Monday, October 31, 2011

Elder Law... Key Questions

As noted in our previous post, when working with elders for estate planning purposes there are some areas where more detail is needed. To identify each eledrly client's key objectives, it is important to engage in a dialogue with the clients about their families, their work, their interests and hobbies.  Out of this discussion will emerge the client's major concerns and the goals for the estate planning process. 

Some areas that are typically top concerns for elderls may include:

·        Nursing home costs – do they have enough funds to pay for their care should they need it...
·        Planning for what would happen if they become incapacitated (who would help them, what are their wishes, etc.)
·        Where they want to live – do they want to stay in their home for as long as possible, or do they prefer to plan for an assisted living facility
·        How a healthy spouse would be protected financially if the other spouse needed to enter a nursing home facility
·        How to protect some assets for their children, no matter what their financial circumstances

Monday, October 10, 2011

Working With Elders...

In working with elderls for estate planing purposes, there are some areas where more detail is needed. For example, status and type of any long term care insurance, current and anticipated expenses, and exact sources of income.

But overall, the difference will be one of emphasis. 

In order to determine a client's goals, the first question that needs to be answered is, "What do the clients hope to achieve through estate planning?"

Monday, October 3, 2011

Estate Planning for All Ages

People sometimes ask about how the process of determining the estate planning goals of elderly clients might differ from the process for younger clients. The truth is that the process is the same, although the goals may be quite different. The most important part of any first meeting with an estate planning client, regardless of age, is the "fact find."

Most estate planning lawyers begin an appointment with any new estate planning client by doing a fact find, either orally or by using a questionnaire. Many questions remain the same, regardless of the age of the client; for example:
  • Family and occupational information, including children's names, ages and locations
  • Financial and business information, such as ownership of a business, names of accountants and financial advisors, if any, amounts and providers of life or long term care insurance
  • Complete asset profile (bank accounts, real estate, securities, personal property, retirement accounts, annuities, etc), and income information
  • Current estate planning documents
  • Whether gifts have been made
  • Charitable intentions</blockquote>
  • Thoughts about who clients would like to have act for them
  • Clients' own expression of their goals