If you have a will, you understand the importance of ensuring your final wishes are known ahead of time. But what if you don't update your will? It might not reflect your current life situation. It's best to review your will every three to five years or whenever you experience a major life change. Generally speaking, a new will supersedes an older one; probate laws, however, vary by state. To help prevent confusion and potential disputes, consider how to handle updates to your will.
AARP Maine reports that over 135,000 people age 50 and older live alone in the state and are at higher risk of social isolation. Often, these solo agers, “kinless,” or “elderly orphans” are widowed, divorced, never married, or have no children. Black people, women, people with low incomes, and the LGBTQ community are among those most affected. A recent AARP survey showed that people between the ages of 66 and 75 most frequently said they are more lonely now than they were before the pandemic. Contributing factors include experiencing a major illness or the death of loved ones.
Estate planning doesn't have to be complex or confusing. You can save time, stay organized, and simplify the process. If you're not sure where to start, this resource will walk you through what to think about before you gather documents or talk to an attorney. Ideally, you'll consider everything from preparing for incapacity to potential long-term care needs. Not just for seniors, it’s for any adult at any stage of life.
Caretakers of ill or disabled loved ones might not be paid for their time and effort. If a family caregiver has other commitments, such as to a job or their own family, they can experience stress and other challenges. In some cases, they might also be paying for a parent or another loved one's care. If the care recipient can make their own decisions, it's possible for a family caregiver to get paid for their efforts.
You might have planned for a career, a family, or retirement, but have you considered planning for a time when you can’t care for yourself? You might not like to think about that. You could stay healthy well into your golden years. Planning for long-term care, however, can minimize the costs should the need for it ever arise.
Many of us appreciate the companionship, support, and unconditional love animals provide. If you own a pet, you can become so close to them that they become part of the family. In case something happens to you, it is extremely important to have documents in place to ensure they receive care in your absence.
According to a Caring.com survey, 56 percent of American adults know it's important to have a will, but only one in three has an estate planning document.
Talking about death is often considered taboo in our culture, yet death is a natural part of the cycle of life that we all face. The thought of deciding on your final arrangements may seem morbid and make you sad. But if you make your wishes known now, you can feel relieved that you’ll spare grieving loved ones from making difficult last-minute decisions later.
The National Council on Aging defines financial exploitation of the elderly as “the misuse or withholding of an older adult's resources by another.” A form of elder abuse, the elderly are often ripped off by people they know. Perpetrators may try to access the elders' financial accounts or pressure them to give gifts or no-interest loans.
The older you get, the more likely you are to be affected by legal issues involving aging. An elder law attorney can help you address some of them. An elder law attorney offers guidance on matters that concern the elderly, their families and caregivers, and adults with special needs, including long-term care and estate planning.
Even if you have done some estate planning, you might not have covered everything. That may be OK, because you can still change course. If you have an estate plan, any mistakes you've made are a sign you should update it. Here are some of the most common errors people make in estate planning.
The parent or guardian of a child or other dependent with special needs can create a letter of intent to detail care and other arrangements after the parent or guardian dies. An informal, non-legally binding document that complements an estate plan, a letter of intent may be addressed to a personal representative, trustee, successor guardian, or others the writer wants to care for their loved one.
After you've finished an estate plan, to ensure it will be around when it's needed, you should carefully store your documents such that they are easy to find but kept private while protected from damage.
As our lives change, our estate plans should also adapt. Like a home, a car, or even your health, an estate plan needs regular checkups to see if it requires any updates. Ideally, you should review your estate plan every three years or whenever a major milestone occurs. While you're still capable, around the start or end of every year is a good time to consider if it needs to reflect changes in the law, your life, or your legacy.
The gift of an estate plan lasts a lifetime and beyond. In case of an unexpected event, like an accident, an illness, or death, your loved ones can feel comfortable knowing that your final wishes are in place. During a crisis, an estate plan removes the guesswork surrounding your end-of-life care, what will happen if you become incapacitated, who gets your assets, and how to honor your memory. It gives those closest to you guidance so they don't need to make important decisions while they grieve.
The recent closing of long-term care facilities in the Pine Tree State has highlighted concerns about what's happening to the industry. If you or a loved one need care now or later, you may wonder what to do and where to go. Knowing what's in-store for long-term care in Maine and nationwide can help you explore your options.
What will happen to a mentally or physically disabled loved one when you're gone? Who will support them? Depending on their situation, the options for securing their future include setting up a supplemental care or special needs trust (SNT) or an ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) account. In some cases, you can do both. Parents, grandparents, or anyone else with the legal authority to support someone with a disability may create them.
The need for in-home care can arise when someone is ill or can't take care of themself and support from friends and family is limited. Before you or a loved one decide on in-home care, some things to think about include your budget, the services you want, and whether the need is temporary or long-term.
What you should know about the probate process: “Probate” is the process under which the assets of a deceased person are distributed. Maine has a streamlined probate system. In most cases, no judge is involved, unless there are complicating factors.
Can you make decisions for your young adult child if they have an accident or become seriously ill? When a child has reached the legal age of adulthood (in Maine, that's 18 and older), parents have fewer rights over them than they do over minors. An advance directive and a durable power of attorney authorize you to act on behalf of your child. If you haven't made any incapacity plans yet, you can both secure your futures together, and you'll feel better that you're protecting your rights and your child's needs.
Whether you "summer" at a home away from home that you bought recently or has been in your family for generations, have you considered what will happen to it later? Over time, it might increase in value. Including it in an estate plan will ensure it goes to the heirs you choose while you limit potential conflicts and protect it for the future.
The Medicare and Medicaid health-care programs may seem similar, but there are some key differences between them. We explore each program, including their coverage offerings and eligibility requirements.
If you want to talk to a loved one about an advance health-care directive, you may not know where to begin. Here is some advice on how to plan the conversation, how to broach the topic, and what to say.
Memory care options for dementia patients include supervision, personal and medical support, recreation, and cognitive therapy to keep people with these conditions active. This article covers the types of residential care facilities available and the factors to consider in deciding which one is best for you or a loved one.
COVID-19 Vaccination Update: Governor Janet Mills announced February 26 that Maine would be moving to an “aged-based” eligibility formula for prioritization of COVID-19 vaccination.