Wills vs. Trusts: How to Choose

By Mark T. Coulter, Esquire Estate Planning AttorneyClients are frequently unsure if they want to plan their affairs using a Will or a Living Trust. Some people push for one type, and others push a different solution. To be honest, there is seldom one ‘right’ answer, and instead any decision requires balancing between a number of competing factors in order to select what is best for you and your family. The question is a highly individual one, depending upon what factors are...

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Wills Are For Everyone

By Mark T. Coulter, Esquire Estate Planning AttorneyFar too many people fail to have a legally signed Will as a part of their life. If you take even a moment to research the field, you’ll see there is universal agreement among not just planning attorneys, but in the fields of insurance, law, finances, parenting, and many others, that a Will is something which everyone needs.If you don’t have a Will for some reason, then you have no control over what happens after you die....

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What Do You Want in Your Plan?

By Mark T. Coulter, Esquire Estate Planning AttorneyEstate Planning is not a ‘one size fits all’ tool. Instead, it involves collaborating with a knowledgeable professional to identify what your personal goals are for your estate and your family, and finding the best versions of the available legal tools to craft an estate plan which is best calculated to attain those goals. Necessarily, the first question then must be, what is it that your want in your plan? Stated otherwise,...

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Probate Discussion

By Mark T. Coulter, Esquire Estate Planning AttorneyWhat is Probate?Probate is the process to transfer ownership of a person’s assets after their death, under the supervision of a court. Probate establishes the validity of a person’s will, appoints someone to implement the will, and distributes the assets of the estate under the terms of the Will. This process is intended to protect the right of the family, heirs, beneficiaries and creditors of the deceased. Final bills are...

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Probate Avoidance Techniques

By Mark T. Coulter, Esquire Estate Planning AttorneyFrequently a goal of those seeking advice regarding estate planning, Probate Avoidance Techniques can be used to minimize the expense, delay and disruption to your affairs which might otherwise be caused by the probate process. The burdens and benefits of Probate are discussed in other articles in this section. In this article, several of these options to avoid probate are briefly discussed.OPTION ONE: Property Title ManagementAll...

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Planning for Young Couples

By Mark T. Coulter, Esquire Estate Planning AttorneyMany young couples make the mistake of putting off estate planning. Whether it is because it isn’t a fun topic to discuss, or seems to relate to matters far in the future, or sounds expensive, it may not seem particularly pressing. Unfortunately, however, nothing is further from the truth. When death, unforeseen illnesses or incapacitating injuries occur, the presence of an estate plan can be the difference between security and needless...

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Medicaid: Nursing Home / Long Term Care Benefits

By Mark T. Coulter, Esquire Estate Planning AttorneyFor individuals requiring long term care in a nursing home environment, Medicaid is the dominant payer. Medicaid is provided for people with low incomes, and very low levels of available assets, as well as to the blind, disabled workers, or orphans. To qualify for Medicaid coverage, you will need to demonstrate that your income and asset levels are sufficiently low that the government has to step in to cover your bills. This rescue, however,...

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Long Term Care Options

By Mark T. Coulter, Esquire Estate Planning AttorneyMany people talk about their concerns over the need for ‘nursing home’ care or Long Term Care in the future, with great fear of the shadowy doom of its incredible expense. Certainly many a family has been overwhelmed by long term care costs, but the first step to confronting the beast is to understand what it is. This article briefly discusses the types of care situations which are often lumped together under the heading of...

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Living Wills: You Can’t Live Without One

By Mark T. Coulter, Esquire Estate Planning AttorneyThe title to this document is perhaps a bit misleading. You can live without a Living Will. The problem is that you may not be able to decide under what terms you stop living without one. Maybe a better title is that you can’t die without one. Why? Because a Living Will is a document which lets you describe in advance just what type, and how many, extreme medical measures you want medical personnel to perform on you when you are barely...

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Estate Planning in Divorce Situations

By Mark T. Coulter, Esquire Estate Planning AttorneyDivorce can be one of the most emotionally devastating events in a person’s life, but in the turmoil it can be far too easy to fail to properly consider the financial implications of an impending divorce, as well as its effect on your estate planning needs. In almost all divorce situations, new estate plans are required to accommodate the new financial and practical situation in which both parties now find themselves. If you fail...

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