A few years ago I wrote a blog about drafting a health care proxy for your young freshmen. This is a topic I often talk about because it is so important, but most people never think of it. Well, I was thrilled when recently a young family member forwarded an e-mail from her college and asked for my help. This e-mail recommended that she have a health care proxy, power of attorney, and HIPAA authorization drafted before the start of school.
We’re not only voting for the next President and a Senator from Massachusetts in November, but on a battery of ballot questions. Ballot Question 2 is one of the more controversial. The so-called “Death with Dignity” or “Right to Die” legislation would allow an adult resident who is (1) capable of making and communicating health care decisions, (2) diagnosed with an incurable and irreversible disease that will cause death within six months, and (3) voluntarily, and in an informed manner, so decides to obtain a prescription for medication to end his or her life. You can read the proposed legislation here.
Oregon and Washington state already have similar legislation in place. In Oregon, most candidates are well educated cancer sufferers over the age of 65, who died at home and were enrolled in hospice care. This “typical candidate” is familiar to many of us working with elders. Maybe it is because so many of us know or have known someone like this that the “Right to Die” issue has strong voices on either side. [Read more…]
An 81-year-old woman in Rhode Island was evicted shortly before Christmas from the home she had lived in for more than 40 years – because she failed to pay a $474 sewer bill. A corporation then bought her house at a tax sale for $836.39…and later resold it for $85,000. While this is an extreme case, it’s a symptom of a growing trend. More and more seniors around the country are being forced to pay large, unnecessary fees – or even losing their homes – as a result of unpaid property taxes.
Because property taxes aren’t regular monthly expenses like utility or cable bills, they’re often among the first things that seniors overlook if they begin to have some difficulty managing their own affairs. And they’re frequently missed by children and caretakers as well. Also, many older people who have recently finished paying off a mortgage aren’t used to paying their property tax bills, because for decades they were paid directly by the lender. [Read more…]
Contrary to popular belief, your school Emergency Contact Form will not keep your children from spending time in the hands of social services if something bad happens to you. The emergency form only gives named contacts permission to pick your child up if they are sick, not to take short-term custody of your children if one or both parents die or are incapacitated due to illness or an accident.
For this reason, I recommend creating a back to school emergency plan as your kids head back this fall, so there is no confusion or legal headaches should you find yourself in this situation. This plan, with the help of your estate planning attorney, can be created in four easy steps: [Read more…]
These days it can be difficult to meet someone whose life has not been touched by Alzheimer’s. Most people have seen a parent, grandparent, or perhaps an in-law suffer from this disease, and the havoc it can wreak on the family.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 120,000 have Alzheimer’s in Massachusetts and that number will grow as baby boomers age. Nearly 50% of those aged 85 and older will develop Alzheimer’s, and of those aged 65, nearly 1 in 8 will develop the fatal disease.
Until very recently, there was even more for Massachusetts families to worry about. Before bill H 3947 was signed into law by Governor Patrick this week, nursing homes could advertise dementia or Alzheimer’s care without actually having any special accommodations for residents suffering from these conditions or any kind of special training for their staff. [Read more…]
Many improvements have been made improving the quality of life for the 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States. Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has risen from age 25 in 1983 to age 60 presently. Similar improvements have also been made across the board for those living with special needs. With quality educational programs, a stimulating and supportive home environment, good health care, and positive support from friends and the community, people with Down syndrome can develop their full potential and lead fulfilling lives. However, the longer life expectancy has families dealing with issues they may not have had to deal with in the past. Considering a Special Needs Trust is a great way to overcome this obstacle. [Read more…]
I’d love to be able to tell you that I make it home in time to fix a delicious and nutritious home-cooked meal every weeknight. But, as I’m sure you know, until someone comes along to invent the 28-hour day, it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. Fortunately, my husband is at least semi-skilled with a spatula and measuring cup.
Inspiration from the Food Network
Still, I do love the challenge of a new, never-been-tried recipe. Usually it’s something that friends or family have recommended or I’ve managed to catch a few minutes of on Food Network. Personally, I’m partial to Bobby Flay and Alton Brown, Rachael Ray‘s great when I don’t have a lot of time. Who’s your favorite? Let me know in the comments. [Read more…]
Whitney Houston’s tragic death provides an example of how a trust that takes effect upon death can work as part of an estate plan. But Houston’s estate plan has some surprising aspects as well; there were pieces of her plan that could have, and likely should have, been better.
The late singer’s will leaves everything to her 19-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina, but Kristina can’t access her mother’s estimated $20 million fortune right away because it is in a trust. [Read more…]
Parents in Worcester, Massachusetts rely on a lot of outside help when it comes to raising their children. From family members to school systems to friends who pass on advice and hand-me-downs, it really does take a village to raise a child. When it comes to estate planning, however, it is up to you to determine what is best for your minor children. [Read more…]