Categorized | Features, Legal Matters

Preserve Your Lifestyle With Sound Legal & Financial Planning

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Learn how to preserve your lifestyle while ensuring you can leave a legacy for loved ones.

By Linda T. Cammuso

According to the United States Census Bureau the U.S. population 65 and older is now the largest in terms of size and percent of the population, compared with any previous census.

Their lifestyles have changed dramatically since then. Gone are the days when people simply retire, suffer loss of ego and quietly fade into the shadows. Many still work — it is not unusual to hear of a person working well into his/her 80s, often not because they need to but because being productive is personally rewarding. Others are launching careers, volunteering with non-profits, returning to school and participating in active fitness programs.

Living a purposeful and healthy lifestyle seems to have become a mantra for our growing population of seniors.

In this column we respond to questions about how people can preserve their own lifestyles while ensuring they can leave a legacy for their loved ones. We also address how adult children can help their parents in making financial, legal and healthcare decisions.

I am in my 60s and am worried about protecting my financial future and my assets. What can I do?

If you have not already done so, contact an estate planning attorney who will analyze your specific financial and healthcare situation. Your attorney will work with you to identify and prioritize your goals and will tailor an estate plan that protects your assets while providing maximum flexibility to adapt to your needs as you age.

Strategies to preserve assets for your loved ones beyond your lifetime will also be included in the estate plan. Many attorneys will work in tandem with your financial advisor to ensure that your financial and legal advice is integrated.

Most law firms offer complimentary first-time consults.

My parents are on the go all the time. I’m happy for them, but worry that an unexpected illness could turn their lives upside down. What can I do to help prepare them for that?  

Getting parents (or other senior family members) to sit down and talk about their future is a difficult conversation. Family history and dynamics can come into play, which can make the “are you protecting your assets” question fraught with misinterpretation. That is where an attorney who specializes in estate planning can help by providing third party expertise and knowledge to those discussions. In this situation an attorney would also combine Elder Law and Medicaid issues into the family’s unique situation. Finally, he/she will provide an estate plan that will preserve their assets and bring them peace of mind to all concerned.

Medicaid paperwork is so confusing. What do I do?

True, the Medicaid process is complex. An estate planning attorney will assist you in navigating the ever-changing federal and state Medicaid laws while counseling you on techniques available to protect your assets. Choose an attorney who will also provide ongoing services to maintain and safeguard your eligibility.

Linda T. Cammuso is a founding partner of Estate Preservation Law Offices located in Worcester, Massachusetts. She is a skilled estate planning and elder law attorney and has authored many articles on elder care and long term estate planning issues. She has appeared on Money Matters Radio and has been a speaker for various community and professional organizations. 

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