• Protecting Yourself Against The High Cost of Long-Term Care
    Thanks to improvements in medical science and healthier lifestyles, Americans are living longer than ever before. Unfortunately, many of us will require long-term care at some point in our lives, and one in five of us will require long-term care for at least five years. According to Genworth Financial, the median cost of long-term care nationwide ranged from $51,480 to $102,200 per year in 2019, depending on the type of care needed.  (Care costs also vary widely based on where you live. To see the cost of care in your area, visit https://www.genworth.com/about-us/industry-expertise/cost-of-care.html.) The median cost of in-home care provided by a home health aide was more than $52,000 in 2019, while care in a nursing home can easily top $100,000 per year. Worse, experts predict that the cost of nursing home care will more than double over the next twenty years. Tragically, many families exhaust their life savings within...
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  • Here’s What Can Happen If You Don’t Have An Estate Plan of Your Own, Continued
    In this post, we’ll continue our discussion of why everyone needs an estate plan. Loss of Control Losing control over how your assets are distributed after death isn’t the only negative consequence of failing to plan. You and your family may suffer physically, financially and emotionally while you are still alive. For example, a properly designed and implemented plan allows you to name people you trust to make medical and/or financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Without a plan, someone will petition the court for the right to make these important decisions for you. The court could very well decide to choose a person or persons you would never have wanted to have such authority. The result? You may not receive the level of medical care you would have wanted. Conversely, you might be subjected to medical procedures you would not have wanted to keep you alive...
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  • Estate Planning and Alzheimer’s Disease
    While everyone should have an estate plan, it is especially important for families living with Alzheimer’s disease. If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and you do not have estate planning documents like a will, Power of Attorney, or advance directive, please contact our office as soon as possible. Estate planning documents require the person who signs them to have the legal capacity to understand the documents’ consequences. In most cases, someone who has just received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can understand the meaning and importance of a given document and therefore has the legal capacity to sign it. However, the ability to understand the implications of legal documents may decline as the disease progresses. We can guide you through all the legal ramifications surrounding an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, including medical and asset protection planning, advance directives and guardianship. We understand what you are going through...
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  • Here’s What Can Happen If You Don’t Have An Estate Plan of Your Own
    We often discuss the benefits of estate planning. However, a discussion of what can happen when a person fails to plan is perhaps a more powerful way to stress the importance of proper planning. Let’s look at a few potential consequences of not having a plan of your own. If a person passes away without a will or trust, his or her estate assets are distributed according to what is known as intestate succession. It is important to note that certain assets are not subject to intestate succession laws. These can include funds in an IRA, 401(k) or other retirement account; property owned in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety; proceeds from life insurance policies; payable-on-death bank accounts; and securities in a transfer-on-death account. Most other assets are transferred according to intestate succession. As a result, “who gets what” follows a strict formula, with no regard to the actual...
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  • Alzheimer’s Disease: Facts Versus Fiction, Continued
    In our last post, we discussed some of the myths surrounding Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Now, let’s dispel some other myths. You have to be old to get Alzheimer’s disease. People in their 50s, 40s and even 30s can get Alzheimer’s disease. This is known as younger-onset or early-onset Alzheimer’s. It is estimated that there are currently more than 200,000 people under the age of 65 with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Cooking with aluminum pots and pans or drinking from aluminum cans may lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This myth began in the 1960s and is still widely held. However, studies have failed to show any connection between Alzheimer’s disease and commonly used items containing aluminum, such as cookware, cans, antiperspirants and antacids.  The artificial sweetener aspartame causes memory loss. Artificial sweeteners such as NutraSweet and Equal, which contain aspartame, were approved by the Food and Drug...
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  • Protecting A Child’s Inheritance
    A number of our clients have expressed concern about protecting the inheritances of their children. Sometimes, they worry about the security of a child’s job and what will happen if he or she loses that job in a tough economy, cannot pay bills, and loses the inheritance to creditors. Other times, they worry about the influence sons or daughters-in-law have over their children, and what would happen if their child got divorced. Some parents wonder if their children are mature enough to handle an inheritance and if they can make sound, long-term decisions on their own. Fortunately, there are a number of ways for you to leave an inheritance to your children and protect that inheritance against threats such as these and more. In addition to their ability to avoid probate and minimize taxes, trusts are some of the most effective tools to protect your children’s inheritances. Here are a...
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  • Alzheimer’s Disease: Facts Versus Fiction
    The number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States is growing rapidly. So, too, are the number of myths surrounding the disease and other forms of dementia. Let’s begin by looking at what we do know about the prevalence of Alzheimer’s before investigating some of the more common myths. Approximately 5.5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. Of these, some 5.3 million are 65 years of age or older. In addition: One in 10 people 65 and over has Alzheimer’s disease Nearly two out of three Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women African-Americans are approximately twice as likely as older Caucasians to have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia Hispanics are about one and one-half times as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias as older Caucasians As the population grows older, the number of new cases of Alzheimer’s disease is expected to soar Today,...
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  • Planning Tips For The New Year, Continued
    Here are some additional planning tips to bring you peace of mind in the new year. Review your asset allocation. The start of the new year is an excellent time to reassess your investment portfolio to make sure your asset allocation is where it should be to accomplish your investment goals. Additionally, a stock, mutual fund or other investment that out-performed the market two years ago may not have done as well in 2019. If so, take a long, hard look at it. Make a detailed monthly and annual budget. One of the greatest fears among retirees and seniors is outliving one’s life savings. If you haven’t done so already, create a detailed monthly and annual budget. If you already have a budget, be sure to update it to account for any changes in your income or unforeseen expenses. Take a home inventory for insurance purposes. What is the precise...
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  • Virtual Reality Is Now Being Used to Help People With Dementia
    Modern technology has been used for years to address challenges faced by seniors. Nintendo Wii’s motion gaming technology, which allows users to play virtual tennis and engage in other virtual activities, became quite popular in nursing homes as a way to get residents to exercise. Microsoft’s motion gaming sensor, Kinect, has helped patients recover from painful medical procedures. In addition, numerous wearable and smart appliance technologies are being created to allow seniors to live at home rather than moving to a long-term care facility. Now virtual reality is helping seniors who struggle with loneliness, depression and even dementia. An article in the Washington Post explored this development. The article focuses on a physician in the San Francisco Bay area, Sonya Kim, who uses virtual reality headsets to treat lonely and depressed seniors. She has found that the therapy makes a dramatic impact on her patients’ lives. “It lifts the moods...
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  • Planning Tips for the New Year
    It’s impossible to predict what the new year has in store for us. However, if you follow some (or all) of these tips, 2020 should bring you greater peace of mind. Update your estate plan. We’ve said it before, but as an estate planning firm dedicated to making sure your plan continues to address your needs and goals, we’ll say it again: Don’t let your plan become obsolete. It is vitally important to have us review your plan whenever changes have taken place in your life. Has your financial or medical situation changed since your plan was created? Have any of your children gotten divorced and remarried, or started families of their own? Do your beneficiary designations continue to reflect your wishes? Are all of your trusts properly funded? Your estate plan must take all of these issues, and more, into account for it to accomplish your goals. The fact...
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