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Working on Your Bucket List? First, Finish Your Estate Plan

Seniors should be having some heart-to-heart discussions with their spouses and loved ones about their wishes concerning their assets and their final days, according to Intermountain Catholicin “Retirees Have Several Financial Issues to Consider.” After a loved one dies, family members are often left dealing with the expenses of their medical care and funeral. To be left to deal with these issues while grieving, adds another layer of heartbreak. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Many people put off making a will.  This means that their property won’t be distributed as they would want. If you don’t already have a will, contact an elder law attorney and get started right away. Without a will, your estate will be distributed according to the laws of your state.

Ask your elder law attorney if a “pour-over trust” is appropriate for your situation.  It puts the property that you own at the time of death into an already-prepared trust, so your trusted heir can succeed you as a trustee and then divide the estate, according to your wishes.

Don’t put your 401(k) or IRA savings accounts into trusts. The IRS will see that as a 100% withdrawal and you’ll be charged the taxes on it for the year the withdrawal was made. That one mistake could, and has, decimated lifetimes of savings.

You’ll want to grant a trusted family member or friend the power of attorney and medical power of attorney, so your affairs can be handled, if you should become unable to do so. If you do not want “heroic measures”—CPR and other medical procedures done to bring someone back to life, if they are unresponsive—then you’ll want a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form. That form will need to be with you and you should tell others about it, so they can instruct medical personnel accordingly. Otherwise, EMTs and doctors are required by law to take whatever measures they deem necessary to keep you alive.

If you haven’t already applied for Social Security, you may wish to go to your local Social Security office to discuss what benefits are available to you and how to collect them.

Most seniors qualify for Medicare, but there are many different plans. It is also likely that you’ll need supplemental plans to cover costs, including prescriptions.

Your best bet: sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you create an estate plan that is best for you and your family.  You should also have conversations with your family members about tough topics, so when the time comes for them to act on your behalf, they’ll be ready.

Reference:Intermountain Catholic “Retirees Have Several Financial Issues to Consider”

Hear From Our Clients
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I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

- Kerri

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce

Josh Nelson, and his staff, have been amazingly helpful to our family. The ins and outs of nursing homes, the rules and regulations that govern Medicare and Medicaid are daunting and the folks at Nelson Elder Care Law have been informative, responsive, and above all, empathetic. I cannot emphasize enough how their service has taken a weight off of our shoulders especially during a world pandemic that has targeted nursing homes across our country. I highly recommend retaining Josh and his firm!

- Marcia

I had a simple legal question to them that I needed answered and they very helpful in giving me the information I needed. I highly recommend them and will reach out to them if I need more advice or assistance. Thank you for taking your time to just answer a couple of questions I had!

- Ben