Peter and Helen: A Family’s Tale
By Estate Planning Attorney Rick Law of Law Elder Law – elder law, estate planning, Medicaid crisis planning, wills and trusts, guardianship, and probate litigation law firm in the western suburbs of Chicago, IL “Peter” and his wife “Helen” came to their lawyer’s office to deal with Helen’s failing physical and mental health. They were very fortunate to have a loving and healthy adult caregiver daughter. This daughter was sacrificially serving in a way that allowed Peter and Helen to continue living in their home but she was reaching the end of her ability to care for Helen, so they needed a lawyer’s advice. Peter was a successful businessman in the community and had a reputation for frugality and integrity. He was in the role of the caregiver spouse and the focus of his concern was about Helen and her need for long-term care. Over the next two years, the lawyer received a number of calls from their daughter, who was distressed at Peter’s financial decision making. One day, she called after she learned that her father had called a private ambulance service to take Helen to her hairdresser. Peter was deeply devoted to Helen, but he could not afford to spend $800 to have Helen transported to and from her hairdresser. Peter and his daughter came into their lawyer’s office the next week. At that appointment, their lawyer met with Peter alone and reviewed his finances with him. Peter seemed capable and intelligent at the meeting. He was able to add and subtract and respond appropriately to the questions. Nonetheless, one week later, Peter called another ambulance to take Helen to her hair appointment. The lawyer was dumbfounded—he did not realize at the time that Peter was suffering from his own rising level of dementia. A person with dementia may be able to answer questions correctly, but completely fail to appreciate the consequences of the answer that he or she has given. In other words, Peter was able to say what his income was and what his assets were, but he no longer understood the difference in the effect upon him of spending $8 or $800. Too many families needlessly lose everything they have. Don’t let that be you. If you need help building a fortress around your estate to protect it from creditors, predators, and the cost of chronic disease, give our office a call at 800-310-3100 or 630-585-5200. 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 for 3 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 Elder Law, 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.