The First Step in Elder Law Planning

long term care attorney

Elder law planning can get complex. There are weird terms like inter vivos and instestate. People get official sounding titles, like executor and testator. But before you get to the specifics of a plan, you must first do some brainstorming about what you are trying to accomplish.

I want to get to know you.

The first step in elder law planning is all about getting to know you, and gaining an understanding of your family’s dynamics. What is your story? What brought you to where you are in your life? Are you married? Do you have children? Are your children married? Is it a first or second marriage? Do you have grandchildren? What kind of work do you do? Where do you live? What is your educational background? Does everyone in your family get along?

I want to know as much about you as possible, because it goes a long way toward helping me recommend a general course of action for you and your family. It also helps us decide together who should make medical decisions and who should handle legal and financial affairs for you.

Further, by getting to know your family dynamics, we can explore and avoid any potential for hurt feelings, conflicts of interest, and misunderstandings in what you end up doing with your plan. We can develop a more thorough plan for management, control, and distribution of your estate that will be fair to you and to the family members you wish to protect.

What is your current status?

After I get the basics about your family, there are some further questions I want to know, as follows:

Are you a United States citizen?

This is relevant for tax purposes (for example, your citizenship, or lack thereof, may limit or eliminate your ability to save estate taxes).

Are you expecting to receive an inheritance or some other financial windfall (lottery winnings do apply here)?

This knowledge helps in preparing a plan that will address not only the assets that you have now but also what you may have in the future.

Do you have long-term care insurance?

If yes, we will review the policy and determine whether it provides an adequate benefit considering your other assets and income, whether it takes inflation into account, and whether it is modifiable. Further, we can decide whether other asset protection strategies may be needed now or later.

Do you need financial planning?

Many clients that come into my office have never had professional financial advice or are dissatisfied with their current advisors. For example, you may need help understanding the assets you have or with organizing and consolidating them for ease of administration. You may also be concerned with not having enough income to last for the rest of their lives. While these concerns can be addressed through the use of proper long term planning, specific financial insights from a financial advisor can absolutely help in achieving the goals of that plan. We can hook you up with a capable financial planners who is compatible with you and experienced with the needs and wishes of the senior client, including (1) secure investments with protection of principal, and (2) assets that tend to maximize income.

Now that I have some background information about you and your family, the next step starts with the question:

“What are you trying to accomplish with your elder law planning?”

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Elder law planning is not just for the elderly. In fact, it is much easier to plan for getting older when you are still young, rather than when you need your plan ASAP. If you would like to get started with your own planning, contact the North Bethesda elder law attorneys from Wayside Legal today.