Category Archives: Living Will Attorney

Planning for Long-Distance Caregiving

As the Baby Boomer generation enters their twilight years, a large percentage of their children find themselves sandwiched between responsibilities for their own family and their aging parents. For caregivers who live far from their loved one, this dynamic proves particularly difficult. It’s estimated that there are between 5 and 7 million long-distance caregivers (LDCs) in the United States. An elder law attorney can advise both the elderly parent and the LDC about best practices for long-distance care and estate planning.

Often adult children don’t realize that their aging parent needs care or support until some kind of health crisis occurs. Long distances can compound this situation. When elderly parents live more than an hour away, problems may not be noticed immediately. Advance planning is essential. Ideally, the entire family should discuss responsibilities and make decisions in advance, including who will take the lead in care giving and where responsibilities lie.

In this planning stage, family members can determine the best options for care, including moving the parent closer to the caregiver or enlisting the help of in-home care services in the aging parent’s location. Family members should also make decisions about individual LDC roles. Siblings may decide to split responsibilities. One sibling may be better with hiring and monitoring caregivers, while another may choose to coordinate legal planning.

Here are some things to keep in mind as aging parents and long-distance caregivers plan ahead:

  • Respecting the Aging Parent’s Wishes. Many aging parents may need help but want to remain as independent as possible, for as long as possible. It’s imperative that their wishes are taken into consideration with regard to where and how they live.
  • Contacting an Elder Attorney. An elder attorney should be consulted to help with estate planning and to guide the family in legal decisions. It’s important that issues such as the power of attorney for health directives be decided while the parent is able to do so. An elder law attorney can also make sure that the elderly person’s property and financial means are protected, while still providing for their daily needs.
  • Organizing Affairs. It’s important to know where all of the pertinent paperwork is located.
  • Learning About Resources in the Area. Long-distance caregivers should do research to learn about the resources in their elderly relative’s area to find the best in-home care and other services that will benefit them.

Becoming the caregiver for an elderly parent is challenging. In cases where the caregiver lives a significant distance from the parent, the situation can be even more of a challenge. An elder law attorney is an essential element in a long-distance caregiving plan. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you put together a long-distance caregiving plan for your loved one.

 

Social Security Increases in 2015

As your trusted Massachusetts elder law attorney’s office, we have some great news! At the beginning of the year, Social Security benefits rose for over 60 million Americans. The monthly Social Security and Supplemental Income increased 1.7%, slightly higher than the 1.5% increase in 2014.

These increases were made as a Cost of Living Adjustment, and are determined by the rate of inflation over the past year. The increase is supposed to make up for the rising costs of goods and services.

On average, this amounts to about $22 per month for the average American.

What Does This Change?

Ultimately, not much will change. The small increase will provide a small amount of financial relief, but not enough to make a large difference. Retirees who were previously struggling will not find the increase to provide much relief. Potential retirees still working to sort their finances won’t be pushed into retirement by this small increase.

What Other Changes Are There?

Several other changes were made this year to social security payments:

  • Higher maximum taxable earnings.

  • Larger earning limits.

  • Higher maximum benefits.

  • Statements are being automatically sent via the mail again (they were suspended in 2011 for cost-cutting measures).

What Steps Do I Need to Take?

The benefit will be received automatically. You don’t need to take any steps, and your loved ones should be receiving the increased rate for 2015 already.

However, 2015 is the perfect time to meet with your local Massachusetts estate planning lawyer to begin planning your financial future. A skilled Massachusetts nursing home attorney will be able to sort out you or your loved one’s estate and will.

With your estate worth more than ever, it’s the perfect time to focus on the future!

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Ten Warning Signs that Indicate Alzheimer’s

Ten Warning Signs that Indicate Alzheimer'sAlzheimer’s Disease is an incurable form of dementia, impacting memory, thinking and behavior, that gradually worsens over time. Common in older populations, it’s estimated that over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease today.

How do you know if a loved one might be displaying early signs of Alzheimer’s? Here’s a look at 10 warning signs to watch out for:

  1. Forgetfulness: Easily forgetting recently learned information, having to rely on reminders or sticky notes and asking the same questions over and over is a common early sign.
  2. Difficulties in solving elementary problems or planning.
  3. Trouble completing familiar tasks, like driving to work, managing a budget or remembering the rules of a popular game.
  4. Confusion, especially if it involves forgetting how they arrived somewhere.
  5. Visual image challenges: Trouble reading and a difficulty judging distance are common early signs.
  6. Difficulty with verbal/written communication.
  7. Misplacement of items and not being able to retrace their steps to locate said item.
  8. Poor judgment: Common signs include carelessness with money and a lack of proper bathing and grooming.
  9. Removal from activities: One thing to keep a lookout for is whether or not someone is removing themselves from everyday activities, like work, social activities or any hobbies they were active in.
  10. Last but not least, another warning sign is changes in mood and personality. Confusion, depression, anxiousness and fear fullness are all common signs associated with the disease.

If you suspect a loved one may be showing early signs of Alzheimer’s, it’s important to get them to a doctor. You may also want to contact a Massachusetts elder law attorney to attain Massachusetts power of attorney if you feel your loved one is no longer healthy enough for make decisions for themselves. For more information, contact your Massachusetts elder lawyer today.

When Faced With A Death — An Important Checklist

Whether you or a loved one is facing death, it is essential to take some time to plan for what will happen afterwards. It goes without saying that anyone can benefit from using a Massachusetts elder law attorney, even long before death becomes the topic. There are numerous considerations for individuals in these situations, including:

  • Planning for end of life expenses, especially when a hospital facility is necessary
  • Making decisions about assets, including how to minimize taxation on any estate
  • Making decisions about dependents, include who will care for any adult dependents
  • Considerations for medical bills and other debts
  • Planning for end of life celebrations, including considerations for burial
  • Updating of wills and trusts to ensure the most current information is included
  • Minimizing risk of nursing homes and medical facilities; including seeking help for elder abuse when needed
  • Considerations for charities, especially if the individual plans to donate a significant portion of his or her estate
  • Probate considerations

There are many things to say and do when you are faced with death of a loved one. And, while you may be focused on the more important things, such as spending as much time as possible with your loved one, it is essential to seek out legal advice and guidance to manage each aspect of this process. A Massachusetts estate planning lawyer is the professional to call in these matters.

It is also important to remember that hiring a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer does not have to occur just as the end of life. These professionals provide ongoing support throughout your life to ensure that your wishes are always planned for in the long term. Ensure you get the help you need and the best possible outcome by turning to a professional with experience.

Elder Law and Alzheimers

Learn more about how you can take care of your alzheimers inflected parent.It’s estimated that as many as 5.1 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease, an irreversible, yet progressive brain disorder that gradually worsens until death. Most that suffer from Alzheimer’s begin to notice signs and symptoms generally around the time they turn 60 years old. Depending on how the disease is treated, a person who has been diagnosed with the disease can live anywhere from three to 20 years.

Yes, Alzheimer’s Disease is a horrible medical condition, one that you never want to see any family member suffer through. But the reality is that it’s a real condition and there’s only one real long-term outcome from people that are diagnosed with it.

That’s where we come in. We understand how difficult it can be to see a parent or elder family member worsen as the disease runs its course. And that’s why it’s a good idea to plan wills and estates with your loved ones while they’re still in the early stages of the disease. Here’s a closer look at why it’s a good idea to begin planning sooner:

  • Planning in the early stages of Alzheimer’s still allows your loved one to be involved in the process, thereby permitting your loved one to weigh in one future health care decisions as well as finances and real estate decisions.
  • It allows the loved one to sign a power of attorney, thereby giving legal power to someone other than themselves when Alzheimer’s Disease worsens.
  • You and your family member are both able to meet with an elder attorney, have your questions answered and be advised by a professional, so that you both can rest assured that things are in good hands. Taking action early can help avoid a lot of confusion, stress and frustration later on as the Alzheimer’s condition worsens.

While it’s never fun to have to think about things like wills, power of attorney and estate planning, taking action and planning ahead is a crucial step toward avoiding problems down the road.

Deciding When to Make a Living Will

Contact a massachusetts elder law attorney today for advice on living wills.If you are caring for aging parents or grandparents, you may be wondering if it is time to discuss writing a living will with your loved ones. The subject is often emotional and can be difficult to bring up in casual conversation. The best time to discuss the future is when everyone is healthy, perhaps as retirement approaches or shortly thereafter.

A living will gives people the opportunity to record their desires about medical care if they become incapacitated due to illness or injury. The document becomes their voice and ensures personal wishes are known when they can no longer speak for themselves. It is important to record these wishes before mental acuity starts failing.

The first step is to write down instructions for family and medical providers. Then consult a professional attorney with elder law experience. A legal expert can help you put the information in a legally binding document that the courts will recognize as valid.

In order to protect your rights, consulting with a Massachusetts estate planning attorney is advisable. Massachusetts is one of only three states that do not have specific living will legislation. However, the court may still consider the contents if a lawsuit is filed regarding medical treatment.

Today is a good day to start the conversation. Contact the law offices of Adam Tobin, Elder Law Attorney, for more information about living wills and elder law matters.

How To Prepare Estate Planning After Having a Baby

Estate planning after having children.

After having a baby, your estate planning strategy completely changes because you need to account for some important decisions that will affect your child, both now and as he transitions into adulthood. It is important to add your child to your will right away and make several other decisions related to your child in the coming years.

First, specify in your will how your assets will be divided between your heirs, including the new baby. An estate planning lawyer can walk you through the process to ensure your wishes get carried out.

Second, get a Massachusetts estate planning attorney to add a clause to your will that specifies who will care for your child if you and the child’s other parent are both unable to. Including this in your will may seem silly if you’re healthy, but it never hurts to have it there in case something happens to you.

Third, consider setting up a living trust. This is a way to protect your assets from being tied up when you die, while still allowing you full control while you are living. A living trust attorney can walk you through the specifics of this process.

Fourth, start transferring your assets to your child if you have a large estate. Tax laws allow you to make tax-free gifts of up to $13,000 per year for each child, which adds up significantly over the child’s lifetime.

Of course, there are several other things you will need to consider as well, especially if you have a large estate or if your existing will is a complicated one. Get in touch with your Massachusetts estate planning lawyer before your baby arrives so you can discuss your plans and be ready to put them in place.

Tips For Making Your Estate Planning a Smooth Process

estate-planning-paperworkIf you feel that the time has come for you, or an elderly loved one, to truly finalize your estate planning, the time is now to contact an elder law attorney or an estate planning lawyer. When you go for your consultation with a Massachusetts living trust attorney, it is important to have in mind an idea of how you would like your estate planning to go. Below are some useful tips and guidelines that will help you as you work with your Massachusetts elder lawyer.

1. Consider including a simultaneous death clause, which will pass your estate onto your children in the event that your spouse dies shortly after you do.

2. In order to disinherit a child, you must spell that out in your will.

3. Remember to keep beneficiaries on your pension, life insurance and 401K current.

4. Be sure to designate an executor as well as a back up executor.

5. Store your personal and private information in one designated location in the home, preferably a fire proof safety deposit box. This box should include important personal and financial records, as well as computer passwords and PIN numbers.

6. Understand the impact of estate taxes and discuss with your estate planning attorney some options for reducing or avoiding estate taxes.

Remember that upon your death, your family and loved ones will be going through an emotionally taxing as well as stressful time, and you will help them considerably by having your affairs in order. It is important to recognize that with age comes certain responsibilities, and that the sooner you have your estate and other affairs in order, the better off you and your loved ones will be. Contact an elder attorney with any questions you might have regarding Massachussetts and even federal law, and set up an appointment to begin the process of finalizing your affairs. You will feel at ease, and your family will be glad to know that an already taxing time will be much less stressful because of your willingness to work ahead.

The Dangers of a Do-it-Yourself Last Will

do-it-yourself-last-willA do-it-yourself will sounds like a simple and inexpensive way to let your loved ones know your wishes in the event of your death. Doing your own will at home, however, may end up leading to avoidable problems such as taxation and court battles. Do-it-yourself wills may seem like a good deal, but the money put out later could cost a lot more than using an estate planning lawyer to draw up your documents.

Do-it-yourself wills may prove to be invalid if you do not follow all state and federal laws. For instance, if you used a witness with an invested interest in your estate, the will may not hold up in court. It must also be proven that the signatures found on the will were properly witnessed. Also, if the original will can’t be produced, your wishes may not be followed. An estate planning lawyer typically stores your will in a fireproof location to ensure the original can be produced in court. An estate planner could also be called into court and testify about the validity about the claims included in the will.

The language used in the will must be perfect for claims to be valid. As an example, a court could interpret the wording wrong and subject your assets to costly estate taxes. Estate taxes can deplete the funds you leave behind for your beneficiaries. Instead, meet with an estate planning attorney to go over the language and inclusions of your documents to prevent will contests. Otherwise, your family may then be forced into a legal battle and be forced to pay an exorbitant amount of court and probate lawyer fees.

The biggest downfall of a do-it-yourself-will package? You don’t receive personalized advice from an estate planning attorney. The will software packages can provide general advice, but won’t be helpful if you have a more unique situation. Will software packages are not likely to provide you with guidelines on how to handle domestic partnerships, children from other marriages, disinherited children or special needs children. As an example, a stepfather who claims in his do-it-yourself will to leave all his assets to his children may find his stepchildren cut out of any inheritance money he meant for them. Also, living trusts and power of attorney are not usually properly handled in online will programs. In these cases, set up a consultation with a living trust attorney.

Do-it-yourself will software packages may require you to fix errors later on. Get your will right the first time by meeting with a licensed and professional estate planning attorney. Reduce family conflict by clearly stating your wishes and keeping the proper documentation stored with a lawyer. The Law offices of Adam Tobin is waiting to hear from you to create your legal and valid last will and testament.

Massachusetts Elder Law Planning for Long-term Care

longtermcare-elder-lawElder law attorneys in Massachusetts can help you solve issues regarding long-term care arrangements. If you are not proactive and speak to a Massachusetts elder lawyer early on, long-term care costs can deplete the estate of you or your loved ones. Although insurance may help assuage some of the financial burden, an estate planning attorney can present different options to you.

Long –Term Care Insurance Policies

As part of your estate planning, you may decide to take out an insurance policy in the case you or a loved one requires extensive medical care in a long-term facility. Policies available cover nursing home care and assisted living costs. Your elder lawyer can include policy terms in your living will along with give you advice on how to select the best policy. Since you may not need long-term insurance for years, choose an established insurance provider with a long track record of honoring claims. A Massachusetts elder attorney is likely to point out the importance of an inflation rider that allows the benefit amount to increase each year. If you need long-term care in 10 or 20 years, you want to make sure the coverage you have is sufficient.

Getting Your Wishes Granted

An elder attorney ensures that you or your loved one gets the care you want and deserve. In your living will, you could instruct your loved ones on the type of facility you want to be placed. A list of facilities and nursing care providers can also be listed in a long-term care plan. Your attorney also helps you find the funds from your estate to pay for long-term care if required. All monies are reviewed during your consultation to make the smartest financial decisions. Monies used for long-term care can come from medical insurance, reverse mortgages, long-term care insurance, veteran’s benefits, income and savings.

Documents You Need

Telling your children or grandchildren your wishes for long-term care is not enough. A MA elder care lawyer assures all documentation is filed and legally-binding. Your attorney can draw up your last will and testament, living will and power of attorney documents. In your documents, you could also designate a personal care coordinator. This person is in charge of making the decisions when you are medically incapacitated due to old age or disease.

Speak to a MA elder lawyer early on to avoid financial disaster. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if used for long-term care. Avoid losing your entire estate by planning for this possibility with an elder law attorney.