Category: Asset Protection Planning

Top 3-Estate Planning Docs. Can Devastate-Pt. 3

The Top 3 Reasons How Online Estate Planning Documents Can Devastate Your Family and Leave Them In Financial Ruin – Money Can Be A Curse!!

Reason 1: The Pitfalls of Not Getting Legal Advice from an Attorney Can Cause Your Estate Plan to be Defective Because of Wrong Heirs, Wasteful Spending, and Worthless Investments

Arguably one of the biggest reasons why online estate planning documents can devastate your family’s estate plan and leave them in financial ruin is because you don’t get legal advice with do-it-yourself documents.  What most people don’t realize is that the value of an estate plan isn’t just in the documents – it’s in the advice and counsel you get from your estate planning lawyer.  An estate planning lawyer can identify issues that are unique to your financial and personal life that will affect your estate plan.  Some of those issues might include: blended families, predeceased beneficiaries, family drug/alcohol problems, problems with the in-laws, careless spending, worthless investments, and Medicaid planning opportunities. Part I and Part II of this series addressed the concerns you might have if the wrong heirs inherited your estate, as well as with concerns you might have with wasteful spending and worthless investments.  This blog addresses how online documents miss planning opportunities for unforeseen circumstances in your life, such as nursing home care.

Part III.  Does your Estate Plan Address Unforeseen Circumstances? Don’t outlive your money!

If you’re a baby boomer, Social Security suggests that you will likely live between ages 83 and 90.  If you do live that long, you should be concerned that you might outlive your money.  The number one fear of baby boomers is outliving their money during retirement due to unforeseen circumstances.  Such unforeseen circumstances include rising medical costs and the costs of long-term care.  If you ultimately need nursing home care, be prepared to deplete your hard-earned assets before Medicaid will help pay for your care. If you are married and you need to enter the nursing home, the most you and your spouse can keep is between approximately $23,000 and $120,000 (excluding your home) depending on the size of your estate before you will qualify for Medicaid.  That figure drops to $1,500 if you’re single.  Medicaid also only lets you keep $50/month from your monthly income.  Do you think you can live comfortably off of $50 a month?

Unfortunately there is no crystal ball to predict if you or your spouse will need nursing home care.  All you can do is plan for the worst and expect the best.  Depending on your age, health, and wealth, it might be appropriate to consider advanced planning for Medicaid.  A good estate planning attorney can assess your situation and determine if Medicaid planning is appropriate for you.  Most people incorrectly assume that their assets are protected from Medicaid and the nursing home when their assets are placed in a simple revocable trust.  Such revocable trusts are typically the ones that online document providers provide.  Although these types of trusts may be sufficient for some estate plans, it may not work for yours.  Online estate planning documents cannot provide you with a customized plan that will properly carry out your wishes as well as safeguard your assets from rising nursing home costs.

In estate planning, one size does not fit all. Over the years, I have found that no two families are alike.  Each family has unique issues and online documents typically cannot address those issues.  If your issues are overlooked or ignored, your estate plan will probably not work the way you intended.  If you have concerns about outliving your money and unforeseen circumstances, an estate planning attorney can help you budget your retirement and mold your estate plan to fit your specific needs.


Bill Hesch is an attorney, CPA, and PFS (Personal Financial Specialist) who is licensed in Ohio and Kentucky and helps clients get peace of mind with their tax, financial, and estate planning.  He focuses his practice in the areas of elder law, corporate law, Medicaid planning, tax law, estate planning, and probate in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas.  His practice area includes Hamilton County, Butler County, Warren County, and Clermont County in Ohio, and Campbell County, Kenton County, and Boone County in Kentucky.

(Legal Disclaimer:  Bill Hesch submits this blog to provide general information about the firm and its services.  Information in this blog is not intended as legal advice, and any person receiving information on this page should not act on it without consulting professional legal counsel.  While at times Bill Hesch may render an opinion, Bill Hesch does not offer legal advice through this blog.  Bill Hesch does not enter into an attorney-client relationship with any online reader via online contact.)

ABLE Accounts as an Estate Planning Tool for Special Needs Children

Did you know that if you die without proper planning, the assets your special needs child inherits may make the child ineligible for government assistance? Estate planning is important for everyone, especially when disabled children are involved. Traditionally, attorneys use an estate planning tool called a special needs trust. The special needs trust is used to pay for expenses that are not covered by government benefits. Upon the death of the parents, the assets inherited by the special needs child are protected from being used up for the child’s basic needs paid by government programs. Today, there are additional tools attorneys can use, including ABLE accounts. But are ABLE accounts right for you?

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Ohio Legacy Trust

In March 2013, the Ohio Legacy Trust Act went into effect. What’s noteworthy about this type of trust is the degree of protection it can shield trust assets from future creditors. In situations where people have a typical revocable living trust, potential creditors can still reach the assets in the trust. With an Ohio Legacy Trust, the assets are much more shielded.
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Special Needs Trust

Typically, a physical or mental disability may qualify a person for government benefit programs, such as Social Security or Medicaid. Since these programs are administered only to those who financially qualify, gifts or inheritances must be planned very carefully so they will not interfere with the disabled beneficiary’s eligibility for government benefits. Setting up a special needs trust is one way to help pay for the challenges associated with raising a disabled child, while still preserving government benefits.

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