A client of mine, but more importantly a family friend of four decades, recently passed away. As I sat down with her loved ones, I immediately recognized the gift she provided them. Her gift was the overall simplicity of her estate plan. It’s something everyone should strive to leave behind. It all starts with a purposeful conversation.
While it’s true the duties assumed by an estate’s personal representative or a trustee still require time – often spent in the midst of grieving – your thoughtful planning can ease their workload considerably.
Upon reflection, I view my client’s well-organized affairs as a model to follow. So much so, I now consider it one of my professional New Year’s resolutions to help all of my clients review their plans. I strongly suggest readers do the same.
To help spur your own review, attorney Diane Kuhn Huff of Stephen & Anderson will be speaking this month on estate planning at the Front Street Foundation’s Money Series. Her goal is to help you begin your own meaningful conversation on a topic too many neglect.
Her presentation will help uncover and better define your wishes about the type of health care you really want, where and in what manner you’d like to live your later years and the various resources you’d like to provide your chosen personal representatives to help fulfill your life plan.
In my client’s case, she had expressed a deep desire to remain at home in the final months of her life. The steps she took in her planning – through a combination of her financial set up and open conversations with her family members – allowed her to access the support she needed to achieve that goal.
Your own conversation might begin with a review of the choices you can make now to either remain at home or to gradually transition to other living environments with built-in levels of support. Your conversation might also enhance your understanding of the complex eligibility rules for Medicaid or VA benefits and how you can plan accordingly. In addition, you could discuss the trade-offs created by strategic asset transfers to your spouse or your heirs.
To close, I’d like to add a special note: As is often the case during difficult moments in life, positive things emerge. For my client’s family, a lasting impact was made by the wonderful care provided by the people at Hospice of Michigan. We are very fortunate to have available such high quality resources in our community.
To learn more, join Diane Kuhn Huff on Wednesday, January 18 at 6:30pm for the Front Street Foundation’s Money Series held in the McGuire Room at the Traverse Area District Library.