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Wills, Disputes of Wills & Trusts

Times to Contest Wills, Disputes of Wills or Trust

Sometimes family members will question the validity or dispute a will or trust; there exists a multitude of reasons.  When a person who dies without a will, issues arise as well as when a there is a trust or will, but fails to provide anything or allocate assets to a certain family member.  Additionally, the will or trust may leave the inheritance or assets to an acquaintance or someone the family suspects of wrongdoing or undue influence.  Our will contest lawyers can assist in resolving probate disputes while protecting your inheritance interests.

Reasons for Will Contests, Disputes and Trust Disputes

There are a variety of ways to contest a will in court.  You should speak with a knowledgeable will contest lawyer that handles will contests, disputes and trust disputes over suspicions of:
[ul style=”12″]
[li]Fraud and undue influence: if your loved one was coerced or pressured to leave assets to an acquaintance or caretaker, for example, instead of family members, the will may be contested. [/li]
[li]List Style Fraud and undue influence: If your loved one was coerced or pressured to leave assets to an acquaintance or caretaker, for example, instead of family members, the will may be contested.[/li][li]Elder abuse[/li]
[li]Breach of fiduciary duty [/li]
[li]Forceful changes to the will under duress [/li]
[li]Forged documents or signatures[/li]
[li]Mental capacity: To make a valid will, a person must be able to meet certain legal requirements concerning his or her mental state and clarity of thought. [/li]
[li]Actions of trustee during distribution of trust funds[/li]
[/ul]

Choose a South Carolina Will Contest Attorney – Spartanburg, Greenville, Upstate SC

The probate litigation attorneys at the Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP seeks to resolve trust and will contests as quickly and effectively as possible, while minimizing the cost of litigation.  We will discuss your options with you and help achieve resolutions that protect your rights.  We encourage you to contact a will contest attorney to discuss your will contest, dispute or trust dispute issues with the Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP today at 864.582.6727 to schedule an appointment.  We are ready to put our experienced trial attorneys to work for you.

Elder Law Asset, Property Transfers & Asset Protection

It is important to speak to an experienced elder law attorney (property transfers attorney / asset protection attorney) when considering the transfer of property prior the applying for Medicaid. The rules on property transfers are complex and can have significant consequences on Medicaid eligibility if you have not properly followed the established rules.

In 2006, Congress, through the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), significantly changed the rules governing the treatment of asset transfers effecting the period of ineligibility for Medicaid and those who transfer assets. For transfers made prior to enactment of the DRA, Medicaid officials will look only at transfers made within the 36 months prior to the Medicaid application (or 60 months if the transfer was made to or from certain kinds of trusts). But for transfers made after passage of the DRA the so-called “look back” period for all transfers is 60 months.

If you have made an asset transfer or property transfer, you should consult first with an experienced property transfers attorney / asset protection attorney before applying for Medicaid. Our elder law attorneys at the Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP can advise you of your rights and course of action and with regards to the five-year look back period.

Permitted Asset / Property Transfers

While most transfers are penalized with a period of Medicaid ineligibility (there is no limitation on the length of this penalty), certain transfers are exempt from this penalty. Even after entering a nursing home, you may transfer any asset to the following individuals without having to wait out a period of Medicaid ineligibility:

  • Your spouse;
  • Your child who is blind or permanently disabled;
  • Into trust for the sole benefit of anyone under age 65 and permanently disabled;

In addition, you may transfer your home to the following individuals (as well as to those listed above):

  • Your dependent child who is under age 21 or a blind or disabled child;
  • Your child age 21 or older who has lived in your home for at least two years prior to your moving to a nursing home and who provided you with care that allowed you to stay at home during that time;
  • A sibling who already has an equity interest in the house and who lived there for at least a year before you moved to a nursing home;

Choose a South Carolina Property Transfer Attorney / Asset Protection Attorney – Spartanburg, Greenville, Upstate SC

A property transfers attorney / asset protection attorney at the Smith Law Firm, LLP will help you navigate through the complexities of federal and South Carolina Medicaid laws and rules.  Medicaid choices are just too important to leave to chance. If you or a loved one has questions about property transfers and asset protection, we encourage you to contact a property transfers attorney / asset protection attorney to discuss your situation with the Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP today at 864.582.6727 to schedule an appointment.  The property transfers attorneys / asset protection attorneys at the Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP can help, don’t wait and act now.

10 Reasons to Create an Estate Plan Now

Many people think that estate plans are for someone else, not them. They may rationalize that they are too young or don’t have enough money to reap the tax benefits of a plan. But as the following list makes clear, estate planning is for everyone, regardless of age or net worth. (For more information on estate planning, see our Estate Planning section.)

1. Loss of capacity. What if you become incompetent and unable to manage your own affairs? Without a plan the courts will select the person to manage your affairs. With a plan, you pick that person (through a power of attorney).

2. Minor children. Who will raise your children if you die? Without a plan, a court will make that decision. With a plan, you are able to nominate the guardian of your choice.

3. Dying without a will. Who will inherit your assets? Without a plan, your assets pass to your heirs according to your state’s laws of intestacy (dying without a will). Your family members (and perhaps not the ones you would choose) will receive your assets without benefit of your direction or of trust protection. With a plan, you decide who gets your assets, and when and how they receive them.

4. Blended families. What if your family is the result of multiple marriages? Without a plan, children from different marriages may not be treated as you would wish. With a plan, you determine what goes to your current spouse and to the children from a prior marriage or marriages.

5. Children with special needs. Without a plan, a child with special needs risks being disqualified from receiving Medicaid or SSI benefits, and may have to use his or her inheritance to pay for care. With a plan, you can set up a Supplemental Needs Trustthat will allow the child to remain eligible for government benefits while using the trust assets to pay for non-covered expenses.

6. Keeping assets in the family. Would you prefer that your assets stay in your own family? Without a plan, your child’s spouse may wind up with your money if your child passes away prematurely. If your child divorces his or her current spouse, half of your assets could go to the spouse. With a plan, you can set up a trust that ensures that your assets will stay in your family and, for example, pass to your grandchildren.

7. Financial security. Will your spouse and children be able to survive financially? Without a plan and the income replacement provided by life insurance, your family may be unable to maintain its current living standard. With a plan, life insurance can mean that your family will enjoy financial security.

8. Retirement accounts. Do you have an IRA or similar retirement account? Without a plan, your designated beneficiary for the retirement account funds may not reflect your current wishes and may result in burdensome tax consequences for your heirs (although the rules regarding the designation of a beneficiary have been eased considerably). With a plan, you can choose the optimal beneficiary.

9. Business ownership. Do you own a business? Without a plan, you don’t name a successor, thus risking that your family could lose control of the business. With a plan, you choose who will own and control the business after you are gone.

10. Avoiding probate. Without a plan, your estate may be subject to delays and excess fees (depending on the state), and your assets will be a matter of public record. With a plan, you can structure things so that probate can be avoided entirely.

 

Probate Litigation and Will Contests and Disputes, Trust Disputes

While in many cases, probate and trust administration is resolved without difficulty, there are times when family members dispute a will or trust, questioning its validity for a variety of reasons. Issues arise when a person who has died without a will as well as when a there is a trust or will, but fails to provide anything or allocate assets to a certain family member. Additionally, the will or trust may leave the inheritance or assets to an acquaintance or someone the family suspects of wrongdoing or undue influence. Our will contest lawyers can assist in resolving probate disputes while protecting your inheritance interests.

Reasons for Will Contests, Disputes and Trust Disputes

There are a variety of ways to contest a will in court. You should seek advice only from an experienced will contest lawyer who can properly handle will contests, disputes and trust disputes over suspicions of:

[ul style=”3″]
[li]Fraud and undue influence: if your loved one was coerced or pressured to leave assets to an acquaintance or caretaker, for example, instead of family members, the will may be contested.[/li]
[li]Elder abuse[/li]
[li]Breach of fiduciary duty[/li]
[li]Mental capacity: To make a valid will, a person must be able to meet certain legal requirements concerning his or her mental state and clarity of thought.[/li]
[li]Forceful changes to the will under duress[/li]
[li]Forged documents or signatures[/li]
[li]Fraud and undue influence: If your loved one was coerced or pressured to leave assets to an acquaintance or caretaker, for example, instead of family members, the will may be contested.[/li]
[li]Actions of trustee during distribution of trust funds[/li]
[/ul]

Choose a South Carolina Will Contest Attorney – Spartanburg, Greenville, Upstate SC

The probate litigation attorneys at the Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP seeks to resolve trust and will contests as quickly and effectively as possible, while minimizing the cost of litigation. We will discuss your options with you and help achieve resolutions that protect your rights. We encourage you to contact a will contest attorney to discuss your will contest, dispute or trust dispute issues with the Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP today at 864.582.6727 to schedule an appointment. We are ready to put our experienced trial attorneys to work for you.

“The Total Advocacy Firm” Since 1926 | Serving the State of South Carolina | Spartanburg County | Greenville County | Anderson County | Chester County | Laurens County | Pickens County | Richland County | York County | Cherokee County | Union County | Oconee County

Effective Medicaid Planning addresses Medicaid Issues and Medicaid Eligibility

The laws surrounding Medicaid eligibility are complex and you should consult an experienced and knowledgeable Medicaid planning attorney to address issues and provide you with a comprehensive strategy tailored to your individual situation. The Medicaid planning process involves developing a plan to reallocate your assets in such a way that Medicaid will not take them into consideration when determining your eligibility for coverage. If you will require nursing home care in the future, you will then qualify to have Medicaid pay for the cost of care, rather than depleting your own resources to cover these costs. Our experienced Medicaid planning attorneys provide guidance throughout this process.

Medicaid planning is a process of working within all applicable laws to set aside savings for the benefit of nursing home residents who will otherwise be economically devastated by the exorbitant cost of private nursing home care. Through asset preservation, implementation of a Medicaid plan allows the resident continued access to the many things not otherwise covered by nursing home Medicaid.

Visit our Medicaid Planning Resources in our Legal Resources area of our website for additional information.  If you or a loved one has questions about Medicaid planning and Medicaid eligibility, we encourage you to contact a Medicaid planning and eligibility attorney to discuss your situation with the Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP today at 864.582.6727 to schedule an appointment. The Medicaid planning attorneys at the Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP can help, don’t wait and act now.

Disclaimer

The information on this web site is a public resource of general information, which is intended, but not promised or guaranteed, to be correct, complete and up-to-date. The information on this web site is not intended to be, and is not, a source of advertising, solicitation or legal advice. No person who visits this web site should consider the information on this web site to be an invitation for an attorney-client relationship or rely on the information provided herein. Every person who visits this web site and needs legal advice or an attorney should seek the advice of competent counsel in his or her State.

Medicaid Planning & Medicaid Eligibility

Effective Medicaid Planning addresses Medicaid Issues and Medicaid Eligibility

The laws surrounding Medicaid eligibility are complex and you should consult an experienced and knowledgeable Medicaid planning attorney to address issues and provide you with a comprehensive strategy tailored to your individual situation. The Medicaid planning process involves developing a plan to reallocate your assets in such a way that Medicaid will not take them into consideration when determining your eligibility for coverage. If you will require nursing home care in the future, you will then qualify to have Medicaid pay for the cost of care, rather than depleting your own resources to cover these costs. Our experienced Medicaid planning attorneys provide guidance throughout this process.

Medicaid planning is a process of working within all applicable laws to set aside savings for the benefit of nursing home residents who will otherwise be economically devastated by the exorbitant cost of private nursing home care. Through asset preservation, implementation of a Medicaid plan allows the resident continued access to the many things not otherwise covered by nursing home Medicaid.

One of the greatest fears of older Americans is that they may end up in a nursing home. This not only means a great loss of personal autonomy, but also a tremendous financial price. Depending on location and level of care, nursing homes cost between $35,000 and $150,000 a year.  To learn more read our Medicaid Planning information located in our Legal Resources section of our website.