34 THE QUEENS COURIER • QUEENS BUSINESS • JULY 12, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
The Elder Law Minute TM
Don’t Procrastinate: The Importance
of Early Estate Planning
BY RONALD A. FATOULLAH, ESQ.
AND EVA SCHWECHTER, ESQ.
Most people understand that estate
planning is something that they will
need to address at some point in their
lives, but many push it off for as long as
possible. It is an understandable reaction,
as it can be diffi cult to contemplate
how one’s assets should be allocated
aft er death, and who should be
appointed to make decisions in case
the person becomes incapacitated.
However, it cannot be stressed enough
how important it is not to procrastinate
in taking care of one’s estate plan;
early planning can save a person a signifi
cant amount of time and money in
the long run.
Individuals planning for long-term
care understand that in order to qualify
for Medicaid, they cannot own non-exempt
assets in excess of the applicable
Medicaid resource threshold ($15,150
in 2018). Many are familiar with the
5-year lookback for all transfers eff ected
prior to qualifying for nursing home
Medicaid. Any gift s made by an individual
prior to fi ve years from the Medicaid
application, will be beyond the purview
of Medicaid. Typically, the best way to
protect one’s assets is to transfer such
assets to an Irrevocable Medicaid Asset
Preservation Trust. Transferring one’s
assets to the Medicaid trust starts the
fi ve-year clock ticking for Medicaid
nursing home eligibility. Th erefore,
once individuals approach the age of
70, it is recommended that they look
into the option of an irrevocable trust
to protect their assets should they
require Medicaid in the future.
Additionally, all individuals, regardless
of age, should plan for the possibility
of incapacity. Th ere are several essential
documents to help handle a person’s
aff airs once he has become incapacitated.
Th e Power of Attorney is the
most crucial document. It allows a person
to appoint someone to make fi nancial
decisions on his behalf in the unfortunate
event that he becomes incapacitated.
Without a Power of Attorney,
family members and loved ones would
be unable to pay an individual’s bills,
manage his household, attend to issues
involving real property, or assist him
in qualifying for government benefi ts
such as Medicare and Medicaid without
going to court and initiating a guardianship,
which can be a time-consuming
and expensive process.
Another essential document is a
Health Care Proxy. A Health Care
Proxy allows a person to appoint someone
else to serve as agent for medical
decisions. It ensures that an individual’s
specifi c medical treatment
instructions are carried out. In general,
a Health Care Proxy takes eff ect only
when someone requires medical treatment
and a physician determines that
the individual is unable to communicate
his wishes concerning treatment.
Th is document is of specifi c importance
if the person one wishes to appoint as
agent is not an immediate family member.
e importance of preparing a Last
Will and Testament cannot be overlooked.
A Will designates who will
receive a person’s property on his passing.
Additionally, a person may want
to avoid probate or tax consequences
by placing his assets into a Trust. A
person’s Last Will and Testament is his
legally binding statement on who will
receive his property upon his demise,
while a Trust is a mechanism for passing
one’s property outside of the probate
system. Once a person is deemed
incapacitated, he will no longer be able
to execute a Will himself; in some cases,
a Trust can still be prepared via the
Power of Attorney. For both a Will and
a Trust, it is preferable to execute these
documents as early as possible, in order
to make sure that one’s estate is distributed
according to one’s wishes.
Creating and implementing an estate
plan now will only serve to help you
and your loved ones later on. An estate
planning and elder care attorney should
be contacted for assistance in developing
an appropriate plan and draft ing all
Ronald A. Fatoullah, Esq. is the principal
of Ronald Fatoullah & Associates,
a law fi rm that concentrates in elder
law, estate planning, Medicaid planning,
guardianships, estate administration,
trusts, wills, and real estate.
Eva Schwechter is an elder law attorney
with the fi rm. Th e law fi rm can be
reached at 718-261-1700, 516-466-4422,
or toll free at 1-877-ELDER-LAW or
1-877-ESTATES. Mr. Fatoullah is also
a partner with Advice Period, a wealth
management fi rm, and he can be reached
Will Your Resume Get You to The Interview?
You only have one chance
to make a great fi rst impression!
Your resume should tell
the story of your work experience
and what makes you
unique. It should be used to
highlight your achievements
and the most important elements
of your career. Here
are a few tips to make sure
your resume is read by the
Applicant Tracking Systems
(ATS) and impresses the hiring
manager enough to invite
you to the interview you want:
Tips to Optimize
• Customize each resume
for the specifi c position
being sought using language
from the job posting.
• Include keywords and
phrases and be as specifi c as
possible about your relevant
• Use a standard Word
document that can be easily
uploaded, stored and
retrieved by your future
• Select a font that is considered easy to
read such as Ariel, Georgia or Calibri
and won’t confuse the Applicant
Tracking Systems (ATS).
• Use font sizes that are 11 point or
• In most cases, keep your resume to 2
pages and do not include work history
beyond 15 years.
• Use proper spelling, capitalization
and punctuation and edit carefully.
• Ask an unbiased third party to review
your resume before you submit.
• Do not include references on your
• Do include a compelling cover letter
that will introduce you to your future
Mindy Stern SPHR, SHRM-SCP,
ACC is an author, career coach, leadership
development specialist and trusted
HR Advisor. She frequently speaks
at leadership conferences and workshops.
If you would like your questions
answered in this column, just email
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
the website at www.aimresourcegroup.