January 20, 2013
Estate Planning Focused on Long-term Care and Elder Law
Wealth Management reported on a speech at the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning relating to elder law planning. Speakers Lawrence Frolik and Bernard Krooks pointed out that estate planning work with a tax-planning focus may not be as prominent anymore since only about 4,000 estate tax returns filed will actually owe a tax. However, seventy percent of people will need long-term care, so focusing on long-term care might be a better way to secure work as an estate planner.
The speakers expanded the definition of elder law to generally mean quality life planning for clients in the last 20 to 30 years of their lives. Potential for dementia as clients age raises questions such as who will manage the client's affairs when he can no longer manage them. Addressing the financial needs of long-term care is also a major concern. Lastly, the speakers touched on questions of legal capacity that might accompany cases of dementia.
See Martin M. Shenkman, Elder Law Fundamentals, WealthManagement.com, Jan. 14, 2013.
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Call me contrarian, but I believe that at least for the forseeable future there is abundant work to be done in the estate planning ranks undoing all of the "taxcentric" plans which clients never like or understood. Lawyers can really be of use here if they step into their clients shoes and remember why they called you in the first place...for peace of mind.
Posted by: brian j. cohan | Jan 20, 2013 9:35:35 AM
I believe Brian has a good point. Perhaps we need to get the word out to clients that it may now be time to unwind those tax-driven trusts to now simplify their plans. Surviving spouses simply do not understand the need for sub-trust allocations following the first death, nor the need to separately account for those assets going forward. That said, there still may, however, be need for ByPass Trusts for non-tax reasons, e.g. blended families with children from different relationships.
Posted by: Gene Osofsky | Jan 21, 2013 8:31:41 AM
I believe Brian may have a point
Posted by: Gene Osofsky | Jan 21, 2013 9:00:04 PM
Gene- very prudent to recant to the "may" when judging anything uttered here. In any event, I seem to have become a lot wiser since I started reading this blog. Go figure.
Posted by: bjc | Jan 26, 2013 12:57:39 PM