In this Elder Law Minute, Kaye Dent explains how it’s never too early to start an estate plan. Get in touch with DCEL today!
It’s not uncommon for me to meet with people in my age group, which is in their 50s, who have old estate plans from when they were first married in their 20s, usually or sometimes 30s, or who’ve never bothered to have an estate plan and say, “Boy, we’re getting ready to retire or we’ve got grandkids now; we need to plan.” The time to plan is always now. And as I say in so many of these elder law minutes, everyone who’s 18 years of age and older should have at least Powers of Attorney, if not a will, and for many people, a trust may be the answer. But the only way you’re going to know what you need is to consult with an estate planning or elder law attorney.
And if you are in your 50s, the time to plan was years ago, and it certainly is now. And you really need to be talking with an elder law attorney about the next stages of life. Our job isn’t just to plan for what happens when you pass away but also to plan for what happens if you don’t do so well in the interim.
It’s not uncommon these days at all, with as long as people are living, for people to face periods of disability. Our population is aging, and most of us in my age group and older can expect to spend at least some time in a Skilled Nursing Facility. That’s expensive. It’s hard on the family. Decisions have to be made by people that you trust. And if you don’t set your documents up ahead of time — Powers of Attorney, a proper will, even a revocable living trust or an asset protection trust in some cases — to make sure that all your money doesn’t go to the nursing home, then your family could face significant financial loss, emotional hardship, and other issues along the way.
Planning ahead is always better than planning in a crisis. It’s generally less expensive. It generally gives everybody more peace of mind and less stress. And it means that when and if the time comes, there’s a plan in place, it can be acted on, and people know what role they play.
I give a workshop sometimes to senior groups about 10 things that seniors need to know, and we talk about a lot of these issues. And at the end, I have a picture of The Little Rascals in their baseball uniforms because I’m old enough that I grew up watching The Little Rascals on what was it Saturday or Sunday mornings on KPLR TV out of St. Louis. And the fun thing about The Little Rascals is they’d run around like chickens with their heads cut off, looking like they didn’t know what they were doing. But at the end of the day, they could figure out a plan and come together as a team and get the job done.
And I think there was one episode where somebody had to throw a baseball across the street to signal to somebody else that the principal’s car or the mayor’s car was coming down the road so they could send Petey the dog out to pretend that he was run over or something. There was a whole mousetrap-type event going on there. But I tell people, you might look at even your adult children and think, “Boy, they look kind of like The Little Rascals baseball team sometimes, I wonder how everything comes together.” But if you have a proper plan laid out and everybody knows what their position on the team is, they can get the job done. Don’t leave them hanging; get your estate plan done now. We here at Dent Colson Elder Law would be thrilled to help you. Just give us a call.
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Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.