Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Christina C. Forbes, Esq.

Aging Today is Not Easy

Medicine can keep us alive much longer than ever before in history
Our lives are becoming more and more complex
As we age, our ability to process complex information declines
These are recipes for difficult days
Our culture is not set up (yet) to make aging easy
Families are more age segregated than any time in history
Many, many tragic stories; a few not so tragic, but still hard
Intestate case examples
Family infighting examples
Aging alone examples
The law sits out there, and most people don’t know what it says

I have three kinds of clients:
* Those who want to plan ahead
* Those who haven't planned ahead (and their family members)
* The families of those who have died

The Legal Tools
The law has a number of excellent tools to help pave a solid ground of security.

This security helps those who are planning ahead for incapacity (never expected).

The law has a lot to help those who are caring for those who didn't plan ahead and became incapacitated or who were born with disabilities or who developed disabilities along in life.

Finally, the law stands by at death, placing fiduciary oversight of a decedent's assets and how they are distributed.

Planning Ahead

Advance Directives
Durable Financial Power of Attorney
Durable Health Care Power of Attorney
Advance Medical Directives
HIPAA Release
If you don’t have these, your loved ones have to jump through hoops
If you don’t do it, the law will do it for you
No simple will
Must look at financial implications:
If you’re rich, worry about taxes
If you’re poor, worry about Medicaid qualification
If you’re in between, god help you (that’s most of us)
Want to think about spouse/partner, children and other beneficiaries
What is my philosophy of life?

More useful and more control than durable financial POA
Useful for segregating (and controlling) money and planning
Avoid taxes
Special Needs Trusts
Protect spendthrift children
Same dispositive terms as a Will
Choose your own financial manager

Incapacity without a plan
Guardianships and conservatorships
Avoidable, but not always: DFPOA, DHC POA
Without those, becomes a necessity in many cases
Expensive, time consuming, hard on family
Don’t confuse with “commitment”

Other Tools
Geriatric care managers
Elderlaw attorneys/local bar association
Hospice workers
Senior Centers/adult day care centers
Public/non-profit resources
Meals on wheels
Visiting Nurses
Home health aids
Area Agency on Aging
Age in place
Banks: Reverse mortgages
CCRCs, Assisted Living, Nursing Homes
Retirement savings
Long term disability insurance
Media for seniors
The Beacon
Guide to Retirement Living
Centers for Medicare/Medicaid
Many web sites
Medicare, Medicaid

If you’re a family member with aging parents or relatives, it’s often heartbreaking
Plan ahead (get them to plan ahead; careful who does the pushing and how it's done)
If you’re aging yourself, what do you do?
Plan ahead
If you have kids, Plan ahead
If you want to give money to a charity, Plan ahead
Just like raising kids, only more so
College = nursing home
Information difficulties
But, kids sort of obey; parents don’t; and it’s hard to obey oneself.