As the aging population continues to need more long term health care services, most people are concerned about protecting their assets and having enough resources to pay for care. Jennifer Cona, Esq., managing partner, Cona Elder Law, a leading elder law firm in Melville, attracted over 50 people to the recent complimentary Elder Law Clinic hosted by the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (LIAF) in Port Washington. Jennifer is a member of the LIAF Board of Trustees as well as the Legal Advisory Board.
During the program, Jennifer focused on how trusts can be an excellent planning and protection tool. She emphasized that you need to use the right trust depending on what you want to achieve, and it should be flexible. “If you are looking to a living trust to protect assets in case you require nursing home care, then it must be irrevocable -- not revocable,” says Jennifer Cona. “Other trusts serve to reduce or eliminate estate taxes while still others are designed for asset management or to avoid probate. Certain trusts are contained in a Will while other trusts are set up and funded during lifetime. It is extremely important to realize that one size does not fit all.”
There is no cookie cutter solution when it comes to trusts and asset protection planning. More than half of the participants took advantage of the free 15 minute consultation with Jennifer Cona and Lynn Kay, associate attorney at Cona Elder Law, to discuss their specific situation.
For example, Tina Diesing’s husband was in the hospital and will probably require nursing home care. She came to the session to find out how she can pay for the care without depleting all of their assets. Another person has a husband who is getting frail as well as a disabled child. Her concern is how to prepare for their needs as the situation changes. And a third is a single individual who recently retired and understands the value of getting educated to protect herself for the future.
During the session, Jennifer answered numerous questions by the attendees including the following:
- Can you change your Trustee once the trust is established?
- Is the five year look back period for nursing homes a Federal law?
- Do you file a separate tax return for a trust?
- What happens if the house is placed in a trust and you want to sell it?
- Can you get a reverse mortgage if the house is in a trust?
- Can you put your IRA in a trust?
Attendees were able to tour LIAF’s premises and learn about programming for early, middle and late stage dementias as well as the various support groups and respite care offered by LIAF. A number of visitors signed up loved ones for programming after the visit.
Cona Elder Law is recognized as a leading elder law and estate planning firm on Long Island. The firm was ranked the #1 Elder Law firm by Long Island Business News in 2012 and 2013. The firm provides creative advocacy and cutting edge planning strategies and has been featured in many publications including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, L.I. Business News, Kiplinger’s, Reader's Digest and many others. Cona Elder Law attorneys are frequent contributors to Newsday’s Act II “Ask the Expert” column and have appeared as guests on WNBC-TV, CNN-fn, News 12, News 55, Channel 21 "Act II With Newsday" and many radio stations including WOR, WCBS AM and WFAN.