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Irving Legal Blog

6 tips for passing on a business

You worked hard to build your company from the ground up. You've been at it for 40 years. Now you're hoping to pass it on to your kids, but you know just how complicated that can get.

Tax issues and disagreements among family members are two of the main reasons that these plans fail and businesses fall apart. Keep that in mind when creating your plan and take steps to prevent both.

Can a trust keep your assets away from creditors?

If you've accumulated considerable assets, you want to do everything legally possible to protect those assets from lawsuits, taxes and creditors both while you're still around and after you are gone.

There are a variety of ways to protect your home and other assets, including:

  • Liability insurance
  • Declaration of Homestead
  • Dividing your assets with your spouse

It's estimated that fewer than 5 percent of veterans know about this VA pension benefit

The federal government provides your veterans pension based on your needs as a wartime veteran with a disability. However, the standard VA pension benefits may not actually cover your needs.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, you may qualify for a higher monthly pension rate if you meet certain eligibility requirements.

Carefully read all letters regarding benefits

When the Department of Veterans Affairs sends you a letter about your benefits, you might find it pretty dense. It's hard to wade through all of the information, and it's tempting to just skim it and set it aside.

Don't do it. It's very important to read through the letter carefully so that you fully understand the decision that is being made and why it's being made. Don't just look for the main points and assume that's enough.

Customize your estate plan with these essential documents

Estate planning and probate issues are often misunderstood. For example, many people believe that estate planning is important only for extremely wealthy people, but that isn't true.

You can benefit by taking steps now to plan for retirement, pass property down to heirs and ensure that safeguards are in place to prevent confusion and family conflict after you are gone. The key is to develop a plan that matches your specific circumstances.

How an inheritance could impact special needs assistance

You want to do all you can to help your child, who has special needs. You know there are benefits and government aid programs.

One key thing to avoid is giving the child assets that may accidentally disqualify him or her. In many cases, experts note that a person with over $2,000 in assets won't qualify at the state or federal level.

Attitudes toward long-term care have shifted. Why?

Over roughly the last two decades, attitudes about long-term care have changed. One expert noted that the change started around the year 2000.

Generally speaking, it's something people think about more now than they have in the past. They're concerned, even worried. They're interested in planning in a way they weren't in previous decades.

Don't make these 5 estate planning mistakes

Estate planning is critical, and it's far more than just making a will. You also need to think about things like long-term care planning, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and much more.

The financial impact of even one small mistake can be huge. With that in mind, here are five mistakes you should try hard to avoid:

Important financial benefits available to elderly veterans

If your parent is suffering from dementia -- or you know an elderly person who is -- you might relate to the story that follows. A woman started looking for an assisted living facility for her mother, who was in an advanced state of dementia. Later, she discovered that her mother qualified for Veterans Administration (VA) benefits. The VA benefits were a great boon that could help pay for her mother's care.

The woman's mother qualified for benefits because she was the widow of a World War II vet. The problem was, she didn't know about the available benefits until after she had been living in an assisted living facility for years. Much money had already been spent, and many benefits had been left untapped.

Powers of attorney and the onset of dementia

Watching your parents age can be immensely difficult, and this may be particularly true if your parents are suffering from dementia. At some point, it may be wise for you and your parents to sit down and talk about creating powers of attorney.

Power of attorney grants a trusted person the right to make important decisions on behalf of the person who creates the document. There are two main types of power of attorney -- financial and medical. Typically, powers of attorney are established with the help of an elder law or estate planning attorney.