Spring Ahead

Spring Ahead

With spring weather on the way and Covid in decline, things are starting to look up. My wife and I are even going to see our 16 month old grandson for the first time since we saw him in December 2019. Getting on with life allows people to start doing things that may have been put off over the past year.

From a legal perspective, that includes reviewing your family and financial circumstances and thinking about the basics of planning ahead. An obvious step for a couple with minor children or a single person with minor children is to consult with an attorney to learn about legal documents and what planning should be done to have the standard legal tools that everyone needs. Those are a Power of Attorney between each other with a backup, a living will for health decisions with a backup and a will or trust or both, depending on circumstances. A trust for the money for minor children is advisable. These tools are for anyone through middle age, with
normal health.

For older singles, or for married couples whose children have flown the nest, these same documents are vital, but other long range planning might include special trusts for asset protection in case of long term illness. One critical step is to review beneficiary designations on bank accounts, IRA’s, and 401k’s. Sometimes single people will name parents or siblings as beneficiaries, and as the years go by, it may no longer make sense to have parents as beneficiaries. An example that makes this point is of an elderly lady, years ago, who went on Medicaid in a nursing home. She was almost ninety. Unbeknownst to her children, her 94 year old unmarried sister, was worth over a million dollars. The sister never changed her will, died, and left everything to the younger sister on Medicaid. The result was payback to the State of
Connecticut, and payment for the nursing home until the younger sister died. Preventing this would have been simple if the older sister had just thought about the change that had taken place with the younger sister in a nursing home.

Planning and taking steps to protect yourselves, your assets and your future are like the change of seasons. As spring comes, we plan on lighter clothes. With summer following, we may buy that new bathing suit. Then with autumn its time to look through the closet and figure out what clothes will be needed for winter.

Going through the seasons of life means considering the ages, health, and circumstances of your family members. Is there a child who can’t handle money, or a disabled child who is on a government program? Or, is a parent declining who may need help? The legal tools needed will vary through the seasons of life and there is no better time than spring to get moving on your family’s needs. Once you have the planning done, whether simple or more complex, you’ll have that inner feeling of satisfaction that you have properly planned for the well being of your loved ones heading into the summer and following seasons of their lives.
Attorneys Stephen O. and Halley C. Allaire are partners in the law firm of Allaire Elder Law.
Attorneys Stephen O. and Halley C. Allaire are members of the National Academy of Elder Law. Attorneys, Inc.
Allaire Elder Law is a highly respected, and highly rated law firm with offices in Bristol, CT.
We can be contacted by phone at (860) 259-1500 or by email.

If you have a question, send a written note to us and we may use your question in a future column.

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