I thought I would inherit the house!
May 29, 2018
In most situations, it is assumed someone will inherit the house. As our parents age and are faced with the difficult decision of how long they are able to continue living in their home, there is always the question of what will happen to their house. It can be a shock to family members when they are made aware of the cost associated with mom and/or dad moving into a retirement community, an assisted living facility or a nursing home. At one of my speaking engagements in April, the cost of long-term care generated quite the discussion among the attendees. Prices vary depending on the type of care, but my audience was shocked to learn about the depletion of an entire estate in Boston due to three years of payments to a nursing home at the cost of $12,000 per month.
Luckily, the woman had a long-term care policy, but her nursing home costs still required the sale of her home and most of her possessions. It was unfortunate for this family when they realized no one would inherit the house. Having the conversation about Legacy Planning prior to needing to sale the family home or business is a loving and generous thing to do for your family and friends. It will help reduce the stress and confusion associated with a major life change.
Have you thought about where you’d want to live if you no longer could stay in your home? Would you want to live closer to your children? If the reason for the move is Alzheimer’s or dementia, do you have a power of attorney for finances and health care? Do you have a documented plan for your personal property, real estate or any other important possessions? Is your estate set up so your family will inherit the house?
May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month!
May 15, 2018
In honor of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the following is a story about a motorcycle, legal documents and household financials as communicated to me by a dear friend in Texas. In May 2016, her husband and his buddy were on a 5-day motorcycle trip in the Texas Hill Country. On the last day of their trip, as she was working in Houston, the buddy called and said her husband misjudged a curve and veered off the road. He watched in horror as her husband and his bike flipped several times, end over end. The paramedics on scene deemed his injuries life-threatening and summoned LifeFlight. She immediately left work, hurried home and prepared for her drive to San Antonio. Several hours later, she arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center, the region’s premier trauma center. Her husband spent 4 weeks there in ICU and another 5 weeks in two other hospitals before he returned home. Thankfully, today he has almost fully recovered.
She stated they both learned two very valuable lessons from this serious event.
Lesson #1 - Legal documents. They had medical directives and wills created in 2004, but at this very critical time couldn’t FIND them. Fortunately, they didn’t need the documents this time; however, they never found them. They contacted their attorney and new ones are now in process.
Lesson #2 – Household Financials. She is the primary bill payer of the family, so bills are paid on time without worry of late payment fees or services being canceled. If that had been her in ICU, intubated for 3 weeks, her husband would have been dealing with not only the trauma of her in the hospital, but also the additional stress of not knowing the bill paying procedures. They are now making it a priority to document all their financial payments and obligations so that either of them can step in when the unexpected happens.
Do you have a will? Are your medical wishes documented in a medical directive? Can you lay your hands on them? Could someone pay your bills so your mortgage isn’t foreclosed, your car repossessed, or your utilities turned off? Even though her husband was an experienced rider and well versed in motorcycle safety, life can change in the BLINK OF AN EYE. Be prepared!