Monthly Archives: December 2014

Long-term care planning: Understanding its importance

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Long Term Care Planning on Dec 26, 2014.

Estate planning is something that all Pennsylvania residents should make time for. However, you may also be wondering if you need to plan for the possibility that you will need long-term care. Estate planning covers what will happen to your assets and possessions after your death. Long-term care planning, on the other hand, helps you make provisions in case you become incapacitated while you are still living. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 70 percent of people age 65 will need long-term care at some point. While this type of planning is important for everyone, certain factors may increase the possibility of needing long-term care. Age is one of the most important factors. The older a person gets, the more likely it is that he or she will need long-term care. Because the life expectancy pf women is longer, they are more likely to need this type of care than men. Anyone will a long-term disability or chronic health condition is also at an increased risk of needing long-term care as they get older. It is important to keep in mind that your health often declines as you get older, and it is also possible to have an accident later in life that leads to a disability. Even if you are in good health now, it is important to plan for the unexpected. Whether you already thinking about long-term care planning or are just becoming familiar with the term, an estate planning attorney can help […]

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No, really, where was I? Back to naming beneficiaries for IRAs

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Estate Planning on Dec 16, 2014.

In our Nov. 20 post, we promised to review some tips about IRA beneficiary forms. As we said then, this is the time of year when people tend to take care of these things. We quickly review our beneficiary designations when we sign up for employer-sponsored benefits — 401(k)s, life insurance, etc. — or we glance at them as we plan for the coming year in the wake of a year-end salary review. These details are easy to breeze by, but they are the most important part of those accounts and policies: Our objective is to save as much as we can for our retirement and for our loved ones after we’re gone. If we don’t name the right beneficiary, our hard-earned retirement accounts could empty into the pocket of someone we haven’t spoken to for 10 years. Take a few minutes away from the Philadelphia winter, and curl up with your account information and beneficiary forms. If you keep the following tips handy, you may avoid the kinds of mistakes that mess things up for the next generation. Mistake #1: Naming your estate as beneficiary. We know plenty of people who wait until they have all of the necessary information before they put anyone down as beneficiary. Bob is unmarried and childless, so he wants his cousin to be his beneficiary. The form includes a field for the beneficiary’s Social Security number, but Bob doesn’t have it. He leaves the form blank, fully intending to take care of it […]

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Estate planning for those who are unmarried

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Estate Planning on Dec 10, 2014.

When considering estate planning, many Pennsylvania residents focus on creating a system to handle the distribution of their accumulated assets to one’s chosen heirs. However, this focus is not universal, as there are many individuals who are unmarried and have no children. For these individuals, estate planning needs take a different form, and they often center on making sure that one’s end-of-life needs are taken care of. This involves the creation of a set of documents that assign various responsibilities to carefully selected individuals. Among these is an advance health care directive, which clearly outlines the type of medical treatment that an individual wants to undergo in the event of a serious illness or injury. These planning tools can be general, such as stating that one does not wish for excessive lifesaving methods to be employed if there is no chance of extending a high quality of life. These directives can also be incredibly detailed, allowing individuals to list specific treatments to which they do not want to be subjected. Another type of directive is the designation of a health care power of attorney. This is a document that lists the name(s) of the person(s) tasked with making one’s health care decision in the event that an individual becomes incapacitated. The same level of responsibility can be assigned to financial matters through the use of a general power of attorney. Single Pennsylvania residents should consider how to structure a simple estate planning package that meets their unique needs. End-of-life planning […]

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Reasons to avoid last minute estate planning

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Estate Planning on Dec 2, 2014.

When considering how to structure one’s final wishes, there are a number of valid reasons to take care of such matters long before the needs arises. That said, many in Pennsylvania will postpone the creation of an estate planning package far too long, under the assumption that there will always be time to address these matters. In reality, however, time is something that none of has has any control over, and the events that define our lives often play out without our active participation. When it comes to estate planning, waiting to the last minute can lead to a poor outcome for those left behind. Consider, for example, an individual who is unexpectedly diagnosed with a terminal illness. Upon hearing such news, the normal course of one’s life will be immediately and forever altered. Attention will turn to making important medical decisions, as well as organizing end-of-life care. Most importantly, spending time with loved ones will become a top priority. For those who have to add estate planning to this list, an added level of stress will result. As with all significant decisions, incorporating a high degree of stress and pressure is not the best way to create an estate plan that meets an individual’s goals. It is easy to become wrapped up in the moment and make choices that are not rational or fully thought out. In addition, going through medical procedures and taking various medications can also have an impact on one’s decision-making. This leads to a final […]

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