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Planning Ahead

Almost everyone over the age of 55 has thought about the need for long term care insurance, and most of us have questions.  Are there underwriting requirements?  Is it a good investment?  How much does it cost?  Can my premiums go up? Does it pay all long term care expenses?  What happens to me if I can’t afford it?  In this article, we will explore all those issues as well as possible alternatives to long term care insurance.

You can only stay in charge of your future affairs if you plan ahead.

Tax laws allow you to build a retirement nest egg in special tax-deferred accounts. The law allows you to prepare written instructions regarding medical treatment in case you become incapacitated. It allows you to appoint someone to make decisions for you if it ever becomes necessary. And it allows you to decide who will inherit your property someday. But the right to have your wishes carried out later is worthless unless you act now - while you still can.

Applying for or Renewing a Passport


People are generally aware that a passport is required to travel outside the United States.  If you plan foreign travel and do not currently have a passport, this is the information you will need. 

A trust is a contract between yourself as the Trustmaker/Grantor/Settlor/Trustor and yourself (typically) as Trustee (the person that manages the trust). You can change or revoke the trust at any time that you have capacity.

Today, I want to address some myths about estate planning, probate, and end of life issues. Some have been mentioned before but here are my Great Eight (in reverse order):

It is not too late to save for retirement. Consider depositing your earnings (up to $5,000 in 2006) into a tax-deferred Individual Retirement Account (IRA) up to age 70-1/2. As part of a “catch-up” plan, you generally can set aside more if you are 50 or older. (IRC § 219(b)(1)(A) and 219(b)(5)(A)).

A health care power of attorney, also known as a health care proxy or an advance health care directive, is a legal document that specifies a person to oversee your medical care if you become incapacitated from an illness and are no longer able to communicate. This surrogate-decision maker (designated by you) is referred to as an agent, and is able to make decisions regarding your health.

Your mother always prided herself on her ability to take care of herself and her home. Now, you are seeing changes. Bills not being paid. Clutter in a formerly immaculate home. It may be time to have that difficult conversation. But where do you start, and what assistance does the law provide?

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