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Going Through a “Gray Divorce” Requires Keeping an Eye on Retirement

We know that going through a divorce can be a traumatic experience for anyone at any age. Younger and middle-aged couples often face the unfortunate challenge of splitting up with children involved. Older couples face their own harrowing challenges, particularly if they have been married for a long time and are beyond their prime working years.

Many older adults no longer possess the desire to climb the corporate ladder or compete in the job market, if they are able to work at all. Further, with their shared nest eggs and investments that can be greatly reduced through a separation, it is recommended that older couples keep an eye on their retirement accounts when going through a “Gray” Divorce.

As always, meeting with an experienced attorney should be one of your first steps if you are considering a divorce. When it comes to separating later in life a consultation with an estate planning and elder law attorney is critical so you may discuss the impact on your long-term care options. Let us share a few tips to help you through this process.

1. Seek wise counsel. Obtaining a qualified attorney is a must, but a financial advisor or attorney with estate planning experience can be an added advantage. They can help organize long-term retirement goals, set up estate documents, and provide information and guidance for negotiating a favorable divorce settlement.

2. Obtain documents. Whether you or your spouse was in charge of your legal, financial, insurance and tax documents, it can be critically important to obtain copies for your divorce negotiations and retirement planning. Think of these items as the bedrock for your financial future.

3. Be financially prudent. It is true that there is more to life than money, as evidenced by the love and compassion that once led to your marriage. Money, however, is an inescapable part of life, and the older one gets the more important financial stability becomes.

4. Make sound financial decisions. This is important throughout the course of a “Gray” Divorce proceeding, as well as, with post-divorce decisions about the lifestyle one can realistically afford. A healthy goal would be the funding a comfortable, long-term retirement and building up from there. It may be easier said than done, but it is not impossible.

Knowing that you are financially supported in your latter, non-working years can bring peace of mind during a difficult time. It may also allow you to live out your golden years with a greater sense of enjoyment amid your new family circumstances. Do not wait to contact us with your questions

10 Warning Signs of Memory Loss and Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a type of dementia currently affecting more than 5 million Americans, mostly seniors. While there is no cure, early detection offers the best path for coping with the disease. We know how difficult this can be for you as a Florida senior who receives such a diagnosis or when it is your loved one who you care about.

We know planning early and well is critical on this issue. Let us share ten early warning signs that may mean that you or a loved one could be at risk.

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Memory loss is probably the most well-known aspect of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. This type of memory loss is more than just the forgetfulness of old age. If the loss of memory interrupts the basics of everyday living then it is a good idea to consider seeking a medical evaluation.

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. New difficulties in routine tasks, like paying bills or following cooking recipes, may be signs that something diagnosable is developing.

3. Difficulty completing tasks whether at home or work. Activities that were once second-nature may require help or become insurmountable could be the sign of a more serious problem. This is especially true if they persist over time.

4. Confusion with time or place. Aging adults may forget certain dates, but they usually remember when reminded. If they get confused with where they are and how they got there, however, that may be an early sign of dementia.

5. Trouble understanding visual images or spatial relationships. Vision problems beyond cataracts and other common maladies can be important signs to be aware of.

6. New problems with speaking or writing. Be mindful of an elder loved one calling familiar people and things by the wrong name, or significantly struggling to find the right name.

7. Misplacing things and an inability to retrace steps. Early onset dementia might lead someone to place things in unusual places without being able to find them. Watch not only for the initially misplacement but also the continued inability to retrace your steps.

8. Decreased or poor judgement. The normal aging process sometimes involves bad decisions, but losing track of basic grooming and safe behaviors could be a sign of dementia.

9. Withdraw from work or social activities. Isolation from family and friends is a sign that something is not right, especially if combined with other warning signs. Do not wait to seek help or talk to your loved one if this continues.

10. Changes in mood or personality. People with early Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia can change significantly, often becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, and fearful.

While these are just a few of the warning signs to watch out for, remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Whether it is planning for a potential need for long-term care with us or visiting with your family doctor to discuss your concerns, get the answers you need sooner rather than later. Do not wait to contact us with your questions.

VA Pension Requirements and how you can get yours

You’ve served your country, protected our freedom, and now it’s time for you to obtain your VA pension. The veteran’s pension is a tax-free monetary benefit payable to low-income, war-time veterans. But it is not always easy to collect. “Generally, a veteran must have at least 90 days “of active duty service, with at least one day during a “wartime period to qualify for a VA pension. “There are stringent asset and income tests “that restrict eligibility “to a limited group of qualified individuals.” Says Anne Desormier-Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA. In addition to meeting minimum service requirements, the veteran must be age 65 or older, or totally and permanently disabled, or a patient at a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, or receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, or receiving Supplemental Security Income. A successful VA pension claim depends on the inclusion of the right VA forms, as well as their correct completion. The guidance of an experienced Elder Law Attorney can be invaluable while you’re navigating long-term care benefits from the VA. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service, but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.

Why all married couples need postnuptial agreements

The number of couples signing postnups is on the rise, according to a survey of matrimonial lawyers. “Postnuptial agreements are drawn up after a marriage. “Each party must be represented by their own attorney “and a full disclosure of financial assets is required,” says Anne Desormier-Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA. Postnups aren’t just for couples thinking about divorce. The estate planning technique can be used when it’s determined a child or other family member will need financial assistance throughout their life, when there’s a change in business relationships, or value of the family’s portfolios. A qualified financial advisor and estate planner will be able to guide you through the process of what will work best for you and your goals. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service, but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.

Changes to taxes you need to know

Changing tax laws mean individuals and families need to keep a close eye on their estate planning techniques. “Tax planning that made sense when the federal exemption “sat at $675,000 per person a decade and a half ago, “doesn’t necessarily make sense today,” says Anne Desormier-Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA. Today’s federal basic exemption from gift and estate tax has increased to almost $5.5 million, and it’s scheduled to go up another $110 thousand in 2018. That means the rate for couples will be $11.2 million in 2018. Some types of trusts might no longer be beneficial from a tax-planning standpoint. A qualified financial advisor and estate planner will be able to guide you through the process of what will work best for you and your goals. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service, but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.

Important Medication Management Tips for Florida Seniors and Their Kids

Many things in life are uncertain, but aging is an inevitability. As we get older, taking multiple medications for different health conditions is not uncommon. Unfortunately, however, without proper care and management, seniors may take a higher dosage than required, miss doses altogether, or even take the wrong medication. This is why it is so important for seniors and their children to implement a simple system to help avoid these common mistakes. To help get you started, we want to share with you a few ways to help the senior loved one in your life safely manage his or her medications.

  1. Make a list.

It is important to keep a record of the names, dosages, and frequency of all medications your loved one’s doctor prescribes. Do not forget to include any over-the-counter medication your loved one may be taking! By keeping this detailed list, your loved one and any caregivers or new doctors can easily see the types of medications your loved one is currently taking. This can help ensure your loved one is taking their medication safely and is not prescribed any medications that may have a negative effect.

  1. Do your research.

Just because your loved one’s doctor prescribes them a new medication, does not mean you cannot ask questions and do some research of your own. Feel free to ask the doctor why they are prescribing a particular medication, why it is to be taken during the day or at night, and whether it should be taken with food. The more you know about your loved one’s medication intake, the easier it will be to create a routine and keep track of each medication your loved one is taking.

  1. Separate the medications.

If your loved one’s doctor requires him or her to take multiple medications each day, it can be confusing to keep track of their medication intake. Utilizing a pill box, for example, can be an effective way to safely separate your loved one’s medication. Pill boxes are typically labeled with the days of the week and are available in different colors so you can separate the medications based on whether they need to be taken during the day or at night.

  1. Use an alarmed medication reminder.

If your loved one needs a stronger reminder to take his or her medication than a sticky note or pill box, consider purchasing a medical alert device. These devices are specifically tailored to remind your loved one to attend doctor’s appointments, take medication, or check-in with loved ones. These reminders are easy to set and can be adjusted at any time based on your loved one’s daily routine.

We know that caring for a senior loved one can be challenging at times. If this article raised more questions than answers for you or if you are in need of further suggestions for ways to manage your loved one’s medication intake, do not wait to contact us with your questions.

How to Discuss Estate Planning With Your Loved Ones During the Holidays

We each have different things that we enjoy most about the holiday season. Most of us can agree, however, that the holidays are a great chance to catch up with family members and spend quality time with our loved ones. While you are checking in with your loved ones during the holidays this year, have you given some thought to sharing your estate plan and planning goals with the people who mean the most to you? It may seem like an unconventional time to discuss plans for when you are no longer here, but in reality it is important that your loved ones understand your decisions and the legacy you wish to leave for them.

Before discussing your plans with your loved ones, we encourage you to take some time to think about your planning goals and how your estate plan is set up to accomplish them. Refreshing your memory to remember the reasons for making each decision will likely make it easier for you to express your thought process behind those decisions to your loved ones. Clear communication is key to helping alleviate any uncertainty or family conflict that may arise after your passing in an already difficult time. It is also important to consider how you would like the conversation to proceed. Would you prefer to bring documents with you, for example, to illustrate your plans or would a brief conversation initially suffice?

During the conversation, allow your loved ones to voice their opinions, share their concerns, and ask questions. Listen to your loved ones’ worries and validate their feelings, but remember that your estate plan is your creation and you should stand by the planning decisions you have made. The key to having an effective discussion about your estate plan is transparency. Above all, do not let this be the last conversation you have about your planning decisions. We encourage you to update your loved ones about any changes made to your planning documents, so they feel involved and informed about the planning process.

Do not wait until it is too late to have this conversation with your loved ones. We know this can be a difficult discussion to have, but think about the family values you wish to pass on and the reason why you created an estate plan in the first place. Remember, we are here to be a resource for you. If you need further advice or have questions about anything discussed here, do not wait to contact us.

Disability estate plan – What you don’t know may hurt you

It can happen when you least expect it. A car crash, a sudden illness or a chronic medical condition means you’re financial plans for the future veer off course. In fact, the centers for disease control and prevention say about one in five American adults reported disability in a given year. And it means hundreds of billions of dollars in disability associated health care costs. Frustratingly, you can’t turn back the clock says attorney Anne Desormier-Cartwright. However you can take meaningful actions to protect your legacy and estate in the wake of your new-found limitation. Desormier-Cartwright recommends working with a qualified estate planning attorney. She says the attorney will make sure you have an authorized person to make your financial and health care decisions. And that you have a people to manage your property, pay your bills, and file taxes. Finally, know the term disability for legal purposes is different from than disability as it applies to financial planning purposes. The professionals at Elder & Estate Planning Attorneys are there for you to answer any questions you may have.

Out of state files – What you must know if you move

The population in Florida continues to grow with over 430,000 people moving to the sunshine state last year, pushing the total number of full-time residents to a new high of over 21,000,000. And another 5,000,000 more people are expected to move here by 2030. While more new businesses and growing universities have brought more young people here, the 80 and over population still saw the biggest jump. Many of those older people have already filed estate planning documents in their prior place of residence, so the question they face is, are those documents still valid? Attorney Anne Desormier-Cartwright, who has spent three decades focused on elder law and estate planning, says, “If they are validly executed in that other state “then they are enforceable here. “However, things may have changed. “For example, maybe you had minor children “when you prepared your previous documents “and now you have adult children, “or maybe you have grandchildren “that you want to provide for.” There are also certain laws, like Medicaid, whose provisions vary from state to state. It is recommended that new residents who filed documents in another state have those files reviewed by a local attorney to determine if they are valid in Florida. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys are there for you to answer any questions that you may have.