Slepkow Slepkow & Associates, Inc. is a renowned East Providence law firm representing clients in probate and estate matters in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts (MA). We are are a very experienced RI and Mass. Law firm handling matters ranging from small estates and simple formal probate procedure to full trial contested matters.
We provide legal representation for any legal issues under the jurisdiction of the RI and MA Probate Courts including, testate, intestate, guardianship, change of name and admittance of foreign wills. We write wills and trusts with all proper formalities in both RI & Mass. We have standard wills for single persons, married couples, couples with minor children who need contingent trusts, persons with disabled children who need supplemental needs trusts, and those people in second marriages with or without children from prior marriages.
The key to a well-written will is often in the information provided to the testator that never gets included in the will itself. For example, advising clients how to designate beneficiaries on life insurance policies or IRA accounts is one of the key aspects of the estate plan and the drafting of the will. However, this information is not included in the will because money may pass directly to the beneficiaries outside of the will under the terms of the contract for insurance.
It is critical that a will is written precisely without ambiguity because when it is being read by its intended audience, the probate court, the testator is not alive to clarify disputes.
A will can be one of the simplest documents in your estate plan for the attorney to draft, but precision and experience are essential to the will’s quality. Some of the most complex documents in your possible estate plan are trusts. The beauty of a trust is that you can include any language you desire. Therefore, it can be as wordy, articulate, precise and thorough as you may wish. It can have separate provisions for all imaginable future outcomes and it may speak well into the future even after the creator’s death. Trusts may be revocable or irrevocable, living or testamentary, single or joint, tax planning or marital, and supplemental or Crummey.
No matter the purpose, all trusts have the same essential elements: one or more trustees who handle the assets within the powers set forth in the trust; one or more beneficiaries who benefit from the assets of the trust; a corpus of trust assets; a definitive end; and rules for the trustees to follow regarding the distribution of the income and principal of the trust estate. Proper advice of counsel as to which provisions to include, which type of trust to draft and how the distribution of assets should occur is essential to insuring your wishes are carried through after you die.
Rhode Island Elder Law Firm
Elder Law pertains to topics that interest the elderly and senior citizens. The basic of elder law include: wills, trusts, powers-of-attorney (poa), healthcare agent designations & estate planning. However, the biggest area of concern to many seniors and the elderly is the fear of losing a substantial portion of their assets in the event they are admitted into a nursing home. Asset protection and Medicaid Planning are areas of expertise by attorneys at Slepkow Slepkow & associates, Inc. Please contact RI Elder Law Attorney Matthew Slepkow if you have questions concerning the landscape of Elder Law in RI and MA.
1) What documents should a person have in their estate plan ?
Every person over the age of 65 should have the following documents prepared: a will, a health care power of attorney and a financial power of attorney.
2) What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is also referred to as a Healthcare Power of Attorney. It allows you to designate another person to make healthcare decisions in the event you are unable to make them for yourself. For example, if you are unconscious or incompetent, your healthcare agent will make all necessary decisions regarding your care. You can specify your wishes in the document so your agent knows how to treat you on your behalf.
3) Will the State take my house if I go into a nursing home?
No. The State of Rhode Island will not take your primary residence at any time while you are alive or your spouse is alive. The State may hold a lien against your estate after your death, at which time the house may need to be sold to satisfy the lien. However, the lien is never placed while you are alive, and if you are survived by a spouse living in the residence, the lien is extinguished at your death.
4) What steps should I take to protect the house in case of nursing home costs?
One of the best ways to add protection in your estate plan is to transfer the title of your primary residence to your children while retaining a life estate. The life estate allows you to live in the house for the remainder of your natural life, while transferring the title of the house to the children. This method provides complete protection for the house after any applicable penalty period has expired and does not have any adverse tax consequences.
5) Are there any means for me to retain control of my assets while simultaneously protecting them from the reach of nursing homes?
The short answer is no. The basic principle is that if you can reach or control your assets, then the nursing home can reach and gain control of those assets. There are various means of asset protection that can be utilized and you should seek our counsel.
6) What law will govern the strategies and state determinations?
The regulations of your state of principal residence will govern all medical assistance decisions. The system is federally legislated, but locally regulated. Each state has its own enforcement procedures which must be adhered to strictly.