An Introduction To Our Firm’s Work In Estate Law
My Work As A Military Veteran Practicing Estate Law
My story as an attorney begins in Michigan, where I grew up. I graduated from Michigan State University in 2002 and joined the U.S. Army where I spent over four years on active duty, including two combat deployments to Afghanistan and one to Iraq.
After my first tour in the army, I left the military for a short time to attend law school at the Michigan State College of Law. After graduating from law school, I returned to the army where I served as a judge advocate general [JAG Court] officer for over four years. Upon leaving the army, I moved to Clarkston, Michigan where I currently live with my wife and four children.
Since 2011, I have been a licensed attorney in Michigan. My practice of law has included clerking for the Honorable Duncan Beagle, serving as a trial counsel (prosecutor) for over two years, serving as Chief of Legal Assistance and Military Law Instructor, and working at a law firm that focused on estate planning and business development.
In 2018, I founded my own firm, Wagner Law, and I have been serving my community of Clarkston, Michigan in the areas of estate planning, elder law, Medicaid planning, probate, business development, and veterans’ affairs ever since
I’m Here To Support Michigan State Residents Interested In Estate Planning & Elder Law
Estate planning and elder law have such a significant impact on our families and community. As such, my goal is to support my community members by helping them gain insight about these areas of estate law. Such education and training should provide you with peace of mind that after you are gone, your family will be taken care of. It should also provide you peace of mind that should you become incapacitated, you will be taken care of in a manner that preserves your dignity.
Estate Planning For Lifetime Protection
Estate planning is the comprehensive process of managing your assets and affairs during your lifetime. It involves creating legal documents that state how you want your assets and belongings handled after you pass away or are incapacitated and unable to handle your own affairs.
A comprehensive estate plan can involve the services of a variety of professionals, including a lawyer, accountant, financial planner, and insurance advisor.
Several documents make up your estate plan. Each document is important. As you and your family grow and age, these documents can provide peace of mind that your intention and wishes will be met along the way. And at your passing, your estate will be passed on to your family and/or whoever you choose.
The most common estate planning documents are:
- A last will and testament
- A trust
- A durable power of attorney for finances and healthcare
- An advance healthcare directive
- HIPAA authorization and release
- A personal property memorandum
The Connection Between Estate Planning, Elder Law, & Medicaid Planning
Popular thinking might be that Medicaid applicants don’t need to have an estate plan – but nothing could be further from the truth. However, it’s important to remember that there is a difference between estate planning and Medicaid planning.
The difference is that you would set up your estate in a manner that safeguards and manages your assets for your named beneficiaries. In doing so, you also minimize the amount of estate taxes your beneficiaries must pay. Essentially, an estate plan sets forth a plan of what you want to happen with your estate after your death.
On the other hand, Medicaid planning allows long-term care Medicaid applicants to meet Medicaid asset limits for eligibility purposes, while also legally protecting assets (also called resources) for family and loved ones for their future inheritance.
As part of an estate plan, a trust and/or a last will and testament is written, which is a legal document that states how you wish to have your estate distributed after your death. You name a personal representative who manages your remaining estate and ensures your final wishes are carried out. Additionally, a financial durable power of attorney is also set up. This is a legal document that names a person or persons who can make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
You might also set up a trust in the name of your beneficiaries to ensure and protect their inheritance and to limit estate taxes. You can even set up charitable donations, which serve the same purpose. Not all estate planning strategies are appropriate for Medicaid planning. However, part of estate planning should be planning for the possibility of a future need for long-term care Medicaid.
Medicaid does have income and asset limits for qualification purposes. But being over the limits does not mean that you cannot qualify for Medicaid. You can work on getting your assets under the limits without jeopardizing your Medicaid eligibility. Therefore, planning your estate should be a part of Medicaid planning.
With Medicaid planning, you may get assistance with the Medicaid application process as well as pulling together all of the required documents. Of course, the main goal is to speed up the process of meeting Medicaid’s financial eligibility requirements to maximize benefits and savings for long-term care.
With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Estate Planning Law Cases, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we’ll make it look easy.