Is it Time to Revisit Your Financial Plan?

Deciding to retire brings with it a variety of different logistical decisions that need to be made but also plenty of emotions about making this transition in your life. Concerns about your financial future and excitement for the new freedom you might face are both common feelings and many people have these at the same time.

By reviewing or executing a financial plan for your retirement, which incorporates your estate plan and how you intend to take care of yourself in older age and pass on assets to your children will give you peace of mind so that you have something to build and adapt from.

A comprehensive financial plan needs to include many different components, looking at each aspect of your individual retirement. This includes spending habits, the design of your current portfolio, account balances, personal retirement plans like gifting, estate planning and travel, and insurance planning.

Each of these plays at least one small part in your overall retirement playbook. It’s a good idea to look at things from the data that can give you a good idea of what you need to have saved and some of the challenges that you might experience if you don’t adapt your savings plan now.

Plenty of people are nervous about having enough set aside for health care expenses, for example, so you might want to discuss with your elder lawyer whether or not the long term care plans you have in place will be enough. Schedule a consultation today with an elder lawyer in Virginia Beach to learn more.

New Study Shows People More Interested in In-Home Care

Do you know how you’ll get support if you have healthcare needs or day-to-day living needs that extend beyond what you can provide for yourself? These issues should be incorporated into your Virginia elder law plan in accordance with state laws and your own preferences.

Going to a nursing home is not the only option available to most people who are between living on their own or getting around-the-clock support from staff. In fact, you might be able to get the help you need inside your own home.

Following the aftermath of the impact of Covid-19, more people who are recognizing their need for outside help in managing their health and activities of daily living are interested in home care.

Many family health care decision makers have decided to look into home-based care options before looking at nursing homes. A study recently conducted by Transcend Strategy Group found that over 50% of family members are more likely to select in-home care for their loved ones than they were prior to the pandemic. More than 1,000 respondents were included in the survey and all of them were family health care decision makers. Those most likely to be family health care decision makers were women between the ages of 40 and 45. The widespread news about the many different infections and deaths from Covid-19 in nursing homes is prompting people to capitalize on an already existing trend of more and more seniors wanting to stay at home for their care, however possible. If you are interested in creating an estate plan and an elder law plan that work hand in hand with one another, schedule a consultation with a trusted elder law planning attorney today.

 

Does Your Elder Law Plan Include Long Term Care Insurance?

You might not know just how many people rely on long-term care to deal with an ongoing or a short-term medical issue, but the odds show that there’s a good chance you’ll need long term care in the future.

If you don’t have any other plan in place and you don’t qualify for Medicaid when you face an urgent health crisis and need to go into a nursing home, you’ll pay an average of $140,000 out of pocket. For most people, that could decimate the retirement savings they had set aside for themselves or for them and their spouse.

Even though the numbers paint a picture of just how important it is to factor long term care into your elder law planning, few people consider long term care insurance as one of their options. In fact, only around 7 million Americans have long term care insurance to help pay for this very expensive and possibly necessary support.

Long term care insurance policies might not be the best fit for you, however. Many who bought these policies have been subjected to major rate spikes since the insurance companies underestimated how many claims they’d have to pay out. The number of companies offering LTC insurance has also dwindled. And some of the premiums for these policies can cost more than $2700 a year.

But just because LTC insurance might not be the right fit for you doesn’t mean your search for a plan stops there. Getting qualified for Medicaid does not have to be a difficult process, but you need to spend the time thinking over your choices and tools in advance. The right attorney can help you do that.

Speaking with an experienced elder law attorney in Virginia can prepare you for the possibility of nursing home care so that you can review all of your options.

Wealth Planning and Long-Term Care Planning for Aging Parents

If you have the responsibility of taking care of your aging loved ones, this is an extremely common situation that is facing more people in the sandwich generation. The sandwich generation often has children of their own, while they are also helping with the health care management or the costs associated with the loved one.
Many people don’t like to think about incapacity, money or death, but this is extremely important for any situation in which you are helping a loved one work through the issues of aging. There are several different steps that you can take in order to minimize the negative impacts of failing to plan. Failing to plan can make things more complicated for everyone, in the event that your loved one suffers from incapacity or suddenly passes away. Several different things should be discussed with your aging parents, including:

  • Putting together a living trust.
  • Planning for the possibility of long term care, including long-term care insurance.
  • Evaluating housing options.
  • Determining transportation needs.
  • Ensuring proper documents are in place.

Having a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you address many of the issues associated with the estate planning and the elder law planning process. Learn more about how estate planning Virginia can help you by setting up a consultation today.
 

Caring for a Child with Addiction or Mental Illness After You Pass Away

A woman in train alone and sad
Every parent has concerns about how they will pass on their assets to their loved ones in the future but there are many more complications when you have a child who is struggling with mental illness or with addiction issues.
Many parents who find themselves in this situation may feel overwhelmed by the process of caring for these children and therefore, avoid thinking about how these children will be taken care of when the parents are gone. Estate planning might differ in this situation when compared with another type of family. There are a couple of important steps that you need to take in order to plan appropriately for the future.
Whether the child is affected by addiction or mental illness, they may never fully recover from this condition and this is why it is important to think about using tools such as a trust in order to strategically allow access to them for support.
Not distributing the assets directly to your children means that they will most likely be invested with an experienced financial advisor with the ideal purpose of the money growing. In the event that the mental illness or addiction problem gets worse, this allows for more resources to fight the addiction. If the addiction problem is abated, however, the trustee may be able to help the child with new endeavors such as education or job opportunities. Careful planning should always go into any situation in which there is mental illness or serious concerns about addiction or spendthrift behavior. A trust may be the most appropriate way to plan for this- ask your Virginia estate planning attorney for more information.

Caregivers Should Take Care To Get Care Themselves

Home care

Home care

People who are willing to become a caregiver to a loved one, regardless of the circumstances, are taking on an awesome responsibility.
Consider this set of guidelines offered at Preserve dignity

  • Involve your loved one
  • Promote independence
  • Ask for help
  • Be an advocate
  • Take care of yourself

That last guideline might sound simple, but it’s perhaps one of most overlooked on the list, according to the website.
“Many caregivers are so accustomed to providing help and seeing to another person’s needs that they don’t know how to ask for aid themselves,” the article notes. “Take advantage of the help that’s available. Your family is your first resource. Spouses, brothers and sisters, children and other relatives can do a lot to ease your caregiving burden. Let them know what they can and should do.
Look to your church for aid and counsel. Make your minister or religious leader aware of your situation. Turn to caregiving support groups, or support groups for specific illnesses like Alzheimer’s or heart disease.“Encourage your loved one’s friends and neighbors to provide what comfort they can.”

For Caregivers, Ensuring Legal Matters Essential

Doctor laying hand on senior man's shoulder

Doctor laying hand on senior man’s shoulder

Caregivers of people with serious illnesses, particularly cognitive issues of the elderly, have a lot on their plate, but they also have an obligation to make future legal preparations for their loved ones.
“As a caregiver, you should begin making legal preparations soon after your loved one has been diagnosed with a serious illness,” states an article on the webmd website. “People with Alzheimer’s disease and other long-term illnesses may have the capacity to manage their own legal and financial affairs right now. But as these diseases advance, they will need to rely on others to act in their best interests. This transition is never easy. However, advance planning allows people with a long-term disease and their families to make decisions together for what may come.
“Clearly written legal documents that outline your loved one’s wishes and decisions are essential for caregivers. These documents can authorize another person to make healthcare and financial decisions, including plans for long-term care. If the person being cared for has the legal capacity, the level of mental functioning necessary to sign official documents, he or she should actively participate in legal planning. To give your loved one the best care possible, obtain legal advice and services from an attorney experienced with these issues. If the person you’re caring for is age 65 or older, consider hiring an attorney who practices elder law, a specialized area of law focusing on issues that typically affect the elderly.”
Webmd.com advises caregivers to be certain that important documents are in place, including:

  • Power of attorney
  • Durable power of attorney for health care, also known as health care proxy
  • Living will
  • Living trust
  • Will

 

Elder Mediation Can Help Keep Siblings Friends

The stresses and strains of caring for an aging parent, and especially determine what form that care should take, can push apart even the closest of siblings.

A recent story in The New York Times describes how two sisters nearly had a falling out after the death of their father in 2011 when it came to what was best for their 84-year-old mother.
“We were all confused and upset about the situation,” Rosie McMahan, 51, of Amherst, Mass., an educator and a counselor for teenagers, told the newspaper. “We had so many questions. How much respite should my sisters offer me? Should Mom’s name stay on the deed of the house? Where will either of them go if I can’t keep taking care of them?”
“It was hard to figure it out,” said her 50-year-old sister Therese, a midwife in Somerville, Mass. “How do we make decisions? What do we all feel comfortable with? What are the guidelines we’re going to adhere to? Every conversation ended with someone crying or hanging up, or both.”
“To help them navigate those difficult waters, they went to mediation to learn how to ‘stay in each other’s life and not have it be destructive,” as Rosie put it.”
“We wanted to stay connected as siblings, but if you don’t get someone else to help you out, you kind of fall prey to your childhood antics,” she said. “A mediator makes a hard job a little easier.”
“Elder mediation, an emerging area within family mediation, has gained so much traction that in 2009 the Association for Conflict Resolution, a professional organization, started an elder decision section,” the article states.
The story cites a 2001 report in the journal Conflict Resolution Quarterly that showed nearly 40 percent of adult children who cared for a parent said they experienced major conflict with a sibling. That conflict could be “over the amount of care, or money, or who should be making decisions, or just deep-rooted sibling rivalry over who does Mom or Dad love best,” said the report’s author, Deborah B. Gentry, a professor emeritus at Illinois State University.
“Most of the time siblings want what’s best for the parents,” Susanne Terry, a mediator in Danville, Vt., told the author. “They just look at it in a different way.
“Our goal is to help them figure out what their common interests are, so they can work together to find solutions.”

Article Predicts Technology May Change How People Age

Technology can’t halt the aging process, but a Huffington Post piece points out that it may change the way people grow older.

“Technology is changing everything, including how we will age and the quality of our senior years,” begins the story by Ann Brenoff ” Mobile devices, wearable gadgets and Internet-based technologies will help older adults age in place while monitoring their health and safety.”

  • The piece went on to site these specific coming advancements as having an impact on older Americans:
  • Talking street signs
  • Cars that drive themselves
  • Video-call doctor visits
  • Remote patient monitoring.
  • Online medical records.
  • Robots as caregivers.
  • A proliferation of LED lights in unexpected places
  • Safety monitors that “go way beyond nanny-cams
  • Homes that age along with the occupants
  • More apps to help people better understand their bodies

Ethical Guidelines For Helping Older Clients Offered By ABA

For attorneys who focus all or part of their practice on the needs of older clients, the American Bar Association advises adhering to the “Four C’s of Elder Law Ethics.”
They are:

  • Client identification
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Confidentiality
  • Competence

“First, all lawyers have an ethical obligation to make it very clear who their client is,” the ABA advises on the first point. “The client is the person whose interests are most at stake in the legal planning or legal problem. The client is the one, the only one, to whom the lawyer has professional duties of competence, diligence, loyalty and confidentiality.”

ElderlyWomanInGlasses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ElderlyWomanInGlasses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Avoiding a conflict of interest relates directly to client identification, in that “in most situations, a lawyer may only represent one individual.”
“For example, when legal planning involves property, such as a family home, in which several people have an interest, these interests are actually or potentially conflicting,” the newsletter states. Sometimes joint representation is possible, even with potential conflicts of interest, but it is more likely that we will be representing only the older person whose interests are at stake.”
Confidentiality, which is at the very heart of all attorney-client matters, simply means the lawyer may not share any information with other family members unless given permission to do so.
“Some clients want all information shared and family members involved in discussions,” the ABA points out. “Some merely want family members to be given general updates. Some want complete confidentiality. It differs from person to person.”
The final “C” is a special ethical responsibility when handling the legal affairs of older clients, according to the newsletter.
“Lawyers must treat the impaired person with the same attention and respect to which every client is entitled. This means meeting privately with the client and giving him or her enough time to explain what he or she wants.
“Assessing a client’s capacity to make decisions is part of our getting to know the client. While most clients can explain a problem and what it is they want, there will be some clients who cannot. Speaking privately allows us to find this out. When family members answer all the questions, it makes it difficult for us to determine our client’s level of understanding.”