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Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

“Justin, my hus­band and I are both in our seven­ties, and we’re fi­nally ready to set up our es­tate plan, but we don’t have any chil­dren. We plan to leave ev­ery­thing to our brothers and sis­ters, who are all around the same age as us. Are there spe­cial con­cerns we need to think about in this sit­u­a­tion?” - Re­becca

An­swer: Re­becca, I’m glad to hear that you and your hus­band are ready to get se­ri­ous about plan­ning, and you are smart to be think­ing about spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tions given your cir­cum­stances. There are some spe­cific things you should think about when leav­ing an es­tate to older ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

When leav­ing an es­tate to a younger gen­er­a­tion, of­ten the pri­mary con­cern is pro­tect­ing your ben­e­fi­cia­ries from their own weak money man­age­ment skills and from out­side threats like bank­ruptcy, di­vorce, and law­suits. Those types of con­cerns are not usu­ally as im­por­tant when leav­ing an es­tate to much older ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

With older ben­e­fi­cia­ries, though, other risks are more se­ri­ous. For one thing, though we hate to think about it, your sib­lings may not out­live you. You must be care­ful to in­clude well-thought-out al­ter­nate plans for your es­tate that would be trig­gered if one or more of your sib­lings die be­fore you.

Se­condly, you have to con­sider the pos­si­bil­ity that your sib­lings could be re­ceiv­ing long-term care at the time of your death, and your es­tate could be quickly ex­pended (or wasted, depend­ing on how you look at it) on ex­pen­sive nurs­ing home or as­sisted liv­ing bills. If that’s not your pref­er­ence, you should talk to an el­der law at­tor­ney about whether you need to re­con­sider where you di­rect your es­tate or think about more cre­ative, safer ways to pass on your es­tate to avoid this out­come.

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 di­rec0

“Is it pos­si­ble to find some­one to stay with an older per­son 24 hours a day with­out pay­ing an hourly rate?”

An­swer: Yes. There are live-in care­givers who will charge a daily rate. A live-in care­giver will as­sist the client in all daily liv­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing per­sonal care, dress­ing, toi­let­ing as well as help with all house­work - cook­ing, clean­ing, laun­dry, er­rands, trans­port­ing to doc­tor ap­point­ments, beauty sa­lon and any other client re­quests. Gen­er­ally, the live-in ar­range­ment works best when the client is sleep­ing at night for a few hours in a row. That way the care­giver is rested, also, and can be at their best dur­ing wak­ing hours.

This live-in ar­range­ment is a great way to have peace of mind about some­one be­ing there all the time and it is very eco­nom­i­cal.

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.

“I am a 62 year old woman wor­ried about long term care. Is LTC some­thing I should be wor­ried about?”

An­swer: Here are three rea­sons why Long-Term Care (LTC) should be im­por­tant to ev­ery­one but es­pe­cially women. First, women live longer than men. Women out­live men by an av­er­age of 5 years. In fact, more than two-thirds of Amer­i­cans age 85 and older are women.

Sec­ond, women need more LTC than men. Women spend twice as many years than men in a dis­abled state at the end of their lives.

Third, women are less likely to have a care­giver in the home, like a spouse or part­ner. Al­most 70% of women over 75 are wid­owed. And nearly half of all women over 75 are liv­ing alone com­pared to fewer than 25% of men the same age.

Here’s a scary fact: Al­most 70% of peo­ple turn­ing age 65 will need Long-Term Care at some point in their lives. Let that sink in.

Here’s an­other one: If you and your spouse make it to age 65, there’s a 75% chance one of you will live to 90 and a 50% chance one of you will live to 95%. Will your re­tire­ment dol­lars last that long with a se­ri­ous Long-Term Care bill? A thor­ough es­tate plan MUST take LTC into ac­count! Does yours?

So, I think we’ve laid out the case for why women should be very con­cerned about LTC. Now what? There are only 3 ways to pay for LTC. You can pay out of your pocket and to­day that means writ­ing $6,000 checks (at least) every month to the nurs­ing home. Or you can qual­ify for Med­i­caid by ei­ther be­ing broke or with care­ful plan­ning with an El­der Law At­tor­ney to pro­tect as­sets. The fi­nal way to pay for LTC is with a pri­vate Long-Term Care In­sur­ance plan. There are sev­eral kinds of pri­vate LTC in­sur­ance and the mar­ket con­tin­ues to evolve. If you looked at it years ago it might be time to reeval­u­ate.

Here are some ques­tions for you to ask your­self: Who will take care of you? What as­sets will you use to pay for care? Are there tax con­se­quences if you use those as­sets? If you use hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars for your own care how will that leave your spouse fi­nan­cially? Is leav­ing some­thing to your kids or grand­kids im­por­tant to you? About the only thing that will ruin a solid es­tate plan is a Long-Term health is­sue. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

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 www.kurm.net. 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.

“I have re­searched hear­ing loss, but what is true or false?”

An­swer: A lot of what passes for knowl­edge about hear­ing loss and hear­ing in­stru­ments to­day is based on out­dated, or sim­ply er­ro­neous, in­for­ma­tion. Be­fore you make any big de­ci­sions about hear­ing loss, check out the real story be­hind th­ese com­mon myths:

Myth: Only a few peo­ple are truly hear­ing im­paired; the statis­tics don’t ap­ply to me.

Fact: With 28 mil­lion peo­ple re­port­ing hear­ing loss in the US, or 1 in 10 Amer­i­cans, the odds are pretty good that you or some­one you know is in­deed af­fected by hear­ing loss—es­pe­cially if you’re 60 years of age or older.

Myth: If I did have a hear­ing im­pair­ment, I’d cer­tainly know about it.

Fact: The truth is that hear­ing loss hap­pens grad­u­ally and the signs are sub­tle at first. Our own built-n de­fenses and abil­ity to adapt make it dif­fi­cult to self-di­ag­nose. A sim­ple Q& A hear­ing test can help you gain in­sight, while a pro­fes­sional screen­ing can pro­vide a more de­fin­i­tive an­swer.

Myth: Most hear­ing prob­lems can’t be helped.

Fact: 30 or 40 years ago that was true. To­day, 90% of hear­ing loss—the kind that’s brought on by age or ex­po­sure to noise— can be treated with tech­ni­cally ad­vanced hear­ing in­stru­ments.

Myth: I can live with my hear­ing loss with­out ever us­ing hear­ing aids.

Fact: There are many se­ri­ous so­cial and psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions to hear­ing loss, in­clud­ing frus­tra­tion, with­drawal and iso­la­tion. Th­ese can then lead to de­pres­sion. Trou­ble com­mu­ni­cat­ing with oth­ers cre­ates a strain on re­la­tion­ships, and a loss of con­fi­dence and self-es­teem. It’s far bet­ter to deal with hear­ing loss than to pre­tend it isn’t hap­pen­ing, or, worse, to ig­nore the ef­fect it is hav­ing on those around you

Myth: Ev­ery­one can see my unattrac­tive hear­ing de­vices. Fact: There are styles avail­able that are al­most com­pletely hid­den in the ear canal. And the new be­hind-the-ear styles are smaller and mostly un­no­tice­able.

Myth: Hear­ing loss is a sign of old age.

Fact: Any­one can be af­fected by hear­ing loss—from kids to se­niors. Only 35% of peo­ple with hear­ing loss are older than age 64. There are close to six mil­lion peo­ple in the U.S. be­tween the ages of 18 and 44 with hear­ing loss, and more than one mil­lion are school age. Hear­ing loss af­fects all age groups.

Make your com­pli­men­tary ap­point­ment with Bet­ter Hear­ing and Bal­ance at 479-657-6464 to have your ques­tions an­swered about hear­ing loss.

“Lately, my unit just runs non­stop be­tween 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Is it too small? Do I need a big­ger unit?”

An­swer: Not nec­es­sar­ily. If the unit keeps the tem­per­a­ture be­tween 76 and 78 de­grees dur­ing this time of year, you have the proper sized unit for your house. If it isn’t keep­ing up, you may need your unit ser­viced, the out­side unit washed out, all the dust and de­bris cleaned out, the out­side coil cleaned and washed and the freon checked. When this is done then you will know if the unit is the right size or not.

The HVAC siz­ing guide teaches you to size a unit so that it will keep the house at 76 de­grees in­side when the tem­per­a­ture is 97 de­grees out­side. I have cus­tomers who feel that this is un­ac­cept­able and will over­size a lit­tle bit, but ac­cord­ing to th­ese tem­per­a­tures we are hav­ing, you’re A/C units should not be cy­cling or sat­is­fy­ing the ther­mo­stat in the af­ter­noon.

The rea­son for this is most of the time it is be­low 100 de­grees. Even in th­ese record set­ting tem­per­a­tures it is 100 de­grees or over only about six hours out of the twenty-four. That means your unit is over­sized eigh­teen hours per day.

Re­mov­ing mois­ture in the house is a vi­tal part of air con­di­tion­ing. When a unit is too large, the unit does not run long enough to re­move enough mois­ture. The evap­o­ra­tor stays wet, thus sen­si­ble cool­ing (the cool­ing that blows cold air) is smaller and you have to lower your ther­mo­stat to feel more com­fort­able.

One sav­ing grace to this hot, dry weather is that la­tent or con­den­sate re­moval is not a big worry.

Just re­mem­ber, when you have weather out of the nor­mal, your A/C unit is sup­posed to be de­signed for the nor­mal. There­fore, you might not get ex­actly what you want.

Please call Bella Vista Heat­ing and Air at 479-273-9640 to sched­ule your ap­point­ment and avoid th­ese costly re­pairs!

“Why is dol­lars per square foot so im­por­tant ?”

An­swer : I have had a real es­tate li­cense in 6 dif­fer­ent states start­ing in 1973, and I never was in a lo­ca­tion where dol­lars /sq ft had so much at­ten­tion given to it as in NWA Arkansas. In fact, some Multi-lists do not even put that num­ber on the info sheet.

In Bella Vista, it is even more con­fus­ing be­cause of the many houses that have lower lev­els, some fin­ished, some not and some only ac­ces­si­ble just from the out­side. Whether th­ese ar­eas are in­cluded in the square footage count is truly open to in­ter­pre­ta­tion and leaves the $/sq ft num­ber with less mean­ing be­cause of in­con­sis­tent ap­pli­ca­tion. I would vote for re­mov­ing $/sq ft from the Multi-list.

A house that has 2000 high qual­ity square feet,will of­ten be more costly and de­sir­able than a house that has 2500 poorly de­signed and de­tailed square feet. I have heard agents around here say they will not show a house over $100/sq ft un­less it is on a lake. I do not sub­scribe to that “rule” as I have seen many homes that are well worth the over $100 price. Please don’t let your Real­tor sway you away from a home that might meet all your needs be­cause the square foot price seems “out of line”

Hav­ing said that, I must, how­ever, is­sue a caveat. If you are seek­ing a mort­gage, the $/square foot num­ber does come into play when your home is ap­praised. One of the cri­te­ria on the ap­praisal is the re­la­tion­ship of the price on your home to the av­er­age price in your neigh­bor­hood. If you are buy­ing the most ex­pen­sive house, you may have is­sues with your ap­praisal, es­pe­cially if you are putting a lower % of money down on the home. Ap­prais­ers will take in to ac­count many as­pects of your prospec­tive home – qual­ity of con­struc­tion and con­di­tion of the home in­clud­ing up­dates will cer­tainly in­flu­ence the fi­nal value. And on ap­praisals when eval­u­at­ing the com­pa­ra­ble homes, the indi­cated val­ues are not av­er­aged but are com­pared rel­a­tive to % of ad­just­ments and sim­i­lar­ity to your home.

In Sum­mary, con­sider $/square foot to be merely one as­pect of the home you are seek­ing, just like size of the master bed­room or steep­ness of the lot. Con­sider all as­pects and find your­self the home that suits YOU.

an ad­ver­tis­ing fea­ture of

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