Welcome to our website. We invite you to watch our welcome video and learn more about what we do, who we are, and how we can help you create a positive legacy for your family, your commmunity, and your environment.
At Christenson and Allex, LLC, we empower our clients with the education they need to create a positive legacy. We review your situation, listen to your ideas, learn about your values, and determine how best to help you achieve a secure future. Contact us to begin creating your positive legacy.
Estate Planning and Settlement of Estates. We use several legal tools, such as Wills, Trusts and Powers of Attorney to meet your specific estate planning needs, and we can assist you with the probate process, whether you are an estate beneficiary or personal representative.
Elder Law and Special Needs Planning. We can assist you with Medicaid planning, special needs trusts and other legal services so that you can form a plan of care for aging family members or children who have special needs.
Nonprofit and Small Business Law. We provide a variety of services related to forming a non-profit organization or small business, such as business formation documents, partnership agreements, or education regarding Board of Directors and officer fiduciary duties.
Real Estate. We can help you prepare for buying or selling a home or condominium, represent you at closing, or assist you with the many issues that come up during or after a real estate transaction.
Question of the Month
Each month the attorneys at Christenson & Allex answer questions heard frequently from clients.
Question: How can I possibly pay for long-term care if I can no longer live independently at home?
Answer: As people enter their later years, many worry about covering the high costs of assisted living or skilled nursing care needs. Depending on one's circumstances and needs, such care can range from a few thousand dollars to over $10,000 per month. So, how can a person plan for such expenses? Some people can pay out of pocket from income and assets, at least for a certain period of time. For others, long-term care insurance provides the assurance that care costs will be covered without financial hardship. In limited circumstances, such as for rehabilitation following a qualifying hospitalization, Medicare covers some or all of skilled nursing care expenses. If an individual or his or her spouse is a military veteran, some benefits may be available to assist with the financial costs of care. For many individuals who need long-term institutional care, they must seek Medicaid benefits after they have exhausted most of their assets. In cases with a spouse living at home, additional spousal impoverishment protections allow the spouse to keep certain assets for their own support. Because planning and coordinating various assets and programs is essential for maximizing one's financial resources for long-term care, sound advice from a well-qualified attorney can provide peace of mind and strategic options for an individual's and family's needs.
Question: Can I put my assets into a trust and qualify for Medicaid benefits sooner?
Answer: With one significant exception, many types of trusts are not very workable for Medicaid planning, especially if the goal is to have the trust benefit the individual who puts assets into the trust. If the trust is irrevocable and too restrictive, then the creator loses any benefit from the trust and may be penalized for giving away ("divesting") property if he or she applies for Medicaid within five years of transferring assets to the trust. Alternatively, if the individual has access to any of the trust assets, some or all of the trust will be counted as an asset for the individual's Medicaid eligibility. One significant exception is a pooled and community special needs trust created by the individual for his or her own benefit. Such a trust is not counted for Medicaid eligibility purposes and transferring funds to such a trust is not penalized as a divestment. During the person's lifetime, the trust account is available to supplement his or her personal or care needs beyond what Medicaid provides. In exchange for the exempt status of such a trust account, if there are any assets remaining in the trust at the individual's death, the state may be reimbursed for Medicaid expenditures before any of the funds may be distributed to the person's heirs.
Question: How do I nominate a guardian for my minor children?
Answer: One very important reason for having a Will, regardless of whether you have any probate property, is that a Will is the only place where you can nominate someone to serve as guardian for your minor children. This provision becomes significant when both parents pass away or when a surviving parent is unable to care for the children. If you are married and your spouse is the other parent of your children, you should nominate at least one back-up guardian. Your spouse should name the same people, in the same order, in his or her Will. If you are not married, and the other parent of your children is alive and has not given up his or her parental rights, it is likely that the court will have a preference for the other parent. Although the court will appoint a guardian of the estate to handle the child's financial affairs, parents with young children should also consider creating a trust to hold the property being given to the children.
Question: When my spouse passed away, did the title to our house automatically transfer to me?
Answer: It depends on how the deed is titled. Real estate owned jointly with the "right of survivorship" passes upon the death of an owner to the surviving owner using a process that is almost automatic and does not involve opening a probate file. A "right of survivorship" interest in real property generally must be designated on the deed to the property to use this simple process. The termination of a decedent's interest in survivorship martial property and/or joint tenancy is acknowledged by the filing of a Form HT-110, "Termination of Decedent's Property Interest" with the register of deeds in the county where the real estate is located. This step is necessary to remove the decedent's interest as an exception to clear title in order to properly pass ownership of the real estate.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.