For more information about the author, click to view their website: Sechler Law Firm, LLC
It's not only about the money.
The problem with simple wills is that they generally deal with who gets the stuff. General wills for married families typically distribute all the assets to the spouse, then to the kids in equal shares.
Consider this question: "Is money the only thing you give to your kids?" Don't we also give our kids other valuable things: respect, work ethic, religion, and morals? Of course, we do. Unfortunately, this is where simple wills fail. There is no written plan for how our kids should be raised. It is a better practice to think through what's really important in your family. A good estate plan will write out those wishes. Then, the legal documents can ensure those wishes are carried out.
They Only Deal with Death: Wills often name decision-makers and dictate where the assets go in the event of an untimely death. They may also name guardians for small children. BUT wills only matter after you pass away. They don't matter if you're still alive. So, what would happen if you became severely disabled in an accident but didn't pass away? Aren't those same instructions regarding your assets and family important if you are in a coma for a decade?
Simple Wills Don't Protect Assets: If you leave all your assets to a family member, those assets just became subject to that family member's predators and creditors.
Estate Planning is a time to be practical. Let's assume I (like you) leave all the life insurance money to my spouse. Let's assume that 5 years later (I would hope not 5 months later) she decides to remarry. What if she chooses the wrong person and he later files for divorce? What happens to all the money? The same analysis would apply to your children if they marry the wrong person. The same analysis applies to other risks like your heirs being sued for a future car accident, etc.
A great estate plan would consider these future risks. After all, you're not paying the life insurance premiums so that your family's future spouses become wealthy, are you?
Editors Note: This article was written by Tim Sechler, Esq., a Certified Elder Law Attorney and Principal of Sechler Law Firm, LLC.
Did you know there are financial assistance programs available to veterans who need assisted living care? Our veterans made numerous sacrifices to uphold the freedom we enjoy today while their families kept the home fires burning. They are entitled to many benefits in appreciation for all they endured for America.Veterans benefits for senior living are available for qualifying veterans and their surviving spouses, as long as the veteran served at least 90 days of active duty, including at least one day during a wartime period, and received an honorable or general discharge.Veterans Aid and Attendance for assisted living careOffered through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Aid and Attendance is a monthly pension benefit that can help cover the costs of assisted living care. It is available for wartime veterans and their spouses who have limited income and require the regular attendance of a caregiver.Aid and Attendance is designed for individuals who need assistance from another person to complete everyday activities such as bathing, dressing and assistance with other daily activities. A veterans need for this benefit does not need to be the result of their military service.Funds received from Aid and Attendance benefits can offer a monthly benefit to help pay for assisted living and long-term care for a qualifying veteran and their spouse. The actual monthly benefit is determined by the veterans assets, income and medical expenses and conditions.Contact your local county Veterans Services office with questions on how to apply by visiting www.benefits.va.gov/vso.MedicareMedicare will pay for short-term care at nursing and rehabilitation facilities for seniors who need these services after an illness or injury that requires hospitalization. Medicare does not cover the cost for assisted living, home care or other senior living services.Long-Term Care BenefitsThe Veterans Administration provides both short- and long-term care in skilled nursing settings for veterans who cannot care for themselves. This benefit does not cover assisted living or home care.Housebound BenefitsVeterans confined to their homes and requiring assisted living care may be best suited to receive Housebound benefits. This program provides an increased monthly pension amount for those confined to their home due to a permanent disability.Applying for BenefitsThe Veterans Administration has regional offices that provide Veteran Service Organization representatives who may be able to answer simple questions about assisted living benefits, as well as provide free, basic advice on the application process.Many veterans seeking advice on applying for assisted living benefits hire a qualified attorney accredited by the VA or an accredited claims agent, who has passed a written exam about VA laws and procedures.The application process for assisted living benefits is often very lengthy. It is important to be thorough when completing the application and have all required documentation gathered and ready to submit.There are additional financial options to pay for assisted living care for individuals who do not qualify for veterans benefit. Click to find out more about financial options for senior living.Country Meadows offers affordable assisted living or personal care on its nine campuses in Pennsylvania and one in Frederick, Maryland. Our friendly co-workers are always available to help! Contact us today for more information.
Assisted Living Tours: Find the Right Fit for Your Loved OneBy: Country Meadows | Assisted LivingWe spend our entire lives raising families, managing households, working, balancing checkbooks and making countless decisions. As we age, these everyday duties can become more and more challenging. Making a well-informed and thoughtful choice about assisted living for yourself or a loved one is a significant decision that can impact overall well-being. Too often people wait until a crisis occurs, necessitating a quick decision when selecting senior living. Preparing for assisted living by researching options and taking assisted living tours allows individuals to thoughtfully select senior living accommodations.There are many reasons why visiting and taking assisted living tours in advance are important.Facility atmospherePaying visits and taking in-person assisted living tours allow you to see for yourself the overall atmosphere and ambience of the community. This includes noting cleanliness and the layout as well as the general feeling of the environment. This firsthand experience can provide insights into whether a community is a good fit for personal preferences and comfort.Staff interactionDuring assisted living tours, meeting staff members and interacting with current residents can provide valuable insights. Note the level of professionalism, friendliness and responsiveness of the staff while gauging the overall satisfaction and happiness of residents. Pay attention to staff achievements and organizational awards such as certifications in programs that recognize great places to work.Establishing relationships with co-workers and management during a visit provides customers with insights as to the teams willingness to communicate and work with residents and their families, fostering a sense of trust and confidence in the care to be provided.Services and amenitiesAssisted living communities offer various services and amenities. By visiting and taking assisted living tours, you can personally evaluate the quality and context of services offered, such as dining options, activities, care, transportation and other options. This helps ensure the facility meets specific needs and expectations.Care philosophyEvery assisted living community may have a unique approach to delivering care. By visiting and taking assisted living tours, you can ask thoughtful questions and gain a better understanding of the facilitys care philosophy to determine if it aligns with expectations.Safety and accessibilityTaking assisted living tours helps seniors assess safety and accessibility features in a community. This may include building layout, emergency response system options and general safety measures and policies. Understanding these aspects is vital for ensuring a secure living environment.Stress and anxietyKnowing and being familiar with potential living arrangements in advance reduces the stress and anxiety associated with making urgent decisions. Taking assisted living tours provides familiarity with the location and offers a sense of security during what can be a challenging time.Good fitUltimately, assisted living tours help prospective residents ensure the community is a good fit for individual wants and needs. Factors such as cultural compatibility, community engagement and overall feel of the environment is subjective and only can be assessed through direct experience.Time for questionsDuring assisted living tours, visitors have the chance to ask questions and seek clarification about various aspects of what everyday life will be like in the community. This helps individuals obtain detailed information about policies, costs and other factors that help customers make informed decisions.Plan for the futureVisiting and taking assisted living tours before a crisis allows individuals opportunities for better long-term planning. It provides the time to explore different options, compare facilities and make decisions based on careful consideration rather than under the pressure of urgent circumstances.Country Meadows
Pet Friendly Senior Living Benefits All Animal LoversBy: Country Meadows | Senior LivingThe bond between humans and animals is complex and deeply rooted. Studies have shown time and time again that animal companions can offer numerous benefits for people of all ages and can be a valuable tool in healthy aging. In pet friendly senior living, furry friends enhance the overall quality of life for residents.Some retirement communities like Country Meadows offer pet friendly senior living. For residents who dont have a pet of their own, each campus has house pets for everyone to love, spoil and enjoy. And Dynamic Living teams plan visits to and from animal rescue groups, volunteer opportunities to make pet toys and treats and special events such as dog weddings and furry sweethearts.Pets provide many benefits, including:CompanionshipPets provide companionship and emotional support, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation that some seniors may experience. A pet friendly senior living community provides many opportunities to interact with animals, whether individual pets or therapy animals.Stress reductionInteracting with pets has been shown to lower stress levels and promote relaxation, which can be especially valuable for seniors dealing with the challenges of aging. Staff at a pet friendly senior living community can help older adults provide care for beloved furry friends when needed.Physical activityHaving a pet encourages regular physical activity, such as walking dogs or playing with cats, which can help seniors stay active and maintain a healthier lifestyle.Social interactionPets can serve as conversation starters, fostering connections between residents and encouraging social interactions within the community. At pet friendly senior living, meeting neighbors animals is a great way to break the ice, start conversations and make new friends.Routine and structureTaking care of a pet can establish a daily routine and provides a sense of purpose, providing responsibility and stability.Improved mental healthSeveral studies have shown that pets boost mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, contributing to overall mental well-being. Pet friendly senior living provides many opportunities for residents to interact with animals, whether the pet lives on campus, is visiting or is part of an educational presentation.Cognitive stimulationInteracting with pets can stimulate cognitive functions, such as memory and problem-solving skills, which are essential for maintaining mental sharpness in our later years. Activities involving animals are effective in helping residents living with dementia in pet friendly senior living.Even if a resident chooses not to own their own furry friend, various animal-related activities are planned to provide opportunities for seniors to interact with pets. Some of these activities include:Pet therapyAnimals certified in therapy, such as dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and even reptiles, visit pet friendly senior living communities to interact with residents. Therapy animals are known for their gentle temperament and are specifically trained to provide comfort and companionship. Residents can pet, cuddle or simply spend time with animals.Educational presentationsSome pet friendly senior living facilities invite animal experts to bring a variety of animals such as exotic birds, reptiles, small mammals and others, for residents to interact with and learn about.Volunteer opportunitiesMany residents at pet friendly senior living communities enjoy supporting local animal rescues. At Country Meadows, residents make dog biscuits for local shelters as well as toys and treats. And residents look forward to visiting shelters in their respective areas to donate items in person and meet shelter residents.BirdwatchingRegardless of whether or not one lives at a pet friendly senior living community, birdwatching is a fun opportunity to observe and enjoy local birds. At Country Meadows, residents often enjoy birding walks during which experts point out different birds, talk about their unique traits and educate residents about local habitats.Special activitiesPet friendly senior living communities like Country Meadows are able to offer unique interactions with various types of animals. At Country Meadows of Wyomissing, residents enjoyed a therapeutic puppy yoga session, which was more about cuddling than yoga. At the Forks in Easton location, residents spent their Valentines Day receiving pooch smooches from local shelter dogs, while at Country Meadows of Wyomissing, residents were invited to attend a doggie wedding.AquariumsHaving an aquarium in common areas or resident apartments can be therapeutic. Watching colorful fish swim can be relaxing and help reduce anxiety and stress. Aquariums often can be found regardless of whether or not a community offers pet friendly senior living.Pet friendly living at Country MeadowsWith research demonstrating that seniors benefit from regular animals, Country Meadows offers pet friendly senior living at each of its nine locations in Pennsylvania and one in Frederick, Maryland. Please contact us today to request information or to schedule a visit to meet our residents-human, canine, feline and avian! We look forward to meeting you.
At Sechler Law Firm, LLC, our mission is to help families make great plans. A great estate plan is more than just a set of documents. It is a comprehensive and well thought out written strategy on how to deal with lifes unfortunate twists and turns. Our process first provides you with the education necessary to make informed decisions with regard to your planning. Then we put the proper documents and legal framework in place to respond to lifes unfortunate changes.Our Estate Planning law office is headquartered in Cranberry, PA. From this office, we happily serve the residents of Cranberry, Mars, Wexford, Pittsburgh, Butler and the residents of surrounding communities. As one of the regions only Certified Elder Law Attorneys, Tim Sechler and his team often assist families from across Western Pennsylvania.We understand that the pursuit of health, wealth and happiness is the goal of most families. We want you to be able to pursue these goals, or whatever goals you may have, knowing that you have a back up plan if life throws you a curveball like a death, disability or nursing home need. With education as our foundation, we will work with you to make decisions to Shield What Matters Most to you.Practice AreasEstate PlanningCustomized planning doesnt have to be difficult for you. We strive to make the process easy. The first step is to identify your concerns so that we can make suggestions regarding your plan.Elder Law Crisis PlanningA significant percentage of our practice is dedicated to helping families navigate the long term care maze. We help with Asset Protection and eligibility for Medicaid and Veterans Benefits.Trust And Estate AdministrationIf you have lost a loved one, we can help you take the necessary steps to help handle their affairs.Tims estate planning practice is focused on guiding clients through the complicated maze of balancing transfer strategies, wealth preservation, and family values in the planning process.Tim is a Combat Veteran, having served in Afghanistan as a member of the West Virginia Air National Guard. Prior to leaving the military, Tim had attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. His experiences in the military have led him to thoroughly enjoy working with Veterans and their families.Tim received his law degree from Duquesne University School of Law, and his Master of Business Administration from the Duquesne University Donahue Graduate School of Business. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from West Virginia University, majoring in Finance. Tim is licensed to practice Law in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.Recently, Tim has been seen frequently as a guest on KDKAs Pittsburgh Today Live, and has been quoted in several local print publications. For the last several years, he has been honored to be chosen as a Super Lawyers Rising Star, an award given to less than 2.5% of Tims peers. Tim enjoys educating the public about Elder Law and Estate Planning. He has spoken to thousands of people regarding estate planning and has averaged more than 50 speaking events per year.Tim became a Certified Elder Law Attorney* in 2017. A CELA is more than just an attorney who specializes in the field of elder law. CELAs are committed, through certification, to maintaining and improving their proficiency with continual practice and continuing legal education. Becoming certified in elder law validates a lawyers specialty to handle issues that affect senior citizens.Tim and his wife, Robyn, are raising three beautiful children in their home in Mars, PA.*Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation.