets go into the account owner’s probate estate.

But receiving assets could be a problem for certain beneficiaries, such as a child with special needs who depends on Medicaid and other public benefits. If the account amount is large enough, it could be advisable to do special needs planning to avoid the assets interfering with the receipt of public benefits.

Also, some attorneys discourage passing assets through accounts like these for the simple reason that people sometimes forget about the accounts, and their existence can confuse an individual’s estate plan. For example, the Will may say that everything should be distributed equally to the account owner’s three children, but the POD or TOD account passes assets to only one child, creating unequal shares among the children. If avoiding probate is the goal, it may be better to put all assets into one revocable trust that clearly states who should get what. But these potential problems are much less of an issue if the estate is a simple one – for example, one surviving parent with only one child.

Source: Elder Law Answers

Why Elder Law Attorneys Aren't Just for Seniors

An Elder Law attorney is an attorney who specializes in providing legal services for the elderly and disabled. They assist with getting advance directives in place so that you are taken care of - and by whom - are chosen by you, and not just left to chance, or a court hearing.

Assuming that family members will just "take care of things" can lead to many unnecessary problems, primarily stemming from the burden on your loved ones when they're forced to make decisions for you, without knowing what you would have wanted.

Elder Law attorneys can also focus on preparing for the financial planning in the event one becomes chronically ill or disabled. This is a hugely important issue to bring up in a discussion with an Elder Law attorney who can help you understand how "just doing nothing" until funds run out is often a terrible option.

Hiring an Elder Law attorney is practically a necessity for anyone facing the aging process, particularly when a debilitating disease or condition is likely to be involved. The special legal issues handled by an Elder Law attorney are:

  • Health and personal care planning (health care powers of attorney, living wills)
  • Financial representation (financial power of attorney, financing housing options, estate, income and gift tax matters)
  • Will and trust planning (planning for elderly or disabled through special needs trusts)
  • Planning for long-term care (determining public benefits such as Medicaid for long-term care needs and protecting assets)
  • Capacity (avoiding or handling a guardianship and conservatorship court process)
  • Rights of residents in long-term care facilities (nursing home claims)
  • Retirement and employment matters (age and disability discrimination, grandparents' rights)

An Elder Law attorney can help you to retain as much control of your own life as possible by helping you make decisions for yourself in "Advance." He or she will draft documents so YOU get to decide:

  • Who will make decisions about your health care if you are unable to
  • Who will handle your financial affairs if you are unable to
  • How your friends and family will come to understand your wishes and avoid arguments over who should get to be in charge.

An Elder Law attorney will also determine whether you need legal documents to assist you with funding long-term care, such as

  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Medicaid planning to pay for nursing home care

Unlike many legal fees, an Elder Law attorney can be cost effective, since the costs incurred are usually limited to one or two visits, along with document fees. Often an Elder Law attorney will not charge for the consult and will bill a flat package-rate depending on what documents are needed for each individual case.

Source: BUCKLEY ANNE KUHN FRICKER, JD, GCM, AGINGCARE.COM

Title: Estate Planning for a Single Person

If you are single, you may not think you need to plan your estate, but single people are in as much need of a plan as anyone else. Estate planning not only involves determining where your assets will go when you die, it also helps you plan for what will happen should you become incapacitated, perhaps as the result of a stroke, dementia, or injury. If you don't make a plan, you will have no say in what happens to you or your assets.

Without a properly executed Will in place when you die, your estate will be distributed according to state law. If you are single, most states provide that your estate will go to your children, parents, or other living relatives. If you have absolutely no living relatives, then your estate will go to the state. This may not be what you want to have happen to your assets. You may have charities, close friends, or particular relatives that you want to provide for after your death.

If you become incapacitated without any planning, a court will have to determine who will have the authority to handle your finances and make health care decisions for you. The court may not choose the person you would have chosen. In addition, going to court to set up a guardianship is time-consuming and expensive. With proper planning, you can execute a power of attorney and a health care proxy, which gives the people you choose the authority to act on your behalf, as well as an advance directive giving instructions on what type of care you would like. The power of attorney can also dictate exactly what powers the individual has.

Single individuals who are divorced need to make especially certain that the beneficiary designations on their IRAs, life insurance policies, and relevant bank accounts are up to date. If you don't, your ex-spouse could get the funds. And for single people of means, opportunities to avoid state or federal estate taxes can be more limited than for married couples, although advance planning can close the gap.

In short, proper planning is a good idea for everyone. Contact your attorney to help you create an estate plan.

Source: Elder Law Answers

Baby Boomers, Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) and Avoiding Taxes

By P. Glen Smith, J.D., Smith Elder & Business Law, LLC 
Listen up! If you were born from 1946 to 1964, the leading edge of the Baby Boomers is starting to turn 70 ½ and facing required minimum distributions (RMDs) from IRAs and 401(k) plans. You may not need all the funds you are required to take from retirement accounts and may resent the income tax you have to pay on the withdrawals. Before taking the full required minimum distribution, consider the tax savings available by making qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) from IRAs, also known as an IRA charitable rollover. Transfers must come from the IRAs directly to the charity. For example: If you have retirement assets in a 401(k) or 403(b), you must first roll those assets into an IRA before making the transfer from the IRA directly to the charity. You cannot do a QCD from a SEP-IRA or SIMPLE IRA. What are the income tax implications? Federal—You don’t recognize the transfer as income or pay taxes that you would otherwise have to pay, as long as the distribution goes directly from the IRA to the charity. Even amounts in excess of the required minimum distribution pass tax-free, up to $100,000 annually, and can reduce the size of IRAs, resulting in lower required minimum distribution in future years. State laws vary, so check with your financial professional. 

Divider - Horizontal Line

Liberty Office
(By Appointment)
400 N. Missouri
Liberty, MO 64068

Richmond Office
(By Appointment)
105 E. Main St., Suite 7
Richmond, MO 64085

Mailing Address: 400 N. Missouri Liberty, MO 64068
Phone: 816-291-4143

NAELA member seal, colored
Elder Counsel Member Logo