If you are like most married couples, you probably have your Wills already set up. But, have you thought to look at what they really say and if that is what you really want now? As we age, the chance that either of the married couple will need long-term care increases. Do your Wills help protect the life savings you worked so hard to save?
Typically, married couples have what we call Sweetheart Wills that basically leaves everything to the one spouse when the other spouse dies. From a benefits eligibility standpoint this could be financially devastating. Instead, you should have a type of estate planning that we call Medicaid-sensitive estate planning. Basically, the idea is that rather than leaving everything to each other you leave it for each other. If done the right way, the estate of the spouse who dies first is not going to be counted in determining eligibility if the other spouse later needs long-term care.
In this Estate Planning and Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses Wills and why a married couple, especially if over the age 65, should consider Medicaid-sensitive estate planning.
If You’re Married and Over 65, Your Wills are Probably Wrong
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson and this is your Estate Planning and Elder Law Minute. I’m going to tell you something today that is probably going to shock you. If you’re married and you’re over age 65, I’m going to venture to say that in all likelihood your Wills have it exactly wrong.
What do I mean by that?
Well, most married couples have what we call Sweetheart Wills. The husband’s Will says, “Sweetheart I love you, if I die first I leave it all to you.” The wife’s Will says, “Well, honey if it’s even possible I love you even more. If I die first, I leave it all to you.”
From a benefits eligibility standpoint, what you’ve really said is that, “When one of us is gone, and the other one has a greater risk of needing long-term care because the other of us isn’t there to help take care of them, we want everything that we’ve worked and saved for all of our lives to be at risk for long-term care costs.”
That’s just not a good idea. Instead, you should have a type of estate planning that we call Medicaid-sensitive estate planning. Basically, the idea is that rather than leaving everything to each other you leave it for each other. And if you do that the right way, the estate of the spouse who dies first is not going to be counted in determining eligibility if the other spouse later needs long-term care.
Honest to goodness, this is something that can make just a tremendous world of difference in outcomes. It’s a way of guaranteeing that you’ll leave an inheritance for your children. Let us help you with it. Thanks.
For more information on Estate Planning, visit these articles:
- Safeguarding Your Estate Plan
- Wills, Living Trusts and Powers of Attorney: How often should they be updated?
- Common Estate Planning Mistake #1: Failing to appreciate how assets pass upon death
“Your Trusted Advisor on the Elder Care Journey”
Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (877)995-6876 or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.