Schedule Your FREE Estate Planning Consultation OR "Don't Go Broke" Strategy Session

Is Alzheimer’s Disease Fatal?

By Rick Law of Law ElderLaw. Rick hosts multiple seminars a month at the Estate, Asset Protection, and Retirement Tax law firm at LEL in Western Chicagoland in Illinois.

There is a common misconception: that Alzheimer’s is not a fatal disease.

Most people still do not realize the basics of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, degenerative, and ultimately fatal. Unfortunately, most people still think about the disease as “a little bit of memory loss.”

We hear it from people all the time, people from all over the country. Many times, when I say that Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, degenerative, and fatal, people respond, “Alzheimer’s disease isn’t fatal!” Well-educated people in high positions will argue back at me, “You don’t die of Alzheimer’s disease!”

According to Dr. Maurizio Grimaldi of agingcare.com, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is very complex and always fatal. It manifests initially with marked memory failure, but as it progresses, it also has an effect on higher brain functions. In the later stages of the disease, balance and coordination as well as autonomic functions like heart rate, breathing, digestion and sleep cycles are severely affected.

When the clinical picture of the disease is fully developed, a patient will be unable to perform the tasks that keep our bodies alive and functioning. Neurological damage causes the patient to lose the ability to coordinate even simple movements. Eventually, they are unable to walk, communicate, maintain control of their bladder and bowels, feed themselves, chew, and swallow food without significant assistance and careful supervision. The later stages can be both emotionally and physically taxing not only for patients themselves, but also for their family caregivers. At this point, if the subject has not already been discussed, family members may wish to consider hospice care for their loved one.

Denial is a really powerful evolutionary protection, we often see it when early symptoms appear. If we simply accept all the terrible things that go on in the world every day and don’t operate on some level of denial, we would all cease to function.

Denial helps us to deal with everyday life. Unfortunately, denial as related to Alzheimer’s disease leads to many bad outcomes.

If your loved one has memory problems and you’re afraid of the consequences that may bring, give our office a call today at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney at the Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax law firm of Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Know Your Rights: Patient Transfers/Discharges

By Rick Law, elder law and estate planning attorney in Aurora, IL.  Rick and his attorney daughter Diana Law are partners at the Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax law firm of Law ElderLaw. 

Although each state has its own rules regarding transfers and discharges, if the facility accepts Medicaid and/or Medicare, it is bound by the federal rules.

A nursing home may only transfer or discharge a patient under federal law if it is

  • necessary for the resident’s welfare and the resident’s needs cannot be met in the facility;
  • appropriate because the resident’s health has improved sufficiently so the resident no longer needs the services provided by the facility;
  • the safety of individuals in the facility is endangered;
  • the health of individuals in the facility would otherwise be endangered;
  • the resident has failed, after reasonable and appropriate notice, to pay for (or to have paid under Medicare or Medicaid) a stay at the facility (or a resident who becomes eligible for Medicaid after admission to a facility, the facility may charge a resident only allowable charges under Medicaid); or
  • the facility ceases to operate.

Facilities must give notice to the resident and resident’s representative and the notice must provide the following:

  • the reasons for the transfer and discharge
  • the effective date of the transfer or discharge
  • where the resident will be transferred or discharged to
  • a statement informing the resident the he/she has the right to appeal the action to the state
  • the name, address, and telephone number for the state’s long-term care ombudsman

The facility is required to provide 30 days’ notice from the effective date of the transfer or discharge except for emergency situations.

Too many families needlessly lose everything they have.  Don’t let that be you.  If you need help paying the overwhelming cost of long term care, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney at the Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax law firm of Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Nursing Home Residents’ Rights

By Rick Law, founder and managing partner of Law ElderLaw in Aurora, Illinois.  At LEL, we know that the world has changed. Thankfully, we can help; We make the complex easy to understand.

The Federal Nursing Home Reform Act lays out the rights of the residents.

Under the federal act, a nursing home facility is required to protect and promote the rights of each resident, including, but not limited to the following rights:

  1. The resident has the right to exercise rights as a resident of the facility and as a citizen or resident of the United States. This means the resident is free to make financial and medical decisions.
  2. The resident has the right to be free of interference, coercion, discrimination, and reprisal from the facility in exercising those rights.
  3. In the case of a resident adjudged incompetent under the laws of a state by a court of competent jurisdiction, the rights of the resident are exercised by the person appointed under state law to act on the resident’s behalf.
  4. In the case of a resident who has not been adjudged incompetent by the state court, any legal-surrogate designated in accordance with state law may exercise the resident’s rights to the extent provided by state law.

The act also states the following:

  1. The facility must inform the resident both orally and in writing in a language that the resident understands of the resident’s rights and all rules and regulations governing resident conduct and responsibilities during the stay in the facility.
  2. The resident or legal representative has the right upon an oral or written request to access all records pertaining to the resident, including current clinical records within 24 hours (excluding weekends and holidays); and after receipt of records for inspection, to purchase at a cost not to exceed the community standard photocopies of the records or any portions of them upon request and two working days advance notice to the facility.
  3. The resident has the right to be fully informed in language that the resident can understand of total health status, including but not limited to, medical condition.
  4. The resident has the right to refuse treatment, to refuse to participate in experimental research, and to formulate an advance directive.
  5. The facility also must inform residents that are entitled to Medicaid benefits, in writing, at the time of admission to the nursing facility or when the resident becomes eligible for Medicaid of the items and services that are included in nursing facility services under the state plan and for which the resident may not be charged; those other items and services that the facility offers and for which the resident may be charged, and the amount of charges for those services; and inform each resident when changes are made to the items and services specified above.

 

If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

8 times named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine, Ric has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Planning to Protect

By Law ElderLaw’s Rick Law. The LEL team is comprised of Estate, Asset & Retirement Tax Planning attorneys in the Western Chicago suburb of Aurora in Illinois.

Planning ahead to protect your surviving spouse is one of the best things you can do to protect your loved ones.  The problem is, some people wait until it’s too late.  I’ve said it before, when you’re out of money, you’re out of options.

So what are some of the things you need to plan and protect against?

  • Loss of a Social Security Check
  • Possible loss of pension
  • Survivor’s taxes may be higher because
    • Single person tax brackets are compressed
    • The big 4 tax deductions are gone
      • Mortgage Interest
      • Dependent children
      • Charities
      • 401k & IRA deductions
  • Inflation

There could be a myriad of reasons why these items would affect you, but now is the time to protect your spouse’s future income with tax planning to increase the net spendable dollars.

In the end, it’s all about your family – your surviving spouse and your children.  At Law ElderLaw, we can help create trusts tailored specifically to each beneficiary.

This level of targeted planning can help protect your adult child’s inheritance from:

  • Divorce
  • Bankruptcy
  • Creditors
  • Predators
  • Inability to handle money
  • Poor decisions
  • Taxes
  • Eccentricities

But what about you?  An estate and asset protection plan also needs to protect you!  Are your assets at risk? Will you lose your house if long-term care is required?  Depending where you are on the elder care journey, our firm may be able to help you better navigate the twists and turns, and the pitfalls and roadblocks of planning to live.  That’s right, because we all know we’re going to die… but what if you live? What if a protracted illness sees you stuck in a care facility for an extended period of time? Will you have the resources to survive without leaving your spouse destitute? Will your children have an inheritance when you’re gone?

That’s where the experienced professionals at Law ElderLaw come in.  Our team is ready to help you plan and protect your future, for better or worse.

If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax Attorney

8 times named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine, Rick has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate, Asset and Retirement Taxes. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Do You Need to Strengthen Your Financial Plan?

by Rick Law, Aurora, Illinois Estate, Asset and Retirement Tax Attorney.  Rick Is Founder of the Estate Planning Center at Law ElderLaw and presents multiple complementary workshops every month on how you can plan and protect your future.

Back in 2008 I had the pleasure of working with Rocky Greene as he held the hand of one of his clients who was beginning to slip into the early stages of dementia.

Because of his proactive concern for his clients, he worked with his clients (a husband and wife in their 70’s) and their adult children in helping them to modify their existing estate plan into a long-term care plan with asset preservation for the healthy spouse and appropriate distributions for the children at the time of the death of both of the spouses.

I decided to give Rocky a call to ask him what was going on in the financial investment world from his perspective.

There are four crucial areas of investment management, all of which need to be addressed to have a truly healthy financial plan for the future:

  • Level of Risk.  When someone asks Rocky about investment management, he counters by asking them a question right back: How you are going to manage your money, not only in an up market, but also in a down market, or in a sideways market?  The key to getting the most out of your investments is not by blindly following your financial advisor, but by doing what is right for you.  The key to good investment management is communication.  Individuals need to be able to share with their financial manager what level of risk they are willing to tolerate.  Some will be comfortable playing the market and hoping they’ll win big.  But for those who insist upon guarantees, an annuity may be the best choice available to them.
  • Proper Insurance Planning.  No matter what your level of risk, investment management also includes the having proper insurance for any of life’s risks.  This includes not only the obvious, life insurance, but also the less obvious: long-term care insurance, and appropriate liability insurance in the event that you are sued.
  • Estate Planning.  It is absolutely critical that you put together a proper estate plan so that your inheritance goals will be properly structured in writing, not only from a tax standpoint but also to determine who is in charge.  Every person, regardless of the size of his or her estate, needs to take the time to put together a plan with directions to loved ones, detailing not only what should be done, but what should not be done with the worldly assets that are left behind.
  • Medicaid/Public Benefits Planning.  Lastly, Rocky believes that Medicaid/public benefits planning is essential!  In today’s environment, even a $2 million net worth individual or couple can have their life savings completely destroyed by failure to properly plan for long-term care.  These days, when you have the very real possibility of one or both individuals needing long-term care for 8 to 12 years, it is easy to take an estate from $2 million or more to absolute zero in that period of time.  To avoid this, you need more than basic planning—you need long-term care planning as well.

A healthy body isn’t achieved by fixing one aspect of your lifestyle and then stopping; it includes giving attention to diet, exercise, mental health, and environmental factors.  Neither does a healthy financial plan stop after making a change in just one area.  You must give attention to all the components of your body of investments to have a truly healthy financial portfolio.

If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Estate, Asset and Retirement Tax Attorney

Rick has been named #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine 8 times in a row. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now


Is It Too Late To Start My Retirement Planning Over?

By Rick Law,  Estate, Asset & Retirement Tax Attorney at Law ElderLaw in Western Chicagoland.

It’s a statement I used to hear all too regularly at the height of the recession.  Clients coming into my office would lament,  “We have lost so much in our mutual funds that I should just sell EVERYTHING and start over.”  I would ask, “How do you know that you have a taxable loss?”  Typically, the answer was something along the lines of, “Everybody knows that the whole market is down by at least 40%! That’s how I know.”

The markets are arguably in a better place than even a couple years ago, but still, many people are panicking and making the same big mistakes in dealing with investment losses.  The two main errors made are:

  • Thinking that perceived investment losses are the same as tax losses; and
  • Failing to understand that any withdrawal from an IRA, 401(k), or 403(b) will always be treated as ordinary income.

The loss our client feels is what I call the “the quarterly statement loss,” but it is not usually the same as a taxable loss. If you ignore Mr. Taxman’s rules, you could wind up compounding your losses.  The way to compute a taxable loss is to look up what you originally paid for an asset and compare that purchase price to the current sale price.  Let’s say that your rental property would sell today for $200,000, but in 2015, it would have sold for $300,000. What kind of a loss have you suffered?  Does the tax-man think that you have a loss?  The answer is, no!

If you bought your investment real estate at $300,000 in 2014, and in 2016 you sell at $200,000, then Mr. Taxman will agree that you have a long-term capital loss of $100,000 (please assume that we are ignoring depreciation and other adjustments).

But, if you are like most of my clients, you may have purchased the asset a long time ago at a price that is lower than today’s sale price.  If you sell today, you may have a significant tax bill, even though you feel like you have ‘suffered’ a loss of value.

For example, if you bought the rental property in 1975 for $50,000, the actual gain or loss will be computed from the original sales price (less any depreciation that you took as a deduction on an annual basis) compared to the current sales price.  So, if you sell that property now, you will be looking at a significant taxable gain.

It’s critical that you remember that money in your IRA represents deferred wages.  No matter when or how the money comes out of your IRA, it will be treated as if you are now receiving those wages.  You pay the income tax rate to the federal and state government.  The government never allows you to treat IRA withdrawals as a tax loss.

If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!

 


Our Mission at Law ElderLaw

By estate planning attorney Rick Law.  Rick is founder of the multi-generation law firm Law ElderLaw in West Suburban Aurora, IL. 

Are you aware that a catastrophic illness could wipe out virtually all your financial resources?  What will happen to you if you outlive your money?  You can learn how to protect your life savings and your legacy during our free vision meeting.  Call our office at 800-310-3100 to ask for more information or set up an appointment.

At Law ElderLaw, our mission is to help seniors protect their assets from unnecessary taxes, legal expenses, and the devastating cost of catastrophic healthcare or long-lasting nursing home fees.  Our goal is to make sure your assets will last you a lifetime, and passed on to your loved ones in the most timely and cost-effective manner.

You may be surprised to find that elder law attorneys are of a different breed than other lawyers.

Not only are we familiar with professional resources for you and your loved ones, but we are also ready to provide you with many community resources to help meet your family’s needs.  Serving over 400 Illinois families every year, we have walked this difficult road before and we understand the delicate situations that surround end-of-life planning.

Come in and talk to us, we can help you along this path.

Too many families needlessly lose everything they have.  Don’t let that be you.  If you need help paying the overwhelming cost of long term care, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick has been named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for the past 8 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Love and Affection

By elder law attorney Rick Law, managing partner at the multi-generation law form of Law ElderLaw.  Serving seniors and boomers in Western Chicagoland, Illinois.

When someone provides a service for someone else, there is an expectation of compensation, but when the same services are performed by a family member, the presumption is that the services were performed gratuitously.

Courts have historically held the presumption that when one family member provides a service for another family member, the person does so out of love and the services are considered gratuitous. Not only is there a historical prejudice against the adult child who is caring for an elderly parent, but in some states that prejudice is written in the administration rules of that state.

It is your lawyer’s job to overcome the assumption that relatives perform services for each other out of love or mutual convenience. This can be quite a presumption to overcome, because the prejudice against contracts among relatives dates back to the 1800’s, when it was assumed that relatives performed services for the mutual convenience of everyone in their household. There are also deep-rooted cultural beliefs about caregiving among family members.

For example, there are strong cultural beliefs at play that suggest parents should receive reciprocal free care from their children because of the years they spend as uncompensated caregivers raising their children.

Your trusted elder law attorney should build into the language of the personal-care agreement that the transfers made under this contract are not for love and affection, but rather they are for services rendered to the elder by the caretaker for fair market value.

If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,   

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Is Your Disabled Child Protected After You Die?

By Rick Law, Elder Law Attorney and senior advocate at the multi-generation law firm of Law ElderLaw in West suburban Aurora, IL.  Serving seniors and their families in Western Chicagoland .

What do you do if you’re an elderly parent still caring for a disabled child who can’t care for him or herself?  Last week I wrote about “empty nesters” who have never really had an empty nest. These are parents of children with disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, mental retardation, vision impairment, muscular dystrophy, genetic and chromosomal disorders, Down’s syndrome, and fetal alcohol syndrome, to name just a few.  

Some disabilities are apparent at birth, and others are caused by accidents or manifest themselves as mental illness later in life, but the end result is the same:  The child is being cared for by a loving parent who worries about who will provide care for that child once the parent is gone.

The most common advice of the attorney who does not practice in the area of special needs trust planning (or what we prefer to call Tender Loving Care (TLC) Trusts) has been for the parent to disinherit the child.  Disinherit means to make sure you leave that disabled child with absolutely no allocation of money directly.  This gives the simplistic idea that one should just leave extra money to one of the other children who will provide care for the disabled child and money management.  

Even in the best of families, this is usually a disastrous idea for the following reasons:

  • It’s extremely difficult for an individual who receives extra money not to commingle that money with their own, and eventually treat it as their own.  That money would become available in the event that the healthy child becomes divorced or is otherwise subject to loss to a creditor.
  • In many families the dynamic is such that the healthy children have some anger or resentment toward the disabled child because that sibling got more attention.  Thus, healthy children may not want the role of caregiver and banker for their disabled sibling.
  • And most unfairly, leaving money to one child for disbursement to another child puts a target on the back of the healthy child, in that all complaints and concerns about money will be directed to that individual.

It is the job of the elder law and special needs attorney to assist families like this in developing proper planning so that we can help the parents to create a better way to manage both money and care after they are gone.

A TLC Trust is designed to work in partnership with any public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid.  It is a way for parents to leave money for the needs of their child beyond what public benefits would pay.  A TLC Trust can provide supplemental care for recreation, social activities, pets, special therapies, entertainment, and even vacation opportunities for a child by the use of trust money.  A TLC Trust can also purchase professional care management, which can enhance not only the dignity, but the quality of life of a disabled child. The TLC Trust is a far more loving and caring solution to the challenge of providing for a child with special needs.

Before you disinherit your child with a disability – contact an elder law attorney who can assist you in designing a custom plan to meet the very special needs of your child, so that he or she can be given tender loving care after you have passed away.

If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,   

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick has been named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for the past 8 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Disabled Child and the TLC Trust

By estate planning attorney Rick Law, founder of the Estate Planning Center at Law ElderLaw, a multi-generation law firm in the Western suburb of Aurora in Illinois.

My wife and I are empty-nesters.  We looked forward to reaching this point with excitement, and a little anxiety too.  Having raised four children, it’s time to move on to the more senior stages of downsizing and anticipating our retirement.

Not everyone becomes an empty-nester.  And although we sometimes joke about the occasional “failure-to-launch”, the child who still relies heavily on the parents due to their inability to establish a career, there’s another group of parents who will never know the joy of seeing their child be fully self-supporting.  

In my office it is not uncommon for me to sit across the table from an 83 year old parent who is still the primary caregiver for a child who is chronically disabled.  Those parents live in dread of the day that they will die and their children may survive them and face a future without the loving protection of a parent.

This is the first time in human history that parents face the possibility of having their chronically disabled children actually outlive them.  Prior to the introduction of antibiotics and many other great advances in health care, chronically disabled children routinely died at a young age.  But now, even parents who have lived to become the frail elderly themselves may have chronically disabled children who are themselves senior citizens, but who are still at home being cared for by their parents.  

In fact, sometimes when we assist families in bringing in a professional caregiver for the aged parents, those same caregivers are providing necessary services to the child with the disability, as well.  This raises new challenges for those parents and their children. This type of disability is really quite common.  “Developmental disabilities” are severe chronic conditions caused by mental and/or physical impairments.  Individuals affected by such challenges may be so profoundly impacted that they will never be able to function independently.  

So how can a parent be assured that a disabled child will be taken care of after the parent is gone?  Some attorneys will recommend that you leave everything to another, non-disabled child, to care for the disabled sibling.  This passing of the torch is unfair and in many ways ill-advised. Far better is the creation of a special needs trust specifically for the benefit of your disabled child.

If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,   

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick has been named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for the past 8 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!