What Are Elder Law and Special Needs Planning?Elder law and special needs planning involve preparing for expected and unexpected life circumstances, including the possibility of becoming incapacitated as well as protecting and providing for future needs of loved ones with disabilities.At its core, Elder Law focuses on the unique needs of older persons and practice areas that address issues of concern for aging adults, adults with disabilities/incapacity, their families and caregivers. Unlike traditional estate planning, Elder Law begins by assisting you with issues associated with a long and healthy life, rather than simply planning for death. It mixes legal and practical issues such as being able to continue residing in your home if you had a chronic condition, having someone help in managing your finances, and not becoming a victim of financial abuse in the process. Elder law endeavors to help you solve the problem of not knowing what you dont know.Special Needs Law focuses on solving legal problems for individuals with special needs and their caregivers. Although there is no uniform definition of special needs, the phrase describes individuals with a wide variety of physical or mental conditions who require assistance with personal care needs, activities of daily living, paying bills, managing finances, etc., who may be vulnerable to and need protection from exploitation or abuse, and who may need access to public benefits or any number of other types of assistance. If you currently provide care for a child or loved one with special needs (such as mental or physical disabilities), you must have contemplated what may happen to him or her when you are no longer able to serve as the caregiver. Frequently, parents and grandparents are concerned about how their children and grandchildren will be cared for after the parents or grandparents deaths and want to plan in advance to protect their special needs loved one. Elder Law and Special Needs Planning encompass many different fields of law, including, for example: Disability planning, durable powers of attorney, living trusts, advance directives, other tools to delegate management and decision-making to another in case of incompetency or incapacity Estate planning, including the management of finances and assets during life and disposition on death using trusts, wills, and other instruments Special/Supplemental Needs Trusts Conservatorships and guardianships Long-term care planning and placements Trust and probate/estate administration Elder abuse and financial exploitation Medicaid planning Retirement and Social Security planningWhen each day seems to present a new challenge, thinking about the future can be overwhelming. A plan can help break things down into achievable pieces. No matter what age or stage, it is getting started that counts.This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.This article was submitted by Ashley Day, Esq., A Day Law, LLC. Reach her at 251-277-3377.
If youre part of a blended family (meaning you are married with children from a prior marriage in the mix), youre no stranger to the extra considerations and planning it takes to keep your familys life running smoothly from which parent your children will be with for the holidays to figuring out the schedule for a much-needed family vacation. Youve also probably given some thought to what you want to happen to your assets and your family if something happens to you. But what you might not have realized is this: If you dont create a plan for your assets before you die, the law has its own plan for you that might not reflect your wishes for your assets, especially your retirement assets. And if youre in a blended family, this can have a significant financial impact on the ones you love and even create expensive, long-term conflict.This week, we explain how the law affects retirement distributions for married couples, and why you need to be extra careful with your retirement planning if youre in a blended family to ensure your retirement account assets go to the right people in the right amounts after youre gone.Be Aware of How ERISA Affects 401K DistributionsIf youve remarried, you and your new spouse have probably talked about updating the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts to reflect your blended family arrangement. (If you havent talked about it, you need to talk about it ASAP). Sometimes, people who are remarried decide to leave their retirement funds to their children from a prior marriage and leave other assets like their house and savings accounts to their current spouse. You may do this to avoid future conflict between your spouse and your children over your assets.But even if you want to leave your retirement for just your children, if youre married and your retirement account is a work-sponsored account, your children wont inherit the entire account even if you name them as the sole beneficiaries. Thats because the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) governs most employer-sponsored pensions and retirement accounts. Under ERISA, if youre married at the time of your death, your spouse is automatically entitled to receive 50 percent of the value of your employer-sponsored plan even if your beneficiary designations say otherwise.The only time that your surviving spouse would not inherit half of your ERISA-governed retirement account is if your spouse signs an official Spousal Waiver saying they are affirmatively waiving their right to inherit 50 percent of the account, or if the account beneficiary is a Trust of which your spouse is a primary beneficiary. IRAs Have Different Rules Than 401KsIf you want your children to inherit more than 50 percent of your work-sponsored retirement benefits, and completing a Spousal Waiver isnt an option, consider rolling the account into a personal IRA instead.In contrast to 401(k)s and similar employer-sponsored plans, IRAs are controlled by state law instead of ERISA. That means that your spouse is not automatically entitled to any part of your IRA. When you roll a 401(k) into an IRA, you gain the flexibility to name anyone you choose as the designated beneficiary, with or without your spouses consent. On the other hand, if you want to ensure your spouse receives half of your retirement savings, make sure to include them as a 50 percent beneficiary or better yet, have your individual retirement account payout to a Trust instead. With a Trust, you can:Document exactly how much of your retirement you want each of your loved ones to receiveControl when they receive the funds outrightEasily update and change the terms of your Trust without having to remember to update your financial accounts.Beneficiary Designations Always Trump Your WillWhether you have an employer-sponsored 401K or an IRA you manage yourself, there is one critical rule that everyone needs to know: beneficiary designations trump your Will.A Will is an important estate planning tool, but most people dont know that beneficiary designations override whatever your Will says about a particular asset. For example, if your Will states that you want your retirement account to be passed on to your brother, but the beneficiary designation on the account says you want it to go to your sister, your sister will inherit the account, even though your Will says otherwise.Similarly, lets imagine that you get divorced and as part of your divorce decree your ex-spouse agrees that they will not have any right to your retirement fund. However, after the divorce, you forget to take their name off of the beneficiary designation for the account. If you die before updating the beneficiary designation, your former spouse will inherit your retirement account. If you forget to update your ERISA-controlled account and have remarried, your current spouse would receive half of the account and your former spouse would receive the other half. Thats why its so important to work with an estate planning attorney who can make sure your accounts are set up with the proper beneficiary designations and ensure that your assets are passed on according to your wishes.Work With An Attorney Who Makes Sure All Your Assets Will Be Passed On How You Want Them ToUnderstanding how the law affects different types of assets is essential to creating an estate plan. But theres more to it than just having a lawyer you need an attorney who takes the time to really understand your family and your assets so they can design a custom plan that achieves your goals for your assets and your legacy. Thats why we help our clients create an inventory of all of their assets to ensure that every asset they hold is accounted for and passed on to their loved ones exactly as they want it to.Contact Entrusted Legacy Law at 412-347-1731.
Life is a journey filled with transitions, and one of the most significant transitions many individuals face as they age is transitioning from independent living to assisted living. This transition can be a challenging decision, but it often becomes necessary when daily tasks and self-care become more difficult to manage alone. In this blog, we will explore the steps and considerations for patients and their families when making the move from independent care to assisted living, with a special focus on the Grace Pointe Continuum of Care difference.Assessing the Need for Assisted LivingThe first step in transitioning to assisted living is recognizing the signs that indicate a need for additional support. These signs may include:Difficulty with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and meal preparationMemory problems or cognitive decline that impact safety and well-beingFrequent falls or injuries due to mobility issuesSocial isolation and lonelinessMedication management challengesThe need for regular medical supervision and assistance Open CommunicationOnce the need for assisted living becomes apparent and the process of transitioning from independent living to assisted living begins, it is essential to have open and honest discussions with the individual who will be making the transition. This may involve a family meeting or conversations with healthcare professionals. It is crucial to listen to the concerns and preferences of the person who will be moving, as their input should be valued throughout the decision-making process. Navigating the Continuum of Care with Grace Pointe: Your Assurance of a Smooth TransitionAs weve discussed earlier, the decision to move from independent care to assisted living, marking the transition from independent living to assisted living, is a significant one, and its natural to have concerns about the future. Many individuals and families worry about whether theyll receive the care they need as their health requirements change.At Grace Pointe of Greeley, we understand these concerns and are committed to ensuring a seamless transition through our Continuum of Care. Lets explore how Grace Pointes approach is different and how we provide residents with the assurance they deserve.The Continuum of Care Approach: A Personalized PathwayOne of the key features that sets Grace Pointe apart is our Continuum of Care approach. This approach is designed to help residents and their families identify their current care needs and anticipate future requirements. Ongoing assessments are done by our care team to help create a personalized care plan that evolves with the individuals changing needs. This means that residents at Grace Pointe who are looking into transitioning from independent living to assisted living are not locked into a specific level of care, and theres no need to worry about a dishonest bait and switch scenario.Heres how the Continuum of Care approach works:Initial Assessment: When a resident joins Grace Pointe, we conduct a thorough assessment of their health, preferences, and care needs. This forms the foundation of their care plan.Regular Reassessment: We understand that health can change over time. Thats why we commit to regular reassessments of our residents. If their care needs increase or decrease, we adjust their care plan accordingly.Transparent Communication: We foster open and transparent communication with our residents and their families. If a change in care level is required, we discuss it thoroughly and collaboratively.To provide you with a deeper understanding of the exceptional care and support offered at Grace Pointe of Greeley, we invite you to read testimonials from residents and their families who have experienced our continuum of care firsthand. These heartfelt accounts will shed light on the compassionate and personalized care that sets Grace Pointe apart in the journey and benefits from independent living to assisted living.The benefits of independent living at Grace Pointe of Greeley are clear; here, residents can enjoy a worry-free life without the burden of household maintenance while maintaining a healthy level of independence. Yet, when it comes to transitioning to higher levels of care, such as assisted living or nursing care, the process can be emotionally challenging for both loved ones and their families. This shift can be accompanied by mixed feelings, as it often involves adapting to new routines, healthcare requirements, and a shift in the level of autonomy. Grace Pointes Continuum of Care approach supports each transition without the need for residents to physically relocate. Instead, they add necessary services while remaining in their current living units, tailored to each individual and their family for the ultimate peace of mind.Your Peace of Mind at Grace Pointe of GreeleyAt Grace Pointe of Greeley, we are deeply committed to our residents well-being. The transition from independent living to assisted living should not be a source of anxiety. At Grace Pointe of Greeley, we go above and beyond to ensure that residents have peace of mind about their care journey. Experience the Grace Pointe difference through our Continuum of Care approach, where we tailor each transition, ensuring that your family member moves seamlessly from one living arrangement to another with care, compassion, and a deep sense of belonging.We understand that everyones care needs are unique, and we are dedicated to providing the right level of care at the right time, tailored to you and your familys needs. With Grace Pointe, you can be confident that you or your loved one will receive the care and support needed to thrive at every stage of life.