How do I transfer assets to an elder parent if I die first?

Q: I am an adult only-child (age 42), and my retired mother (age 68) has no blood relatives other than me. If I were to pass before her, I want her to be protected financially. I currently have her as the sole beneficiary to one of my life insurance policies and one of my investment accounts. My husband is the beneficiary of all other insurance policies and financial assets. For estate planning purposes, what is a good vehicle to consider, for securing that the assets that are designated for my mother provide not only a secure income but also cover basic needs that may arise (ex: home, medical care, long term care, transportation)? (Cranberry Township, PA)

A: A complicated question which cannot be answered without much more information including your mother’s health, the value and structure of her assets, her income, your health, your husband’s health and the value and structure of your assets, etc. It would generally be inadvisable to leave these assets directly to her via the testate process or non-probate succession given her age, especially if she has health issues. The consequences could result in ineligibility for Medicaid and VA benefits, if applicable. A revocable living trust with beneficiary designations aligned with the planning is generally advisable. Again, seek a consultation with an attorney.

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