Iris Bikel, Attorney at Law

Estate Planning and Elder Care


Tax Reduction Techniques: Preserve your estate for your heirs enjoyment and benefit by limiting your tax liability wherever you can do so.  Depending on what your goals are, include a Bypass Trust, Crummy Trusts, QTIP or Reverse QTIP Trusts, ILITs, Qualified Charitable Trusts in your estate plan, while maximizing your unlimited marital deduction as well as Gift Tax, Generation Skipping Tax and Estate Tax Exemptions for each spouse. 

Asset Protection and Security Against Creditors: Maintain control over your assets in a manner that protects them from creditors and ensures that your heirs will receive what you wish them to.  Consider a Family Limited Partnership, LLC, a Charitable Trust, and a number of Irrevocable Trusts to remove your assets from your estate and limit liability.  Even though some of your assets will no longer belong to you, allow for you and your family's health, maintenance and support or bequeath any other specific amount, while making sure that long term illness doesn't eat up your assets before you and your family can enjoy them.  Make sure to designate beneficiaries for all your bank and brokerage accounts to avoid a lengthy probate process.

Elder Care, Living Wills, Health Care Proxies: Ensure that you will receive proper medical care, based on your clearly expressed wishes, by assigning an agent to make health care decisions should you become incapacitated or disabled.  Through your Trustee, you can direct health care providers as to what level of assistance you would like, and when, if ever, you would like treatment to cease.  Protect your assets against the cost of long term illness while also structuring how you own them so as to protect your right to government benefits.  Becoming a senior does not mean a loss of dignity nor the right to enjoy your life in the way that you wish.

Special Needs Planning: Provide security for loved ones with 
disabilities through the use of a guardian, money manager, a personal
attendant for social and medical purposes, and more, while ensuring
that your heir receives all the government benefits that individuals with disabilities are entitled to.  The advantage of using a Special Needs Trust
is that the assets, including judgments and settlements, don't actually
belong to the beneficiary, thereby making it possible for the individual to receive government benefits and not be disqualified for having too many assets.  Appoint a Trustee and Guardian to safeguard the personal and financial welfare of your child.

Business Succession Planning:
Plan for the continued success of your business by easing the transition from you to future owners, through business succession planning.  Create Buy/Sell Agreements to control whether your company should be bought or sold, for how much, and when, should something happen to you.  You've spent a lifetime creating and growing your business, so make sure that your will and/or trust plans for what to do with it when you are no longer able to.

Estate Planning for Same Sex Couples: There are laws protecting married couples but there are no such privileges for same sex couples.  Guard against the possiblity of large tax consequences from gifts made during your lifetime; plan for your children's welfare by leaving them to your partner, thereby taking away the risk that a court will decide to leave them with relatives; allocate assets and/or income to ensure that your partner lives in the manner that he/she is accustomed to, with limited tax liability; and, ensure that your partner will make any decisions regarding your health care should you become incapacitated, hospitalized or put in a nursing home. 

These are a few of the issues that you need to think about when creating an Estate Plan.  While you are clear headed and healthy, ensure that your assets go to whomever you choose, for the amounts that you designate and at the time that you wish them to benefit.  Planning can save time, lower expenses, alleviate anxiety associated with death and probate and importantly, achieve the goals that you desire.

Disclaimer: This site is provided for informational purposes only.  While legal issues are discussed, it is not legal advice or legal representation. We make no warranties or guarantees as to the accuracy and authenticity of the information provided herein and suggest that you contact an attorney to discuss your particular situation.  


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