A Closer Look at Elder Law
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -
Estate Planning may not be something you necessarily WANT to think about, but it could protect your interests and wishes long after you are gone. NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard takes a look at what goes into estate planning and elder law.
Wills, and Estate Planning. They may not be the most exciting things to talk about, but in this day and age, they can be one of the most vital tools to ensure your wishes are carried out after you’re gone. Many turn to the Aroostook Area on Aging to figure out the first steps in the process.
“When we field calls that come into the agency, we kind of sift out what we can do for them immediately. A lot of times consumers don’t know what they should do, or what direction they should be going in, so we kind of walk them through the process…other than that we will do a soft handoff over to the legal experts.” - Ruth White – Manager/Service Coordination, Aroostook Agency on Aging
“I think the earlier one gets started thinking about their senior years the better off their going to be.” - Mark Roy – Attorney, Aroostook Elder Law
Mark Roy and Martha Grant are Attorneys with Aroostook Elder Law. Their firm specializes in Estate Planning, Long-Term Care Planning, and Probate.
“There certainly appears to be a magical age of 55 when it comes to starting to think about long term care issues” says Roy.
“Elder law focuses on matters that concern older people, but it’s not exclusively for older people, we often talk to family members of older people about their concerns.” says Grant.
And usually one of those concerns is, how do I get started and how much planning do I have to do before hand?
“If you’re talking about an estate plan, what’s in your head is ordinarily enough preparation for putting together an estate plan which in our practice consists of a Will, a financial power of attorney and a medical power of attorney. For long term care planning, often times people come up to us after they’re already headed down that slippery slope into a nursing home, and then we need specific information about financial holdings, whatever you have for assets.” says Grant.
And what about estate or death tax, will my successors have to pay a tax after I pass away?
“Generally speaking, our clients don’t have to worry about it. At the state level there’s only an estate tax if you’re talking about an estate of more than 5 million dollars at the federal level its like 12 million dollars.” says Grant.
And what should I do with my legal documents to make sure they don’t get damaged or lost?
“I recommend having a fireproof box or safe. Some safe location known to whoever is going to be in charge of those documents if anything happens to you”, says Grant.
To summarize, Roy wants to highlight this final piece of information for planners to consider.
“The first thing to do is to recognize that we have two stages. A stage where we may need care during life and distribution of our property after death, and that you should be making sure that you’ve got both pieces in place.” says Roy.
For more information, or to speak with someone about planning, contact the Aroostook Agency on Aging at 207-764-3396
Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8
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