Case Study: Young Adult Dependent Program

Published: July 22, 2021

After her son graduated high school and before he left for college, Beth began to worry about things, as all mothers do. What would happen if her son, Sean, had an accident while away at school? What if he came down with an illness that required hospitalization? How would she and her husband be able to speak for him, now that he was legally an adult if he were unable to speak for himself? These are very common concerns for any parent and after some slight prodding, she finally convinced Sean to speak to the team at Scott Bloom Law in order to utilize our Young Adult Dependent Program. 

Luckily, Sean was receptive and responsible and came to us understanding the importance of giving his parents certain rights in the case he was incapacitated. While very few young adults at his age like to think in these terms, Sean understood the importance of granting his parents certain powers that would allow them to make decisions with his best interests at heart. We sat down with Sean and educated him on the various options available to him. We described the importance of having the proper legal documents in place that would allow his parents the power to get all relevant information from medical professionals in the case he was incapacitated. Besides the medical benefits of this, Sean understood that there could be long-term financial burdens placed upon him if he were to be hospitalized for an extended period of time. Having his loving parents looking out for him could help lessen these burdens. In the end, we were able to draft all of the relevant paperwork needed and Sean was able to set off into the next chapter of his life with the knowledge that were something to happen to him, those who loved him most had the ability to speak for him. Needless to say, his parents were both relieved that these precautions were put into place.

The team at Scott Bloom Law is pleased to introduce our Young Adult Dependent Program, specifically developed to help you as you enter legal adulthood. Being prepared for any crises that may arise as you enter adulthood allows for peace of mind for you and your family. Having the proper paperwork in place now can help you avoid undue stress in the future should an unexpected crisis arise. Contact the team at Scott Bloom Law to schedule a free consultation and to find out how we can help you make the most of your independence.

CLIENT Testimonial

It is important to plan your estate to ensure that your assets, interests, and those you love will be protected after your death. However, without proper guidance and advice from a qualified estate planning attorney, many individuals make costly mistakes. Beyond undermining your intent and diminishing your financial legacy, poor planning can create additional stress to your heirs in their time of grief.

Six common errors frequently happen during the estate planning process. These mistakes often occur because the complete financial picture was not fully considered. It is easiest to avoid estate planning mishaps by knowing what they are before you begin or looking for these errors when reviewing and updating your plan.

Financial procrastination causes problems. While examining your mortality and making end-of-life preparations is not a particularly fun activity, try viewing it as helping and enhancing your loved ones' future lives while creating a sense of peace during your own. 

The need to protect your finances using wills, trusts, and power of attorney (POA) documents is not solely the domain of the elderly. Putting off the drafting of legal documents necessary to protect yourself and your inheritors can lead to disastrous outcomes.

By far, failing to create an estate plan is the most common mistake. Even if you do not have a lot of money, you need a will to protect any minor children you have by naming their guardians. Your will also ensures your asset distribution to heirs is carried out according to your intentions when you die and names a representative to handle debt obligations, final taxes, and other estate administrative duties. Dying without a will or "intestate" can lead to dire consequences.

Outdated wills, forms, and POAs create problems. If you made a will twenty years ago and have not reviewed and updated its contents, chances are many of the details no longer reflect current assets or beneficiaries. Estate planning is not a "set it and forget it" proposition. Reviewing estate planning documents and beneficiary forms every two years is generally adequate, barring a major life change such as divorce, birth, death, remarriage, or relocation to another state.

Beneficiaries without coordination can create expensive oversight. Beneficiary forms for retirement accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs, annuities, and life insurance policies may constitute a significant portion of your estate's assets. These beneficiary forms are legally binding and will supersede the contents of your will. Failure to update beneficiary forms can lead to an ex-spouse receiving assets that preferably would go to your heirs. Routine checks of all beneficiary designations are best practices for estate planning.

Failing to title trust assets properly can lead to probate. While not everyone requires a trust, those who do must carefully retitle their assets into the name of the trust. Forgetting to add more recently purchased property or opening a new account requires you to title them into the trust to receive trust benefits. Whether real estate, cash, mutual funds, or stocks, if you fail to move the asset into the trust, they become subject to the probate court, possible tax consequences (depending on the trust type), and a public record of these assets.

Life insurance can trigger estate tax. Life insurance can provide heirs with liquidity without the sale of assets and tax consequences when handled correctly. However, if a wealthy individual dies while maintaining ownership of their life insurance policy, they may inadvertently create a tax event for their heirs. Although life insurance death benefits are not subject to state or federal income taxes, any "incident" of ownership by the decedent can create an inheritance tax.

An estate planning attorney can help shelter life insurance proceeds from high-value estates by gifting the policy to an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) or draft a new trust to purchase a new policy where the trust is the owner and beneficiary. A policy owned by the trust does not create a taxable situation to death benefits. Your attorney's careful structuring of this trust type is complex but can provide proper protection.

Joint ownership of assets with your children can lead to disastrous consequences. Naming your children as co-owners of assets, even digital, permits their creditors to access your money. The better way to address the situation is to give your adult child power of attorney and assign them as a beneficiary to a payable on death bank or brokerage account. This tactic permits them to access your funds if required during your lifetime. However, it keeps your assets from your child's estate and away from their potential creditors.

Ultimately the biggest error you can make is not finding the right estate planning attorney to guide you. This specialized attorney receives training on avoiding probate, tax implications, and asset protection if you require long-term care. Proper planning with the right guidance will help you avoid costly estate planning mistakes and protect your family's future financial well-being.

If you have questions or would like to discuss your legal matters, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 215-364-1111 to schedule a consultation.

- Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

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CLIENT Testimonial

Scott Bloom Law Estate Planning Diagram

Sometimes after a loved one passes away, the family learns of things they were unaware of while the loved one was living. This was the case for one of our clients, Sam, after his father Tom Jr. passed away. Sam was always under the impression that the home he had grown up in, and that his father had lived in until his death, was owned by Tom Jr. To say it came as a surprise that it was indeed Sam’s grandfather, Tom Sr., who was the actual owner of the home, is an understatement. 

Apparently, when Tom Sr. had passed away nearly 40 years ago, there was no proper estate plan established. Now, Sam would need to open his grandfather’s estate, resolve tax issues that were never addressed, and then go through the legal process to make the home a part of his father’s estate. At first, Sam believed that the entire process would be easy enough for him to handle on his own. However, after digging a little deeper, he quickly realized he would need the help of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.

Sam reached out to Scott Bloom Law and we developed a game plan for moving forward. We began by probating Tom Jr.’s will and, after some time, we were able to settle the estates of both Tom Sr. and Tom Jr. While it was no fault of Sam, this is a great example of the importance of having an Estate Plan in place. No one wants to leave their families in precarious situations after they pass. The long-term purpose of setting up an Estate Plan today is to preserve as much of your wealth as possible for the intended beneficiaries and retaining a capable attorney can help ensure all of your wishes are met.

At Scott Bloom Law, we are a team of advocates who care, always fighting for what’s best for our clients and their families. With knowledge, experience, and compassion, we strive to find solutions that make the aging process as emotionally and financially easy as possible. Visit us at scottbloomlaw.com or call 215-364-1111, to talk to find out more.

- Case Study: Estate Administration

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