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Help us help you

Help us help you

Here is a great way to spend the next 30 minutes: Write a summary of your life. Why? Should something happen to you, it would be the greatest gift you could give to those who may need to care for you, or your estate, if you can no longer do it yourself.

Let me explain.

When someone dies or becomes infirm, difficult tasks face those who survive. This initial period of discovery can be time consuming and quite frustrating when no clues are left. A case in point: A distant relative passes away. They live far away in another state. Where do you begin?

Finding recent tax filings can be a wonderful place to start. The past few years’ IRS 1040 forms will, at least, get the ball rolling with discovery. What happens if your relative has been on fixed income and has not needed to file tax returns? The search can be long and hard.

Monitoring the mail and incoming phone calls can yield some clues. Speaking to friends and neighbors can help too. Eventually, anyone who wants money comes looking for it! Without proper records or clues, some items may never be found.

 

1.      List Financial Accounts:

  • Bank Account
  • Mortgage
  • Safety Deposit & key location
  • Investments Accounts

2.       Real Estate holdings

3.       Credit Cards

4.       Professional Contacts

  • Tax Accountant
  • Lawyer
    • Location of will
    • Power of Attorney
    • Funeral instructions
  • Doctors Names

 

5.       Documents

  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Discharge Papers Armed Services
  • Automobile
    • Titles
    • Insurance & Registration
  • Social Security ID Card
  • Medicare ID Card
  • Life Insurance

6.      Establish a joint bank account allowing instant                    funds should problems arise 

 

Funeral Insurance as an Irrevocable Trust

Another wonderful gift to your family is funeral insurance as an irrevocable trust. These policies cover:

funeral expenses

Thus, eliminating a large burden for everyone who survives you.

By making the policy an irrevocable trust, the money spent on this insurance becomes an exempt asset in the eyes of Medicaid. Since these policies accrue interest, their initial worth grows as time goes by.

Take a lesson from Mahatma Ghandi:

Die with no more possessions than your glasses!

If you slowly transfer the ownership of all you hold in this world, while you are alive, many fewer questions will arise. This is another way to have a better relationship with Medicaid. If you have little or no assets, you will qualify for this kind of insurance more readily. Get to know what insurance vehicles may be able to sustain you if you are infirm. Learn the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Get to know all about Medicare Part A, B and D. Don’t transfer your assets in a hurry. Consult your tax accountant and lawyer for advice. There are strict rules concerning how to disperse your assets gracefully. Abide by them!

Consider this article as a starting point and inspiration for action. There are many more items to address that may be particular to your life. Plan now and live all the days of your life in peace (and bring peace to others!) Amen.

About The Author

Karl Zuk

Karl has worked at ABC, CBS, and NBC Television over his 40 year span working as a broadcast engineer.