What if You Don’t Die? By Elder Law Attorney Rick Law in West Suburban Chicagoland
Nearly 1 in 2 Seniors Will Become Incapacitated Before They Die… Are You Willing to Gamble Your Life Savings on a 50/50 Shot in the Dark? Fortunately, there are legal, ethical ways to plan for retirement, protect your family, and gain peace of mind. Do you have a fear of outliving your life savings? It’s one of the reasons that you have saved your pennies along the way, instead of simply trusting that someone else will take care of you in your golden years. Now, it would be nice to think that benefits like social security and Medicaid will continue to exist to help seniors. But the rules and regulations around them are constantly under attack… and even if they do continue, most of us want to have a more comfortable retirement than what those limited benefits can provide. If you knew you had a 50/50 chance of losing everything you’ve worked hard for over the years, would you sit quietly and stomach it? What if there was a way you could bar the door against the high cost of greedy creditors, costly divorces (yours or a loved one’s), and never-ending long-term care costs? Even protect your family from being forced to spend thousands of dollars and countless hours in the courtroom? Most people don’t realize that a will works just like a path… only this path merely directs your family to the local county courthouse. While you’re alive, your will is just sitting there, waiting for you to die so it can start working. But before it can do that, it must be “proven” in court. What does that mean for your family? It means they’ve got to hire a lawyer, pay court expenses, reveal private information to the public, and then drag through a waiting period – all due to the legal process known as probate. Translation? As some wag once said, probate, “Attorneys are the unwritten beneficiaries of every will.” And that situation is just what happens when everything goes “well”. You die quickly – heart attack, hit by a bus. But these days, there is more to be worried about… What if you don’t die? What if you’re just happily walking through life and, one day, you have an accident, a stroke, or some other disabling injury or disease that leaves you alive but mentally incapacitated? You’re stuck in limbo, and so is your will! It can do nothing to help you deal with the possibility of being alive but unable to make decisions for yourself, your estate, even your health care. On the other hand, maybe you’ll never face a catastrophic event that changes your life in an instant like a stroke can. But what if Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s, or dementia, or some other disabling disease robs you or your spouse of the ability to make decisions? If this happens, you and your family will then face the very real possibility of hiring an attorney and going to court to establish a guardianship or conservatorship. In this legal proceeding, someone is appointed the decisionmaker over your life, your health, and your wealth. Hopefully, the court will choose the right person for you. You could live the rest of your life under what I refer to as “living probate.” You’ll be a ward of the court if you haven’t taken the proper legal precautions. All of your financial decision-making and health care will be subject to the review and control of a judge. Your family (and the attorney) will need to return to court from time to time to provide a financial accounting of every check that is written from that point forward. For this reason, I often sarcastically say that a traditional estate plan could make you wish you were dead. In just a couple generations, there have been enormous changes in life expectancy, and there is a high probability that you or someone in your family will face long-term care or nursing home expenses. For this reason, I believe you can never really be sure if you’re safe unless you have an iron-clad estate and longevity plan. Estate planning today must be more than just “death planning.” Your goal is to never be out of money and never out of quality health care options before you’re out of life. You may also want to leave as much of your life’s savings as possible to your loved ones, with the least amount of taxation, delay, and excess cost. When you call my office or sign up for my FREE E-course: Build Yourself a Fortress, here’s just a little of what you’ll learn: o A Living Trust or a Dead Will – How to avoid probate (with specific advice on how to best avoid probate) o How to choose the right attorney – and why the wrong one could leave you in serious trouble o Don’t Lose Your Wallet: All About Asset-Protection Trusts o Family Dysfunction & Divorce: Protecting the Blood-line Trust so that your kids – and their kids (and nobody else!) get what you worked a lifetime for o When you have a child with a destructive lifestyle (e.g. drug, alcohol, or gambling addiction): How to use a Love and Protection Trust to protect your child from him or herself o Tax-proofing your estate o How to stay at home and independent for as long as possible. Learn how you can sleep better at night by knowing that your family and your finances are secure. If you’re like many of my clients and just want answers NOW, simply call my office at 800-810-3100 or 630-585-5200. You’ll speak with a skilled Estate Planning Specialist, who will tell you what steps you may be able to take, right now, to protect yourself. Or, if there are no steps for you to take, we’ll tell you that, too. Or, if you still want more information, you can sign up for my FREE Report to take the first step toward protecting yourself and gaining peace of mind. 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 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. Located just off I-88 across from the Aurora Premium Outlet Mall. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!