Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

“Justin, my dad re­cently passed away, and my mom has been hit with a sur­prise that we don’t know how to han­dle. She re­cently re­ceived word from the tax asses­sor that her house is not, and never was, in her name. Ap­par­ently, when my dad pur­chased it decades ago, the ti­tle com­pany put it in his name only. I al­ways thought that when a hus­band died, all his prop­erty au­to­mat­i­cally passed to his wife, but now I’m be­ing told that’s not right and she needs a pro­bate. What can we do to keep the house out of pro­bate?” Steve

An­swer: Steve, I’m sorry to hear about your fa­ther’s pass­ing, and I’m sorry that your mother is run­ning into these le­gal trou­bles on top of that. Un­for­tu­nately, it is un­likely that we’ll be able to do any­thing to keep the house out of pro­bate if it was only in your fa­ther’s name when he died. Even though he left a spouse, and common sense would tell you the house should au­to­mat­i­cally be hers, that’s not how the law works.

Any­time a per­son dies with prop­erty in his or her own name, with no co-own­ers and no death ben­e­fi­cia­ries listed, that prop­erty must pass through pro­bate no mat­ter what his or her fam­ily sit­u­a­tion may have been. You didn’t men­tion whether your fa­ther had a will, but even if he did, hav­ing a last will and tes­ta­ment doesn’t keep a per­son’s es­tate out of pro­bate – it sim­ply guides the pro­bate court in wrap­ping up fi­nal af­fairs. It would have been ideal for your par­ents to have jointly owned this home, but even that would not have been enough to per­ma­nently keep the house out of pro­bate. At your mother’s death, you would still have faced pro­bate court with­out ad­di­tional plan­ning.

Ev­ery week, our firm helps fam­i­lies stay out of pro­bate court, but it takes ad­vance plan­ning. You can­not wait un­til af­ter the loss of a loved one to start your pro­bate avoid­ance plan. We have of­fices in Spring­dale, Ben­tonville, and Fort Smith. For more in­for­ma­tion on es­tate plan­ning and el­der law is­sues please call our cen­tral num­ber of 479.750.1101 and we will get you di­rected to the of­fice near­est you!

“I am think­ing about re­tir­ing soon and there’s so much to think about. Can some­one like you help me an­swer all my ques­tions?”

An­swer: Con­grat­u­la­tions on your (al­most) de­ci­sion to re­tire! You are right - there are many things to think about be­fore you de­cide to re­tire. If you haven’t al­ready been work­ing with an ad­vi­sor, don’t worry, it’s not too late. As far as my be­ing able to an­swer “all” your ques­tions, I have to say I prob­a­bly can’t. But I can cer­tainly an­swer the ones in my ex­per­tise and help you get any other an­swers you need.

One of the first things peo­ple worry about when they think about re­tir­ing is their in­come. Ob­vi­ously if you are go­ing to quit your job, you are go­ing to need to re­place that in­come. Be­ing on a fixed in­come re­ally is a scary thought to al­most ev­ery­one so don’t think you are alone with any anx­i­ety you feel. It’s nor­mal.

How much in­come will you need in re­tire­ment. It in­volves some se­ri­ous dis­cus­sions about what your life­style will look like. Also, are you go­ing to con­tinue work­ing part-time? Are you start­ing to draw so­cial se­cu­rity? What kind of in­come can you get from your re­tire­ment plan, IRA, or other sav­ings? Your ad­vi­sor needs a de­tailed pic­ture of your cur­rent fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion.

Let’s talk about ex­penses. I’ve heard that in re­tire­ment, “ev­ery day is Satur­day.” That sounds great un­til you re­al­ize that you spend most of your money on Satur­days, right? We all see those com­mer­cials with peo­ple re­tir­ing to ex­otic lo­ca­tions or tak­ing lux­ury va­ca­tions. The re­al­ity for most of us looks like down­siz­ing from your cur­rent home to some­thing smaller. And for many, that ex­otic va­ca­tion in­volves see­ing some shows in Bran­son. And that’s ok! What­ever the plan, you need to make sure it’s some­thing you can live with long term. Al­ways re­mem­ber it’s “Your” plan, not your ad­vi­sors.

Just be­ing hon­est here… if you haven’t started pre­par­ing and you are near­ing 60 or 65, your op­tions are lim­ited. And that’s why it’s very im­por­tant that you visit with some­one you trust be­cause you have no mar­gin for er­ror. The longer you wait, the harder it gets. If we can help get this con­ver­sa­tion started, please give us a call.

If you have ques­tions about Medi­care, or health in­sur­ance in gen­eral, please give our of­fice a call at 479-855-6334. Get­ting the right in­for­ma­tion is crit­i­cal to mak­ing the best de­ci­sion. For ad­vice on all things re­lated to life af­ter 60, please tune in ev­ery Wed­nes­day at 9am to our ra­dio pro­gram, “Medi­care, Med­i­caid, and Long Term Care.” Lis­ten live on KURM-AM 790 or on­line at Also, on Au­gust 10th at 10:30 a.m. I present, “Wel­come to Medi­care”, an in­for­ma­tive hour of in­for­ma­tion at the Sch­mied­ing Cen­ter, 2422 N. Thomp­son St. in Spring­dale. There is no cost and you don’t have to pre-regis­ter.

“Mom and Dad will be need­ing as­sis­tance soon in their home. I have heard about a pro­gram that helps peo­ple at home. I be­lieve it is funded through Med­i­caid. Do you know about this?”

An­swer: Yes, you are prob­a­bly re­fer­ring to the ARChoices Pro­gram. ARChoices is a home- and com­mu­nity-based pro­gram funded by Med­i­caid as an al­ter­na­tive to nurs­ing home care. Ben­e­fi­cia­ries can be 21 and older with cer­tain fi­nan­cial and med­i­cal need re­quire­ments. An ARChoices re­cip­i­ent may re­ceive a com­bi­na­tion of ser­vices based on med­i­cal need and the avail­abil­ity of ser­vices. Ser­vices that could be covered are: Adult Day Care, Adult Day Health Care, At­ten­dant Care, En­vi­ron­men­tal Adap­ta­tions, Home De­liv­ered Meals, Per­sonal Emer­gency Re­sponse Sys­tem, and Respite Care. Some ar­eas of the state of­fer Adult Fam­ily Homes. A per­son who is an ARChoices re­cip­i­ent also is el­i­gi­ble for all other reg­u­lar Med­i­caid ser­vices, such as pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tions, doc­tors, and hospi­tal ser­vices. Some of the ser­vices in­cluded un­der At­ten­dant Care in­clude: help with light house­keep­ing, meals, med­i­ca­tion re­minders, trans­porta­tion, er­rands and per­sonal care ac­tiv­i­ties such as bathing, dress­ing and groom­ing. If you need as­sis­tance or have any other ques­tions re­gard­ing the ARChoices pro­gram, I would be happy to help you.

Call us for a free, no obli­ga­tion con­sul­ta­tion with de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on care­giv­ing as­sis­tance, con­tact our Fayet­teville of­fice at 2208 Main Dr. – 479-587-9551; or our Rogers of­fice at 104 N. 37th St. – 479-636-7700.

“What is the main rea­son for com­pres­sor fail­ure?”

An­swer: There are sev­eral rea­sons for com­pres­sor fail­ure, but the main rea­son is ne­glect. Poor fil­ter main­te­nance starves the unit for air across the evap­o­ra­tor coil, thus caus­ing low suc­tion pres­sure and high pres­sure on the high side. This low suc­tion will flood liq­uid Freon back to the com­pres­sor caus­ing dam­age. Even­tu­ally, poor fil­ter main­te­nance will cause the evap­o­ra­tor coil to be covered with lint and air can barely pass through the coil.

An­other rea­son is low Freon lev­els. This will cause the unit to die an early death. The unit runs hot and will cook the oil. This is harder to di­ag­nose with a heat pump. When an air con­di­tioner unit is low on Freon and you come home to a hot house, some­thing is wrong with the A/C unit. In the win­ter when your heat pump is low on Freon, it is harder to tell be­cause it might be run­ning on the heat strips. This is bad and will give you a high elec­tric bill, but it’s worse if it’s sit­ting out there self-de­struc­t­ing.

I have seen bad con­denser fan mo­tors take out com­pres­sors. Even run ca­pac­i­tors have done the same.

The hard­est thing to di­ag­nose for com­pres­sor fail­ure is poor in­stal­la­tion of the unit, like a Freon line that is too long with too much lift in a two or three story house. Also, di­ag­no­sis is hard for a re­turn air or duct­work that is too small.

In fact, I was shocked to find out that new con­struc­tion, which tra­di­tion­ally uses bot­tom grade equip­ment, has a lesser rate of fail­ure of com­pres­sors than retro-fit or re­place­ment units. This is ac­cord­ing to man­u­fac­turer’s sta­tis­tics. I have thought about this and be­lieve the guys that put in the re­place­ment units have prob­lems adapt­ing the new size to the old fit­tings. Or, they fail to change what needs to be changed - such as proper Freon lines.

But the im­por­tant thing is clear. The money you pay for a checkup is very im­por­tant for the longevity of your unit. Please call Bella Vista Heat­ing and Air if you have any ques­tions and for all your HVAC needs. (479) 273-9640.

“Are there any con­se­quences for not treat­ing hear­ing loss?”

An­swer: It’s a well-known fact that peo­ple who suf­fer from hear­ing loss are very of­ten the last to ac­knowl­edge it. Close friends and fam­ily are usu­ally the ones to point out this con­di­tion to them. How­ever stud­ies show that de­spite be­ing made aware of their hear­ing de­te­ri­o­ra­tion, many folks are still re­luc­tant to seek help.

The rea­sons for not see­ing a doc­tor are in­ter­est­ing to note— from not want­ing to ac­knowl­edge the prob­lem, to be­ing em­bar­rassed by what they see as a weak­ness to be­liev­ing that they can “get by” with­out us­ing a hear­ing aid.

Hear­ing loss is one of the most preva­lent chronic con­di­tions in the United States, af­fect­ing more than nine mil­lion Amer­i­cans over the age of 65 and 10 mil­lion Amer­i­cans age 45 to 64. How­ever it is es­ti­mated that three out of five older Amer­i­cans with hear­ing loss and six out of seven mid­dle-aged Amer­i­cans with hear­ing loss do not use hear­ing aids.

Cop­ing with hear­ing loss is dif­fer­ent from other dis­abil­i­ties in that it is an in­vis­i­ble hand­i­cap. Vol­ume is not nec­es­sar­ily al­ways the is­sue; dif­fi­cul­ties with sound and word dis­crim­i­na­tion may also be in­volved.

Re­search has proven that un­treated hear­ing loss has con­sid­er­able neg­a­tive so­cial, psy­cho­log­i­cal, cog­ni­tive and health ef­fects with far-reach­ing im­pli­ca­tions that go well be­yond hear­ing alone. Such pa­tients ex­pe­ri­ence more sad­ness, fear and anx­i­ety than hear­ing aid users. They re­duce their so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties, be­come emo­tion­ally un­sta­ble and have trou­ble con­cen­trat­ing.

Stud­ies have also shown that so­cial iso­la­tion is a se­ri­ous prob­lem for some older peo­ple. They are con­sid­er­ably less likely to par­tic­i­pate in so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties. Se­niors with un­treated hear­ing loss re­ported feel­ings of sad­ness or de­pres­sion that lasted two or more weeks. Un­treated hear­ing loss can have se­ri­ous reper­cus­sions like: Fa­tigue, ten­sion, stress and de­pres­sion

Ir­ri­tabil­ity, neg­a­tivism and anger

Avoid­ance or with­drawal from so­cial sit­u­a­tions

So­cial re­jec­tion and lone­li­ness

Re­duced alert­ness and in­creased risk to per­sonal safety Im­paired mem­ory and abil­ity to learn new tasks Re­duced job per­for­mance and earn­ing power Di­min­ished psy­cho­log­i­cal and over­all health

Hear­ing loss is not just an ail­ment of old age. It can strike at any time, even child­hood. For the young, even a mild or mod­er­ate hear­ing loss could bring dif­fi­culty learn­ing, de­vel­op­ing speech and build­ing the im­por­tant in­ter­per­sonal skills nec­es­sary to foster self-es­teem and suc­ceed in school and life. Con­tact Bet­ter Hear­ing and Bal­ance at 479-657-6464 for a com­pli­men­tary exam with qual­i­fied au­di­ol­o­gists.

Bella Vista Heat­ing & Air Larry Pruitt #3 Pruitt Lane, Ben­tonville, AR 72712 Phone: (479) 273-9640 • Fax: (479) 273-9702 Owner of Bella Vista Heat­ing & Air, Inc., Since 1979 Bach­e­lor of Science de­gree from Arkansas Tech Mas­ters of Ed­u­ca­tion de­gree from Univer­sity of Arkansas

407 Town­cen­ter E, Bella Vista, AR 72714 1-479-657-6464 • 1-888-657-6464­ter­hearingand­bal­ AuD Dr. Gretchen Magee

104 N. 37th St. Rogers, AR 72756 479-636-7700 Su­pe­rior Se­nior Care Byretta H. Fish

Cor­poron In­sur­ance & Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices 1801 For­est Hills Blvd. #124 Bella Vista 479-855-6334 AR/NPN Li­cense# 7463967 President and CEO Will Cor­poron

El­der Law At­tor­neys Cer­ti­fied El­der Law at­tor­neys Spring­dale, Ben­tonville, Fort Smith 479.750.1101

Todd What­ley

Justin S. El­rod

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