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Veterans and Estate Planning

In November, we honor the men and women who serve or served in our Armed Forces. Men and Women serving in our military make daily sacrifices to protect and defend freedoms we often take for granted.  As a daughter of a veteran who grew up around the military, I give back to our veterans.  This blog provides information for our Military Veterans and Estate Planning and benefits such as Aid and Attendance, Long-Term Care and Veteran Asset Protection Trusts (VAPT).

Veterans Aid and Attendance

Aid and Attendance is a benefit that pays for qualified caretakers to provide Assisted Daily Living (ADL) services. Veteran A&A provides monthly payments for (ADL) to veterans who are 65 years or older. A Veteran is eligible for Aid and Attendance if he or she served for 90 consecutive days with at least one full day during wartime, and meet the financial and clinical criteria.   The VA provides the basic requirements and defines wartime periods, which is found at https://www.va.gov/pension/aid-attendance-housebound/.  A Veteran’s widow/widower may also qualify for Aid and Attendance.  Another possible benefit to consider is long-term care, especially as a Senior.

Veterans and Long-Term Care

The Veterans Administration offers 24/7 medical care services that may take place in a Veteran’s own home, assisted living, or even in a nursing care facility. Medical services include ADL, respite for caretakers, and even pain management. Veterans may combine private pay, long-term care insurance and VA healthcare. The VA will review financial eligibility, service-related disability, other insurance and the ability to private pay. The Veteran receives medical counseling to help set priorities and make advanced healthcare decisions. Caretakers receive counseling on their appropriate role and responsibilities. With Alzheimer’s, and Dementia increasing among Seniors, it is important to understand extended geriatric care benefits with the VA. For more information visit https://www.va.gov/Geriatrics/

Veteran Asset Protection Trust (VAPT)

Financial barriers may keep a Veteran from qualifying for VA benefits. Specific financial guidelines explain how much a Veteran may own, including a home and land.  If a Veteran’s finances are high, A VA accredited attorney works with the veteran to reduce net worth. Part of the estate planning process is creating a Veteran Asset Protection Trust (VAPT).

What is a Veteran Asset Protection Trust? The VAPT is an estate planning tool for 3-year planning or even crisis planning. The Trust is designed to house a Veteran’s assets. VAPT reduces the Veteran’s net worth and helps the Veteran qualify for benefits.  The Veteran retains control over the assets but names a lifetime beneficiary such as children. It also keeps assets away from irresponsible beneficiaries and protects against financial exploitation.

VAPT and Estate Planning

How does a VAPT help in estate planning?   A VAPT holds a Veteran’s assets. It is funded with cash assets to provide living expenses while waiting out a possible penalty period that is caused by gifting. There is a 3-Year look back period where gifting assets causes a penalty. A VAPT helps “cure” gifting.

For many veterans and spouses, a Veteran’s primary residence may be the main asset. A VAPT also holds the primary residence. However, there are certain rules to follow when putting the primary residence in a VAPT. If the Veteran sells the home, the proceeds may disqualify the Veteran from benefits.

By putting assets into the VAPT, the beneficiaries receive the stepped-up basis for income tax purposes at the grantor’s death. Rules exist for the primary residence, gifting, and asset resources. A VA Accredited attorney with experience in advance estate planning works with the Veteran to help follow him or her reduce net worth, protect assets, and financially qualify for benefits.  

Solutions

I am a VA Accredited attorney who works in estate planning. Honorably discharged military veterans receive a 10% discount for simple estate planning such as wills and living trusts. Advance estate planning such as VAPT is a complex process that works with financial eligibility issues.  If you are a Veteran or knows a Veteran who needs estate planning or even advance estate planning and a VAPT, call me at 314.332.0011. Visit https://TuckerLegal-LLC.com to book a complimentary consultation today for estate planning and elder law issues.

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