Recent NY Bar Association Journal Devoted to Elder Law

February 13, 2012

This edition of the Koldin Report E-Newsletter reviews a recent edition of The New York State Bar Association Journal, a magazine sent to all New York Attorneys who are members of the Bar Association. The Journal, dated July/August 2011, Volume 83, No. 6, was titled: "Are you Prepared for the Elder Years?"

This recent edition was solely on the topic of Elder Law to provide guidance to New York attorneys on the importance of planning for our retirement years.

The Koldin Law Center, P.C. receives many referrals from general practice attorneys who are aware of the need for planning for our retirement years. We work with your attorney, accountant and financial planner to advise you on your estate planning options.

The introduction of this Journal by the Bar President said in part, "...careful planning can...ease the suffering that results from a serious illness or untimely death, allowing loved ones to focus on healing rather than complex legal details...the failure to plan can complicate an already painful and difficult situation."

The various articles in this Journal discussed the importance of planning for long term care, death, advance directives and retirement. The articles also discussed how complications resulting from a catastrophic illness can be prevented through proper planning.

One Article in this Journal was titled, "Are You a Planner or a Gambler?" This article discussed the widespread problem of our retirees failing to plan either by procrastination or by gambling that they would never have a catastrophic illness. When they fail to plan, they create the risk that their loved ones will suffer adverse consequences. Some examples of adverse consequences for those who fail to plan are loss of inheritance, loss of support for the healthy spouse and the inability to act on their behalf through a Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy.

Another section of the Journal was devoted to the importance of having Advance Directives for health care (Health Care Proxy) and for finances (Power of Attorney). The Health Care Proxy designates an Agent to act on your behalf to make medical decisions including the removal of life support. The Power of Attorney designates an Agent to handle your personal and financial affairs.

These articles discussed the important role that an Attorney plays in preparing and explaining these documents to clients. These documents should be tailor-made to meet the clients' objectives with an understanding of the relationships that the clients have with their family members.

The Journal also reviewed the complications that can arise with divorce and second marriages. Each spouse may want to provide financially for each other on death, but at the same time preserve assets for his/her own children. Failure to properly plan can result in unnecessary family disputes and unintended results.

Another article in the Journal warned that people can unintentionally override estate planning documents by how they title their accounts. For example, someone could set up a joint survivorship bank account with one child, but his/her Will leaves everything equally to all 3 children. In this situation, the joint account would override the Will.

The Koldin Law Center, P.C. prides itself on being a comprehensive Elder Law firm. We carefully review your estate planning objectives and your family relationships to assist you in making informed decisions on planning for the future.