ElderLaw News-The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. — MD, VA, DC
ElderLaw News
ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

Musings on a Road Trip

On a recent Saturday morning, I was up early and reading the previous day’s newspaper when I noticed an article about a bear festival in a small North Carolina town.

The article mentioned that you could sign up at the festival to go on a trip to a nearby national wildlife refuge where there is a large population of black bears. “Guaranteed sightings” they claimed. On a whim, I gathered my family and we made a road trip to the wildlife refuge for no reason other than I like bears and I needed a break. So off we went.

Now mind you, we were totally unprepared for this trip. However, my family, being good scouts, managed to get bug repellant and some rain gear packed into the car while I somewhat impatiently milled around trying to hurry them along. I made sandwiches. We brought some sodas for lunch. Yep, everything you need to ward off a hungry black bear that you happen to meet on the trail. Luckily for us (though I was highly disappointed), we did not meet any bears in the woods that Saturday.

On the way home, I got to thinking about what could have happened if we had run into a bear (a real bear, not a cute “Smokey the Bear” bear). My complete lack of planning and false sense of omnipotence could have turned out very badly for me and my family. You see, I haven’t updated my estate plan since my first child was born over two decades ago. (You will have heard the tale about the cobbler’s children having no shoes….) My estate plan is sufficiently old that it has estate tax planning that is totally unnecessary and cumbersome to deal with. And it creates a trust for my children that ends far sooner than I would like now. Further, because of the probate process involved with a Will, my ideal estate plan would incorporate a revocable trust. Finally, my mother has passed away since my Will was drafted, and I have a limited power of appointment that I would like to exercise. While my Will is valid, it no longer meets my goals. And do not get me started on my old power of attorney.

I think many of us live our lives in some ways much like my impromptu trip. We assume all will be well, because we do not want to think about the alternative. But the reality is that planning for your end of life should not be done on a whim or even done once and then never re-visited. Being unprepared for one’s death, one of the few things in life that WILL happen, makes no sense, whether you are a senior or just starting out in life. Everyone needs to be prepared in the event that a whim, an accident, a major medical issue or stroke of bad luck changes your life, and you suddenly need someone to help you with medical or financial decisions, or your loved ones are left to clean up as best they can, because you had no testamentary plan or (like me) an old testamentary plan. No one plans for these sorts of events to happen; they just do. We plan to mitigate the consequences of the events that do happen. If you are planning on living your life outside of a plastic bubble and haven’t revisited your estate or incapacity plan in a while, give us a call. We would be happy to discuss with you your goals and plans to make sure whatever events life throws your way won’t upset your estate plan.


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The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C.

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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This newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this newsletter accurate, we assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or damages resulting from the use of the information in this newsletter. The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. thanks the law firm of Hook Law Center for their input to this newsletter.

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