Nikki Leith from Wall Group Law in Edmonds talks about senior legal matters that affect the family. The firm handles estate planning, elder law and probate. Oftentimes you’re not dealing just with the client, but also the client’s family.
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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.
It’s all about legal financial foundations in the month of January. And Welcome to answers for elders radio everyone. I am here with the Wonderful Nikki leath from Tracy Wall Law in Edmonds and we’re talking about legal matters that affect the whole family and Nikki, welcome to the bank. You for having me. It’s so nice to be here. I will it’s Nice you guys are here because I know you have done so much in the way of outreach, not only for the veterans programs that you do with helping veterans and course we had wonderful Pam Nagle on the show a couple of weeks ago and you are one of the kind of key attorneys and the firm. Tell me a little bit about your firm. Well, our firm is the law office of Tracy Wall and associates and your so myself. Yeah, can are Paralegal, Jessica or tell he’s wonderful, and then I pam Nagle, our marketer. That were the associates, that three of us. So I’m the other attorney and in the law office Tracy. I want to say she’s had her practice about fifteen years. Her Own wowness and I’ve been with Tracy six and a half years well. So, yeah, it’s been really great. Yeah, get up and you guys serve primarily do in the realm of estate planning and elder law. So you’ve obviously work with a lot of seniors and families. Is that correct? Yeah, that is correct. Yeah, we were all over our offices and edmonds, but often we’re out and about heating with folks and families. Yeah, we do elder law, estate planning under elder laws, kind of the long term care planning portion Medicaid, Medicaid and veterans benefits, and then we do probate as well. Oh, good for yeah, so and then a couple other you know, look, that’s all other topic. It is. Yeah, it’s completely different. Yeah, it’s its own world. So, so. So, Nikki, one of the things that you shared with me earlier in one of our discussions, and I felt like because really important, is when I asked you what do you love most about what you do, and would you share with our listeners a little bit about what you shared with me? Yeah, I think you know, being in this area of practice, especially with elder law, you don’t just deal with the client. oftentimes you’re dealing with their entire family. So it’s a personal area of practice. You know, they want to get to know you as their lawyer. They’re trusting you with a lot of information and looking you to guide them through various personal hurdles. Right. So you’re often dealing with, you know, the the elderly client, their children, their adult children and even the adult children’s children, who are also adults, who are needing some sort of their true plan in place. So and obviously you’re also dealing, I’m sure, with family conflicts. Oh yeah, every family is a very hot yeah, I really has a different idea of what they think mom or dad should do, and especially when it comes to wills and trust and all those kind of things. And you know, I’m sure that there’s a whole just amazing part of your work that has to turn into being a therapist. Yeah, so I always tell folks of you know, legal issues and goals are are unique to each family, but so our family dynamics and you know, six and a half years with Tracy’s firm, I I wouldn’t say I’ve seen it all, but I mean it’s very rare that I get surprised now by by some things. But yeah, you see, you know how families interact with one another on a personal level. Maybe some concerns of the client, the elderly client, set stem from those relationships that you have to take into consideration, right. Yeah, different personalities, just like any family. I mean my family, think about it. Everyone’s got a different, different story and background. So so, Nikki, if I’m a caregiver of a parent and I’m taking mom or dad to meet with you, obviously mom or dad or the primary client, I’m assuming, if you’re yeah, there issues, yes, but obviously that Hare family caregiver or the adult child certainly is a factor that you’re talking about. And what are some things? I guess that adult child should know. Gosh, there’s many things and the adult child should know. But yeah, the client would be the person for whom we’re doing the planning. But I will say usually most of our elderly clients have an adult child or one or more. We’re very involved in either their financial component of their lives or their health care. So you know, when dealing with estate planning, even if the client has a power of attorney in place and a points that adult child state planning, we have to meet. We have to sit with the client one on one and just ensure that we know what their intentions are. And I think adult children, because they’re so involved in so many areas of mom or Dad’s life, I think they forget that portion and so we have to ask them to step outside and say, you know, we need to make sure that we’re your you know, understanding what your parent wants. I would say so. So the power of attorney does not allow for the adult child to do the estate plan for mom or Dad, depending on what it is that they’re writing. So that’s something they should know. You know, there’s a lot that goes into nicely caretaking for mom or dad, especially if you’re handling everything from finances to healthcare. There’s different considerations. You know, powers of attorney are really important, I think, not just for elderly clients. I think I personally think it’s the most important estate planning document you can have in place, because you are alive and you have the power to appoint somebody to make these decisions for you. Absolutely, so I think having that in place, even for the the adult child himmer herself, they should have something in place right, you know, and always I tell families always have a backup and even a backup for your backup in terms of whom we’re appointing right times. The adult child may not be available, so they need to think about who else they would want in that position. We are talking to Nikki Lee from Tracy Wall Law in Edmonds, Washington. And Nikki, where are you guys located? We are right on the waterfront in at downtown Edmonds, right next to the fishing pier. Oh, right next it. Most folks know. There’s all. You’re in that. I’d like by near the senior center. Then down the block. Yeah, it’s it’s three buildings down, I believe, or three buildings down. We’re very close. You’re like where by where Anthony’s? And yet so there’s barnies right there, builds called the Edmonds Bay building right next. I know where where that is. The road curves. Yeah, but you’re really but you just shared. You’ll also for seniors that are homebound, obviously you get out. Oh, we get out often to sister living communities, to their homes. Were very we do meetings in the office, but we’re most often, I would say, out and about. Right meetings. And so as you’re as you’re, you know, servicing. Obviously you go out. How what’s your radius? Usually we’re oh, oh gosh, we’ve been because of what we do, especially with the veterans benefits, we’re all over the place. We don’t necessarily get into eastern Washington as much, but I’m from I grew up on would be island, so if there’s a meeting on would be that I get sent up there. I mean Bellingham or South. We go pretty far south. That’s amazing. That’s so we’re all over the place. Yeah, and sometimes it folks are from eastern Washington sententimes will meet in the middle if that’s you know, makes sense for what they yeah, that’s great. So so you obviously your license in this day of Washington. Right, so good. And I know there’s a lot of families here. When we’re talking about families, son or daughter might live into Comma and mom or dad might live in both all so obviously you know having that ability to service an entire family. So if I’m an adult daughter, obviously I’m aware with some statistics that are really, really hard about being a family caregiver. One of the things that I’ve come to know in this work is is that forty percent of family caregivers lose their jobs due to the caregiver. Wow, when you look at that statistic alone, you can imagine the financial strain that adds to the stress of having to, you know, have the shoulders, you know, have the care of that loved one on your shoulder. So obviously there’s some things that you know, legally in advance, thinking about their own long term care, in estate planning issues. There’s some other aspects of that, I’m sure. What what would you what’s the main advice that you would give to a family caregiver like that just for their own self? Yeah, so, you know, being in this business for as long as we have, we’re starting to see more and more options when it comes to care and often, you know, we can see to when the family caregivers reaching a point of things are becoming too much, whether that’s money wise or just with their own help their own health. She a caregiver. So you know, we like to point them to different options, whether that’s there’s companies now that offer all Akart home care services. So maybe bring in somebody you know for a couple hours one day to do a couple of things that mom or dad might need. So then then the the adult child, can get out and go to work or do something that here she needs to do for him or herself. But having their own plan in place, you know, whether that means looking into long term care insurance for their own self, getting a power of attorney done that springs into action in the event there ever been able to make their own decisions. Just having those sorts of documents in place. And you know, we’re seeing to and with couples. You know, the healthcare of a married couple, often the husband’s or the wives their health is going on a completely different path, i. completely different trajectory. So sort of, you know, doing the leg work to see what happens if that happens to me or if I need care down the road. What are you know, what are some things that maybe I can do now to start learning about rights out there right, and I think to is recognizing that you don’t give up your life right. You know, I’m the poster child that did give up her life right, and I found out that that was really the wrong thing to do. What I should have done has been more mindful and take an advantage of services like what you’re talking about, so that I could have stayed safe and kept my job right. Well, they’re just seeing more and one because there is such a need for care and more and more folks. You know they there’s assisted living options that weren’t there ten years ago. There’s memory care communities that are amazing, all the art services that you don’t it’s not all or nothing anymore. You can, you know, combine and see what you know, depending on what Marmur di I needs. What’s out there? You know this is such important information. Will you stay with this for another segment? Absolutely yes, absolutely wonderful. We will be right back with Nikki leaf from Tracy Wall Law.
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.