Suzanne speaks with Phillip George, an elder law and estate planning attorney from Safe Harbor Legal Solutions at 360-746-7169. This segment focuses on what makes a successful retirement plan – it sets up your family so they know what to do, with explicit instructions for any given situation.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
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Now that we can, we can dialog with people on Zoom. You know, it’s one of the few blessings that I found. It have come from the pandemic Susan. In that way we are closer as a society. You know, our experts, for the most part, that are here are all available through zoom and we look forward always to having that connection with you just as easy. And I think one of the things that’s really good is our senior population is really getting used to it too, so that’s really an exciting thing as well. Really is more and more used to it all the time. Yeah, so talking about we’ve talked about now estate planning, the importance. We talked about setting goals, which is so valuable, and we talked about the fact that, you know, there’s a lot of situations where you may think you had things worked out but you really don’t. Yes, and so I would be interested to talk about this. Last one is what makes a successful retirement plan. Absolutely absolutely before you, then, I just need to give you a little disclaimer. The I can’t. You referred to me as an expert and I just because of the rules of professional conduct for attorneys in Washington, I just have to say I can’t call myself an expert. I can say that I specialize in elder law, I can say that I specialize in helping people create plans, but I cannot call myself an expert. So do I know you can looks, but I can call you an expert. Ye, so, and certainly I appreciate you being so fourthreak with that, for sure. So so, tell us a little bit about you know, what makes a successful retirement plan a successfully tirement plants us, and what it does is it incorporates more than just your standard will. Like I referred to in the last segment, I diede planning just this is my basic will. is where my stuff goes when I die, this is who I want to handle my affairs until I die and this is how I want to die right. That would be your living. Well, successful retirement plan does a couple of things. One, it sets up your family so that they know exactly what to do. Why don’t your powers of attorney, when you create them, give your family explicit instructions on what you want to have happen in any given situation? If you do it correctly? I actually have a client who has gone so far as to say that if anybody is ever brushing her teeth for her, she wants to make sure that they use sense itive, which I know sounds very funny, but you realize she probably saved yourself two weeks of discomfort just by having that inside of her document, and that way hurt kids don’t have to walk around thinking about what to do. Well, and think about if you ever get Alzheimer’s or dementias. I know that there’s a there’s actually a little book that we had her on that author of the book called Morning Glory Memory Keeper. Yes, and it was. It’s something that you fill out when you’re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Who is how do you like your coffee? If you ever go into a care facility, you know what kind of you know, things do you like? Do you like cream in your coffee? Do you want milk at your table? All of those things that you may not be able to speak for yourself but we automatically know, and those are things that you can help people do. And those sounds so simple, but they’re important things. Absolutely are setting people up for success. I thought one of the things that I have in my powers of attorney for health care is a director of saying that if my children are ever going to be taken care of me, I want them to reach out and hire the services of a geriatric care manager, somebody who can actually pull a plan together to take care of me at home, to be able to make sure that the plant that the the care that’s coming in is coordinated and the right kind of care and the reason and they have access to the right types of resources that you may not be aware about. I mean there’s so many resources that we may not even realize that are out there, and that’s the thing that, you know, a geriatric care manager like you’re saying. That’s an important request for sure, you know, and that’s almost always the first place that I go when I when I get somebody that comes in and they have a crisis case or I get a call from a client and they say that, you know, one of them is sick now and there in the hospital. That is almost always my first call. I have four or five different geriatric care managers that I like to use and they are wonderful. They’ll come together, they’ll pull a plan together, they’ll talk with the family and it becomes such a wonderful experience just kind of watching them bring everything together and help the families exactly. And you know, sadly, a lot of times when we talk to families it’s when they’re in crisis. Yes, yes, I’m you know, and a lot of times they may have a will, or maybe they may think that I have a successful retirement plan. So I have a question. What determines what does people help people know if they have a successful plan or not. You know, really, at the end of the day, these things get so complex that what I would say is you should probably have an elder law attorney look at your current plan. All are Ei. There is something that you are missing. Either, like you said earlier, you’ve gone to an attorney that doesn’t specialize in the elder law and they’ve drawn up a will that’s maybe the three pages long that you don’t know where things are supposed to go, or they’ve set up, you know, a plan where all you’ve really done, you know, you say you don’t want to become a burden on your kids, but what you’ve done by, you know, setting up your powers of attorney, is actually just written down who you come a Burton on, and so, you know, helping to avoid those things, sitting down with an elder law attorney is really going to help. And you know, even even in your will, things become so much more important than just who gets my stuff. You know, in order to like I would say, if a married couple comes to me and wants to get on to medicate. It’s usually fairly simple for me to move assets around to get the sixpouse down to the two thousand dollar limit in order to get on Medicaid. With a single couple it’s much harder. And so what I find is that in with a lot of folks, what I will do is I will use a trust inside of their wills. So with a married couple with me, let’s say, instead of me giving my half of the estate directly to my spouse, which then would count against her for medicated purposes, what I will do is I will put my half into a trust for my spouse that money. Then it’s completely safe against any kind of Medicaid look back. It’s also a safe against any kind of state taxes. It’s also a safe against any kind of future creditors that my wife may have. But you know, why aren’t I looking at these different things if what I’m trying to do to set my family up for success? And of course there’s different types of trust and so you know, when you’re looking at whether it’s a revocable or irrevocable or what is it testamentary? YEA, yeah, if different types of trust, those are all different in certain certainly qualify for different types of situations. And so again, a typical you know family law attorney or you know, because they’re my you know my friends son practices down the street, is probably not the right choice. To make sure that you guys are set up for the future. And Bear in mind everyone laws change. If you set up, I would guess, a estate plan ten years ago, there’s things that are different today, are they not? That is entirely to Susan. That is if you if you set up your plan ten years ago, you’re going to want to bring that to somebody to have them look at it, because laws have changed to the point where it flee change. Oh my goodness, you might be really had left. You might have really left yourself uncovered and your family uncovered at that front. Yes, well, and I think the other thing that you know, one of the things I know, just example of a story I heard not too long ago of well, I’m not making my son power of attorney, I’m just adding him to my bank account. Oh No, and on. I just cringe every time I hear that because it’s like those are things that you never should do because then you’re putting and the Sun should never do because it puts the sun in a huge amount of liability. And so those are some things that, again, a good elder law or state planning to attorney can help you and your family with those types of things. And so obviously you know this is this is, yes, for you, but in many cases it’s for the protection of your family as well. Oh, it absolutely is. At the end of the day, when it comes round and it comes time for my family to use my estate plan, you know, odds are I’m either going to be passed away or I’m not going to know what’s going on because I’m not able to make decisions for myself. It is entirely for them and eating the burden on them as they help me. And so why wouldn’t I want to make this as easy on them is as humanly possibly? Exactly. Yeah, and and certainly you know with with what you do is when people come to your seminars, tell us a little bit it just we have about one minute left in the show. If you go to your website, what all they experience and tell us what about your you know how long your seminars are. Sure I can go to my website, wwwasafe legal Solutionscom and you can sign up for a Free Estate Planning and retirement planning seminar and basically the seminars are about an hour long, a little bit less, and what we talk about is a different way to plan for retirement. It’s looking at retirement planning, at a state planning and kind of a holistic where, and I know that word gets over used now, but it really is looking at all these different aspects of your life, your health, you’re housing, your finances, your legal work, your family dynamic and how do I bring all of these things in together? In we plan absolutely and most certainly for you to spend that time with these families to really think about things that you haven’t already thought about, and I think that’s the key with today’s program I think what we are what I’ve learned from you, is a couple of things. Number One, you may think you have a successful plan, you may not, and now something to check them out. Number two is make sure that you’re that your wishes are written down and documented. I think that’s one of the things that we really really need to look at. And I think number three, and the most important thing is is set yourself up for success. Things Change. You know, there’s there’s different types of things that we can do together and I think that’s one of the things that I am very excited about what we’ve learned and uncovered this hour. So thank you so much. In the said that better myself. Thank you. So how do we reach you? You can reach you on my website at www dot harbor legal solutionscom and over the phone at three six hud seven, four six seventy one hundred and sixty nine and, like you said, I’m always available on zoom if you’re outside of the walcome Scatchu county areas well. We’re very, very glad that you’ve come on the show and I hope to have you back. We would love to have you back on answer for alders. I know that our listeners are super, super interested in making sure that they have their later life plan in place and you’ve certainly helped us answer a lot of questions. To stay and to each and every one of you. That’s right. We only have about six weeks left of our year of two thousand and twenty one, and can you believe we’re still in the middle of this crazy pandemic? Sometimes I think it’s never going to end, but the thing is, stay safe every one, and I know things get hard. We’re coming off on the holidays. There’s a lot of big decisions that we all have to make. But until next week, everyone remember, when thing be good to each other. – We at Answers for Elders thank you for listening. Did you know that you can discover hundreds of podcasts in our library on senior care? So visit our website and discover our decision guys. That will help you also navigate decision making. Find us at https://answersforelders.com/.
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Originally published November 21, 2021