If we had a crystal ball and could see into the future, we would not need to plan ahead for end of life decisions. We have seen many clients through the years where a spouse had a sudden stroke making it impossible to communicate with the family. Neither the spouse nor children knew anything about the financial or medical information. Besides having to locate important documents, the family is then left to make their own decisions about long term care and may have difficulty dealing with medical personnel or financial institutions.
A good New Year’s resolution might be to solve the problem of an elderly relative who should no longer be driving. It’s not an easy task, and I can still hear my mother’s words, “Don’t you take my car away from me.” The car is not only the means to independence for most Americans, but it is also a symbol of independence.
There are certain common questions on Wills that everyone asks. The first question is usually, “Do I need a Will?” If you don’t have one, the laws of Connecticut will dictate where your assets go, and the person named to handle your Estate may not be the person you would have chosen. For many people, the Connecticut law will send property to your spouse, and if your spouse is deceased, to your children. But if you are married for a second time, the rules change and the law may not provide what you desire.
The budget bill just passed by the legislature, and signed into law by the Governor, may have the effect of impoverishing seniors. Here is why. Under current law, when either a husband or wife needs nursing home care, or care under the Connecticut Medicaid Home Care Program, the healthy spouse can keep $109,560 of assets. That in itself is not much to live on for the rest of your life, especially if you are in your 70’s when your spouse becomes sick.