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“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.
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