Having only recently gained 20/20 vision after being born severely nearsighted, Joe Donohue, managing member of Donohue, O'Connell and Riley, understands the value of clarity. For him, it's a gift. The ability to see clearly is something he's been working toward his entire life, both personally and professionally.
The ability to foresee what lies ahead as a person grows old gives him or her peace of mind. When it comes to preparing for the late-in-life trials and tribulations, having a clear plan is truly a gift to everyone involved. Statistically, most people will not die from a tragic, unexpected death, but instead the slow, degenerative nature of aging. Many of their lives will end in an institution with someone taking care of them.
Will You Be Prepared?
The sad truth is that many people are not prepared. They do not take the time to think ahead earlier in life when it matters most. Far too many people have not established who, if anyone, will be supporting them throughout the aging process, leaving them isolated and vulnerable.
Donohue remembers a striking example of an elderly husband and wife who died within a short time of each other. They were a symbiotic couple. She was hard of hearing, and his vision was weak; when he would drive, she would tell him when to turn. They did everything together but had nobody around to support them as they got older – and they had no plan in place. One day, the husband tripped and fell on the wife as they ascended the stairs. They both suffered head trauma, ended up in a nursing home, and died within six months of each other. What was supposed to be a simple outing turned tragic because they lacked a support network. They had nobody around to help them with simple chores and had made no arrangements for themselves as they aged.
Many older people need a lot of assistance to stay independent. They need someone to help keep up with the various bills that will continue to come no matter their ability to manage them. Too often, a medical emergency happens at night, and the elderly patient has to leave the house unexpectedly. Without a plan in place, the house is left unoccupied, which can lead to all kinds of added woes down the road. It's upsetting enough to deal with the trauma of a hospital visit but to have to deal with the further stresses of a burst pipe or a break-in only adds insult to injury.
Our estate, tax and elder law practice ensures that our clients have the appropriate documents in place, so there's always someone advocating for them. Our "Support Circle" strategy makes sure there will always be someone else who's aware of the "big picture." With over 100 combined years in practice, we have seen almost every scenario; our value to you is the foresight we've acquired. We'll help you gather all the necessary information, allowing us to provide you with a clear and bright path forward.
Visit our website or call Donohue, O'Connell & Riley at 844-50-TRUST (844-508-7878).
January 23, 2020
Audrey wrote, “The funeral director is very helpful in making the arrangements and will advise what steps should be taken. If possible, it would be advisable to make a few decisions BEFORE setting up an appointment.”
These decisions range from the immediate matter of organizing a funeral ceremony and selecting the nature of the deceased’s burial or cremation to managing financial transfers from the deceased to his or her heirs.
One useful tip is to prioritize settling the affairs and transitioning the assets of the deceased. Be sure to cancel the deceased’s appointments and either cancel or re-direct pension checks and Social Security benefits to a surviving spouse as soon as possible. You should consider adding a co-signer for bank accounts to streamline this process for an elderly parent.
Compiling all necessary documents of the deceased is also an important step. For example, Audrey recommended ordering copies of the death certificate immediately to be issued to the deceased’s banks, life insurance companies, medical insurance companies, pension companies and the Social Security agency.
She also advised bringing the cemetery deed to the funeral home, as well as preparing checks for expected expenses, including the headstone, the excavation of the grave, funeral fees and fees for ceremony personnel such as an organist.
Making ceremonial decisions in advance, preferably with regard to the previously stated wishes of the deceased, can reduce stress and uncertainty after a loved one passes away. These decisions may include the number of receiving dates, who will serve as pall bearers, whether the casket will be open or closed and the type of flowers that will be present at the ceremony, or whether burial or cremation is desired.
Having a plan can make even the most tragic occasion more manageable and turn it into a celebration of life. By following Audrey’s sage advice, you can spend less time organizing logistics and more time honoring the life and legacy of your loved one.
May 13, 2019
Looking at the retirement landscape through a tax lens, where you retire can have a big impact on your spending power and quality of life. This view of State by State Tax Comparisons was created specifically to assist you in your estate plan process.
Consult with your attorney for the best strategy, including moving your assets to a NH trust no matter where you live.
March 12, 2019
If you already have an estate plan, then you're off to a great start. If you haven't begun this process yet, now is the time to take the necessary steps to do so. Once your estate plan has been drawn up, it is strongly recommended that you revise and review it every three to five years.
Whether you're here because you've made those initial steps and are staying ahead of the game, or you just don't know where to start, we have you covered. Here's the top ten reasons why you should update your estate plan:
1. New Child or Grandchild
Welcoming a new child to your family is always a joyous occasion. It is also a great time to ensure your estate will benefit and support the next generation.
2. New Marriage
Make sure that your estate will provide for your new spouse or protect assets from your child’s spouse. Even if you are not yet married, you can adjust your estate to benefit your partner.
Feel secure as you transition to the next stage of your life by reviewing your estate plan at retirement.
4. New Laws
Whether or not you plan on moving to a new state, reviewing state laws for regular updates is always wise. In addition, federal laws, including the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, continue to adjust for inflation and change over time, so it is important to make sure your estate maximizes the benefits that these changes provide.
5. Expand Your Beneficiaries
Beyond family and loved ones, many clients allocate their estates to benefit organizations and charities that serve their passions.
6. Child Has Reached the Age of 18
Celebrate this important milestone by making sure all your estate documents are up to date and properly recognize your new adult beneficiary. Additionally adult children need Power of Attorney, HIPAA Release and Health Care Proxy before heading off to college, so that their parents can still act on their behalf in the event of an emergency.
7. Divorce or a Death in the Family
It is important to adjust your estate so that assets allocated to former beneficiaries are redistributed to other loved ones.
8. Opening a New Business
Safeguard your livelihood by establishing a business succession plan in your estate.
9. Receiving an Inheritance
If you find yourself the beneficiary of a sudden windfall, be sure to account for your new assets in your estate.
10. The Passage of Time
It is always a best practice to review your estate every three to five years to take into account new life events and changes to the law.
February 21, 2019