Avoid Probate of Equity Refunds from Continuing Care Communities

Elder Care

The Problem: Continuing care retirement communities have been growing in popularity with seniors for years.  Such communities usually require a “buy-in” upon admittance and many provide for a refund of a portion of the fee upon death.  The contracts (often called Residence and Care Agreements or the like) generally provide that the refund will be paid to the estate of the resident.  The trouble with this is that the refund triggers probate even if there are no other probate assets.  Since the refunds are often hundreds of thousands of dollars, unnecessary probate fees of $1,000 or more often result.

The Solution:  For those residents with living trusts, this can be avoided by a simple amendment to the Residence and Care Agreement that provides that the refund will be paid to the resident’s living trust rather than his or her estate.  The amendment (or addendum, as some facilities call it) must be signed by the resident and the management of the facility.
For those residents without living trusts, the cost of having a trust prepared will generally be at least equaled by the probate cost savings alone, not to mention time and trouble avoided by escaping probate.
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