Sunday, April 27, 2008


1. It will help you keep your independence and dignity and allow you to make choices. When the time comes for paying for your long term care needs, you may end up spending your savings and then relying on Medicaid for assistance.

2. If you are married and you have a need for long term care, your spouse may be forced to pay for an outside caregiver. The cost is likely to come from your combined income and assets. This may leave your spouse with minimal funds in the future. Insurance solves this problem and allows the healthy spouse to keep the assets.

3. Many healthy care-giving spouses won't spend their money and choose to "tough it out" on their own without help. If care of a disabled spouse drags on too long, this can have a devastating effect on the physical and emotion health of the caregiver. Insurance will help to pay for professional care for the disabled spouse and allow the caregiver spouse needed rest.

4. If your children promise to take care of you when the time comes that you need care, insurance will help them do that. Probably neither you nor your children have thought of the prospects of moving you from place to place, changing your dirty diapers, cleaning up after "accidents" in the bathroom or helping you with bathing and dressing. Insurance will pay for aides to help your children with these tasks.

5. If you are single and a need for long term care arises, insurance can pay for and coordinate that care. With insurance you won't have to feel you would be a burden for family or friends.

6. If you have the desire to leave assets behind when you die, insurance will help preserve those assets from the cost of long term care.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Once you've taken that very important step to create a Last Will and Testament and get your other estate planning documents in order, you need to figure out what to do with the Will document itself. It is important to keep track of the location of your current Will, as well as any old Wills and other important papers.

Where to keep a Will
The safest place to keep the original copy of your Will is in a bank safe deposit box, which has a dual signature on it so someone other than yourself can access this box and retrieve your Will once you are gone. If you do not have a second person on signature to this box, it is NOT a good idea to keep your Will in a bank safe deposit box. It will take a Court order to open it to retrieve your Will once you have passed on.

PLEASE NOTE: A Power of Attorney Document cannot be used once you have passed away; the designated Agent you appointed in A Power of Attorney Document can only handle your affairs in your place while you are alive.

If you keep the Will at home, please be sure to keep it in a Fire and Waterproof safe, however, you still may run the risk of it being stolen. Some attorneys may keep the original copy of the Will but many no longer do this. If you leave the Will with your attorney, make sure the attorney receives updated contact information from you when you move. That way if the attorney moves offices or retires, he or she is able to locate you to notify where your Will can be acquired when necessary.

You may want to keep a copy of your Will at home with your other financial documents, always make sure that this copy is UNSIGNED, and indicate on this copy where the original can be located. It is also usually not a good idea to give a copy to family members or friends for many reasons: your Will is private; you do not want anyone to make unauthorized changes; you do not want anyone to destroy it for whatever reason, or it may get lost and destroyed while in another person’s possession. Most importantly, you yourself want to review it on a regular basis to keep it current; your life’s circumstances and wishes may change so you may possibly want to make changes to the distributions or agents named to handle your affairs after you are gone.

What do you do with an old Will?
Once you have written a new Will, destroy the old Will by either shredding it or burning it. Do not simply throw it in the trash or keep it hanging around the house. You do not want this Will to be used inadvertently instead of your newly created Will.

Making changes to a Will
If you want to make changes to a Will, do not mark up the Will by hand, even if you have only small changes to make. A court could take a marked-up Will as a sign that you intended to revoke the Will. If you want to make a change, contact an attorney who can draft an amendment to the Will (called a codicil).