RECENT CHANGES IN HEALTHCARE AND ESTATE TAX LAWS MAY present financial challenges to older Americans, notes Attorney Barbara Coenson of Coenson Law, citing the recent decision by the Supreme Court that reaffirmed the validity of the Affordable Care Act.
This legislation can potentially have a significant impact on the retirement and estate plans seniors and their families already have in place and may necessitate a reexamination and fine-tuning of these plans in order to ensure the best results in individuals cases.
“Many seniors rely on public benefits to help pay for nursing home and medical care,” says Barbara. “Because many seniors depend on Medicaid and Medicare, we need to be vigilant about changes to these programs.”
In addition, the $5 million exemption for estate expires at the end of 2012. Without Congressional action, estates more than $1 million may be subject to a death tax up to 55%.
As an attorney in the estate planning, elder law, and business law fields, Barbara has a wealth of experience in trust, wills, and probate law. She puts this knowledge to work for her clients to help them protect their assets and ensure a smooth transfer process for family members and other beneficiaries.
By managing an estate properly, the impact of estate taxes can be minimized or eliminated altogether. Additionally, the cost of probate can be avoided by maintaining a valid trust.
“With proper planning, clients can avoid probate by creating a trust,” Barbara explains. “Assets held in a trust do not pass through the probate process; they pass without court involvement. This is also true in the case of beneficiary designations and joint ownership with right of survivorship.” A trust also offers privacy to families, whereas the probate process is a matter of public record.
Estate planning by a qualified attorney offers other advantages for individuals and families, as well. As Barbara explains, “Too many people assume that assets of all types may pass by law to a desired individual.” But that may not be the case if they have not expressed their wishes in a properly drafted and executed legal document such as a valid will and trust. In this situation, the courts may decide to whom their assets will be distributed.
In order to avoid this, Barbara provides her clients with the knowledge and the tools they need to ensure their estate is distributed according to their wishes and without excessive estate taxes or probate costs.
Managing the costs of retirement and necessary healthcare can be challenging. Barbara has helped numerous clients navigate the complex process required to plan for and qualify for Medicaid and Veterans benefits. She notes that the way many clients approach their estate plan has changed in recent years.
“The discussion about long-term care is now becoming very important when we develop a client’s estate plan,” Barbara says. “The estate plan traditionally is ‘How will I pass my wealth on to my loved ones when I’m gone?’
Now, many clients are also asking, ‘How am I going to pay for long-term care out of that wealth? Thus, we work with clients to develop these plans with trust and confidence while demonstrating genuine care and compassion.”
Barbara founded Coenson Law to create a law firm that provides distinctive personal service in the representation of its clients. Her knowledge, dedication, and commitment to clients have earned her a loyal following as well as other recognitions.
Barbara had been awarded an AV Preeminent Rating by Lexis Nevis Martindale-Hubbell – the highest rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. She also has received the Five Star Wealth Manager Award, a 2012 Top Rated Attorney designation in The American Lawyer, and is an accredited attorney with the Veterans Administration. Giving back to the community is also important to Barbara, who sits on the boards of several service organizations such as the Rotary Club or Lake Mary, Hospice, and the Chamber of Commerce.
To learn more about Coenson Law and Attorney Barbara Coenson, call 407-322-8000 or stop by the office located in the Lake Mary Professional Campus at 1301 South International Parkway, Suite 1041 in Lake Mary. You can also visit the firm’s website at www.coensonlaw.com
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit www.ashleycisneros.com. You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.