Elder law is the legal specialty that focuses on laws that impact the elderly. A common misconception is that only people with a lot of assets or money need to work with an elder law attorney. The truth is that if you have a pension, life insurance or have preferences as to which friend or family member will inherit anything from you, you need legal advice.
Clarify What Cannot Be Given Or Transferred Through Your Will
It is first necessary to remember that although your will is important and typically allows you to dispose of your property in whatever way you want, there are some situations that it cannot help with.
Some of the situations that cannot be handled through your will include:
- Money in an IRA, 401(k) or in a payable-on-death account
- Stocks or bonds that are held in a transfer-on-death account
- If you live in a community property state, you cannot transfer any shared property from your estate without their consent
- Any property, money or items of value that has already been put into a living trust
Transferring A Pension To A Spouse
It is important to note that all pensions can be transferred and if it can, will usually only be given to your spouse. Your pension holder should be able to let you know if your spouse can receive your pension after your death.
Assuming that your spouse is eligible to receive the payments, you must designate him or her as your beneficiary with the insurance company. In the event of death or divorce, you need to update a new beneficiary, if applicable, as soon as possible.
Leaving Trusts Or Bequests
You may be surprised to learn that you can leave bequests to almost anyone and if a minor is inheriting something, you can put whatever conditions you want on them, as long as the conditions are legal. For example, if you want to leave some money to your grandchildren on specific birthdays, you can.
You can also order that the money you leave them is used only for certain purposes, such as a college education, down payment on a home or to purchase a vehicle.
Your elder law attorney will be able to draft your will, set up any trusts or bequests, so that the people who mean the most to you get what you want them to have, without waiting for months as it goes through the court systems.
In conclusion, elder law is a complex legal specialty. It is crucial to speak with an experienced attorney, so that you can plan your will, bequests and trusts. By doing so now, your assets will be allotted in whatever way you want, whenever it becomes time to do so.
To learn more, contact an elder law expert like Cormac McEnery.