Florida Estate Planning and Probate Law Blog focused on recent case law and planning ideas.

WHERE ELDER LAW AND ESTATE PLANNING MEET


 
Florida Estate planning does not only involve the preparation of a Will, Trust, or Power of Attorney, but also takes into consideration retirement issues. For the ordinary individual, both the means-tested and non-means-tested government benefit programs (Security Security, Medicare and Medicaid) are an important retirement consideration.
 
As a result, individuals must consider whether they should dispose of their assets, prior to death, through pre-need planning in order to qualify for means-tested government programs (Medicaid – which may pay for the cost of long term nursing home care). However, in order to qualify for these programs, the programs will consider the transfers of assets in the 60 months prior to the benefits application, with limited exceptions (irrevocable college saving plans, and the "two-year caretaker rule”). Veteran benefits and health care may also be available for eligible individuals and their surviving family. 
 
In addition, a means-tested government benefit recipient who receives an inheritance or is the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, may have their government benefits terminate as a result of the windfall. As a result, more sophisticated estate planning techniques may be utilized to ensure the beneficiary does not lose their eligibility for government benefits and can still receive the benefit of the bequest.