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Senior Living Workforce Issues During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Senior Living Workforce Issues During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Fears that provisions in a coronavirus-related relief action by the US government could have severely curtailed the workforce in senior assisted living, independent living, memory care, and continuing care retirement communities provide a cautionary tale. The bill, HR 6201, is a multi-billion dollar aid package known as Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The bill has recently been signed into law by the US President. Influential leaders, CEOs, and corporate Presidents in the senior care and housing industry addressed facility workforce concerns directly to the House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) before the passing of H.R.6201.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Law expands unemployment and Medicaid benefits, provides for free coronavirus testing, and mandates paid sick leave and childcare. Now that schools have closed throughout the country for an indefinite time, the fear is that many senior care workers will, unsurprisingly, put their family before their healthcare worker employment. A reprieve of sorts was added before the law being enacted, which states that only certain employees can qualify for paid sick leave.  Because of these loopholes, healthcare workers like first responders, and hospital and nursing home staff are ineligible for paid sick leave per the Families First Coronavirus Response Law (FFCRL) amid fears of staffing shortages among medical providers.

Healthcare worker exemption from some FFCRL benefits is a relief to the senior housing industry but by no means mitigates other workforce challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. The pervasiveness of this contagion means that healthcare workers will be exposed to, and some will fall ill with full-blown coronavirus symptoms and illness. Obviously, in these cases, the healthcare worker will be removed from the senior living facility for quarantine and recovery and to protect the facility’s residents and staff. One coronavirus confirmed healthcare worker begins a domino effect within a facility. Regular operations become short-staffed, and operators face the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols that co-workers must also face quarantine.

Beyond coronavirus exposure, symptoms, and the diagnosed virus itself, there is the problem of how healthcare workers respond in a pandemic. The non-stop news and social media coverage of the coronavirus has put many Americans on edge, including health care workers. In a crisis, some people respond logically and calmly, while others may become fearful of their own circumstances and respond emotionally. Most healthcare workers would put their own family’s health needs and care before any employment, and in a free society, there is nothing to compel them to stay in a job if they choose to tend first to their own family.

If your loved one is in a senior living facility, what can you do to mitigate the negative consequences of workforce disruption due to the coronavirus? In the short term, if you are able and your senior is well enough, you can put them under your care. Beyond family care, unless you have the resources for private pay at any cost, you, like the rest of us, are in the system and have to wait out the virus and its effects. There is no guarantee moving forward how the coronavirus will play out in senior living communities, America, and around the world. 

One of the few things you do have control over is to assure your loved one has proper legal documents for end of life decisions. Take the time to review them to ensure they are in order. A do not resuscitate order (DNR), durable medical power of attorney, and end of life wishes should be on file with your loved ones living facility and the local hospital. Additional legal copies of these documents should remain in your car or on your person in the event a facility is unable to locate the paperwork. Preparing for the worst-case scenario is a harsh reality; however, it could make the difference between chaotic suffering and a peaceful passing.

We’re here to help with appropriate documents for you and your loved ones – or just to answer any questions you may have.  We’re all in this together. Give us a call at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com.

Stay healthy.

Understanding the Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Seniors

Understanding the Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Seniors

We are living in confusing and scary times.  The senior population has been identified as the most at-risk demographic for COVID-19.  Information coming out about COVID-19 is very fluid, which can also contribute to overall stress.  Thankfully there are ways to try and manage stress and stay as healthy as possible during this time thanks to advice from several federal agencies monitoring the situation and the impact of COVID-19 on the senior population.  This article highlights some of the advice provided from those agencies monitoring this situation closely.

For those living in a nursing home or long-term care living facility, new protocols have been established by  the federal government to curb the spread of Coronavirus.  A new preparedness checklist is available from the CDC here.  It includes staff education and training for the rapid identification and management of ill residents, as well as an increase in supplies and resources. There are also restrictions on all visitation, excepting some circumstances like an end of life situation.  Other restrictions have been placed on volunteers and non-essential health care personnel, and the cancellation of all group activities and communal dining.

Before the identification and dissemination of information about Coronavirus, the CDC had identified the 2019-2020 flu season as being particularly challenging. Now many seniors wonder whether they have a different type of flu, allergies, or are experiencing the Coronavirus. Not knowing is particularly frightening since seniors have been identified as the demographic with the highest mortality rate. The CDC has a straightforward checklist of symptoms of respiratory infection, including COVID-19: 

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Because other types of flu have similar symptoms and there is no Coronavirus vaccine, and its test is in very short supply, many older adults will only be able to treat their symptoms without full knowledge as to the contagion.

One their website under “How to Prepare” the CDC provides information on protecting yourself, your family, your home, and managing anxiety and stress. According to the CDC, there are some things that seniors can do whether or not they are in a facility or living at home that can help reduce their risk of catching the Coronavirus or any other virus for that matter in this bad flu season. The first line of defense sounds counterintuitive to a global pandemic, but it is crucial, stay calm and try to relax. 

Getting quality sleep during this outbreak will allow your body the time it needs to restore immunity responses to contagions. Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Staying calm, getting restful sleep, and remaining hydrated will allow your body’s natural defense mechanisms to protect itself.

Have someone near you help you stock up on supplies. Stay in your home as much as possible. If the weather permits, open a window for fresh air. If you have a home with a porch or patio, take in some sun for vitamin D. You want your immune system to be as robust as possible. Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others. If it is not necessary, don’t go out in public, avoid crowds, stay away from anyone who is sick, and wash your hands often. Cancel any cruise or non-essential air travel and do not use public transportation.

The CDC (List of Disinfectants) has posted a list of disinfectants for use against the Coronavirus. Proper disinfecting of often-used surfaces is critical as this particular Coronavirus can live for long periods, up to 72 hours on some surfaces. As of now, the EPA reports no detection of COVID-19 in drinking water supplies and believes the risk to the water supply is low based on current evidence. 

The CDC is reporting that seniors with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and should take extra precautions about self-isolating. Those seniors with these conditions in a nursing home or long term care facility will be triaged according to CDC guidelines for best practices with the elderly who are the highest risk.

If you feel worried and panic is taking over your rational responses, seek a loved one or trusted friend to guide you through the steps you can take. There is a great deal that is unknown about the Coronavirus, but there is a great deal known about what you can do as an individual senior to combat the threat and remain healthy. 

We would be happy to discuss any questions or concerns you have as we continue to understand the impact of COVID-19 on our country.  Give us a call at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com. 

How to Talk to Kids About Their Inheritance

How to Talk to Your Kids About Their Inheritance

 

Many parents are uncomfortable talking to their kids about their wealth.  Talking about how much money or property you have is usually viewed as taboo.  Asking someone else about what they have is often considered impolite. But failing to talk to kids about how much they may inherit could leave them unprepared to handle even a modest amount, and often results in the money being squandered quickly.

Many who have substantial wealth are concerned that if their children know the extent of their wealth, this will take away any motivation for the children to be productive and involved citizens. Parents with substantial wealth often want their children to learn how to live in the world as “normal” people, and to be productive and successful in their own right. Some may go so far as to hide their wealth to encourage their children to work and build their own wealth.

But the degree of wealth is relative. Even those who are not as wealthy may not want their children to know how much they have. With the rising costs of health care, they are concerned that all of their savings will be needed for retirement, medical expenses, and long term care. If this becomes a reality their kids would not receive an inheritance they may have been counting on.

Failing to prepare children for what they may inherit can hinder their ability to handle money wisely. Many find they suddenly feel separated from their friends, isolated, even confused about how to handle relationships. Others will be wasteful and spend their new found money irresponsibly. Those who inherit even a modest amount are likely to be just as irresponsible; stories of inheritances being squandered on an expensive sports car, lavish vacations, and fast living are all too common.

Experts agree it is important to talk to children about money and wealth during their adult years to help them learn how to be better stewards of wealth. This doesn’t mean parents have to take a show their children all of their bank accounts, business interests and other evidence of wealth. Instead, experts suggest talking to children about their values, the opportunities money can provide and what you as parents want to accomplish with the money you have. Most parents want their children to think about helping others, and many want to encourage entrepreneurship. It can be helpful to give children a small amount of money at a young age to teach them how to save and invest, spend wisely, and to show them the importance of supporting charities. 

One of the most effective ways to teach children about values and spending and investing money is to be an example. Parents need to let their children see them using their money in ways that reinforce their values. Some parents show how they value family relationships by spending their money on family vacations or buying a second home where the entire family can gather for summers and holidays. Others involve their children in choosing charities to support and provide children their own money to donate. If your children see you living your values, chances are they will adopt similar values as well.

We help families determine how to leave money to children in a beneficial way, how to plan for unexpected health care issues, and how to make sure appropriate people are named to step in and help if needed. We welcome the opportunity to talk to you about your planning needs.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring In-Home Health Care Services

Questions to Ask Before Hiring In-Home Health Care Services

There is a wide range of home health care services available from daily household tasks to medical care. Before identifying a health care service for information, get a clear idea of what you are in the market for, be it recovery from surgery or long-term care for a chronic illness. The first step is to determine what you need help with and how often you need that help. Then assess your budget to provide home health care services. Get the specific information together about the types of insurance you will be relying on for payment. Determine what your loved one’s comfort level is with the process. A non-compliant recipient of care is going to make for misery all around. Have open and non-threatening discussions with your loved one and listen to their concerns. They may give you refined information about what type of individual to look for in a home health aide such as a non-smoker, early riser, card player, fastidiously neat person, an aide with experience with a specific chronic disease, or a multi-lingual aide.

Once you have identified your needs, though they may change or need to be scaled back, the search for a provider begins. The Mayo Clinic recommends finding a qualified home care service agency. Only deal with properly licensed agencies. Most states require agencies to be licensed and regularly reviewed, so check with your state health department. Be sure the agency is Medicare-certified for federal health and safety requirements. If it is not, inquire as to why. Ask about employee screening and if the agency is willing to provide references and follow up on them. Request a list of the doctors, hospital discharge planners, and other medical and administrative workers who have experience with the agency.

The individual home health aide should have proper credentials. Check to see that they are appropriately licensed by directly checking with the licensing body itself. Does the aide have a track record, and can they provide references from at least two employers? Follow up on any references given. Also, check with your loved one’s medical team to see if they have specific individuals who would be qualified and a good fit as your home health aide. Check for the quality characteristics of the agency. How do they monitor and train caregivers? Are caregivers licensed, accredited, and insured through the agency and proper licensing bodies? Is continuing education provided to health aides? Does the overall attitude of your potential home health aide have a positive attitude and display patience? Can scheduled hours be consistent with the patient’s needs? Will the same aide reliably and routinely show up?

Once you have a few qualified home health care options available, it is time to identify which agencies are affordable to your budget in the area of your loved one. It makes no sense to learn about specific services that you cannot afford, so pricing is one of the first considerations beyond qualifications. Ask the agency how it handles billing and expenses and get literature that explains services and fees. What levels of care do they provide? It is important to get detailed, written information as to all of the costs associated with home care services. If it is not in writing, be wary and walk away.  

Does the agency allow for fees to be covered by health insurance or Medicare? Talk with the agency’s billing personnel to ensure that your health insurance is accepted and be sure to understand the criteria that Medicare requires. Do not forget to ask about financial assistance or payment plans and again request that all the information is in writing. Once you understand the payment set-up, reconfirm what services are included in those fees. Often the sales pitch in the front office does not map out to the details of fee-for-service in the accounting department.

How much will the aide charge for providing home health services, and what services are included? Does this information mirror the data provided by the agency? Inquire about sick days and check for any scheduled vacations that might impact continuing service to your loved one. Who is responsible for payroll, social security, and other taxes associated with the aide? Does your aide receive standard holidays off as defined by federal guidelines; are they paid holidays, and who pays?

Before an aide enters into your loved one’s home, there should be a written care plan that includes details about medical equipment, specific care needs, and the responsibilities of the aide and the agency. This plan is usually in the form of a 3-ring binder where an aide denotes hours of care provided and can reference doctor input, which should be frequently updated. Also in the book should be a list of responsibilities and rights for everyone involved, which is often referred to as the patient’s bill of rights. This document varies widely, but Medicare.gov provides a detailed example of what they include. 

Inquire if the agency will continue to work directly with you and other family members after the aide is identified and hired for service. What is the process for elevating concerns and complaints? If there are problems, what is the protocol to resolve them? What are the emergency plans in the event of power failure or a natural disaster that can create safety hazards, particularly with medical equipment? What are the response times during a medical emergency? Is your aide instructed to dial 911 first? Check for a back-up plan in the event the home health aide has an emergency come up or has car trouble, or inclement weather precludes them from showing up.

According to Homecare.com, the average agency health care worker has between 1 to 2 years of experience, so implement the 3 R’s and get resumes, references, and reviews. Ensure the credentialing process through your identified agency includes home health aide social security number and trace verification. Be sure it checks federal and state criminal records, sex offender registry, and valid driver’s license check through the licensing department in your state. The aide’s license and credential verification need to be vetted. Finally, there should be contact with the Fraud and Abuse Control Information Systems (FACIS), which checks for wrong actions by individuals and agencies in the health care field.

To hire the best home health care services possible for your loved one do your research thoroughly before moving forward. Once you are engaging agencies and individual aides ask questions, get literature, take notes and then follow up on references, license verifications and credentialing. The research and care you put into the process upfront can stave off unwanted complaints or problems with your home health aide selection. You will create the best outcome for the patient by identifying the most qualified and affordable candidate for your situation.

We help families create comprehensive estate plans for anyone who may need long term care. We discuss care needs, how care will be paid for, who will make decisions, and much more. Give us a call at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com – we’d be happy to help your family plan for the future.

Telehealth and mHealth Technology is Revolutionizing At-Home Medical Care

Telehealth and mHealth Technology is Revolutionizing At-Home Medical Care

The silver tsunami of Americans aging into 65 or more years puts additional strain on an already overtaxed US health care system which is running low on doctors, nurses, and caregivers. The surge in baby boomer seniors and near-seniors has put a focus on Telehealth and mHealth technology platforms which provide solutions that improve senior care monitoring, coordination, and management while aging in place. Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information by way of electronic information and telecommunication technologies while mHealth is its mobile counterpart. Both platforms allow long-distance patient/clinician contact and care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, monitoring, and remote admissions. The benefits of these technologies are particularly significant for seniors living in rural areas where medical facilities can be far from home. 

According to two statistics reported by AARP, there will be an increase of about 7 percent of the senior population who by 2050 will require additional caregiving and support due to chronic disease. The study also cites, “The number of people 65 and older in the United States is expected to increase to 55 million in 2020; to some 70 million by 2030, and 88.5 million, or 20 percent of the population by 2050. (Put yet another way, between 2006 and 2030, the U.S. population of adults aged 65+ will nearly double from 37 million to 71.5 million people.)” These statistics highlight the need for medical home-based technology because aging in place has become a ‘movement’ and is the best hope to meet the increasing senior demographic in the United States.

These medical technology platforms require reliable and robust internet connectivity which are readily available in urban and suburban areas but can be a challenge to provide in rural locations. It is possible to meet the need of internet availability in much the same way that the US created the Rural Electrification Act (REA) of 1936. The REA US-backed federal loans provided for installation and electric distribution systems to serve isolated rural areas. Today, the funding mechanism for remote internet service provisions can be similarly funded and not require a point to point wiring but rather wireless cellular towers. Additionally, assessing the amount of federal money paid out for 911 calls for seniors who wind up in the hospital after a fall could provide savings that could be redirected to a rural internet provisional act. Statistics show that over three months the average medical cost incurred by each accidental senior fall is about $35,000. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) reports that falls account for more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually and the number of hospitalizations is over 800,000. Multiplying $35,000 by 800,000 hospitalizations is $28 billion annually. Even a portion of that dollar amount would go a long way to helping rural seniors get reliable, affordable internet access.

Telehealth and mHealth platforms are integral to the success of aging Americans. All of the technology tools like laptops, remote control devices, and voice-activated personal assistants are also reliant on reliable internet connectivity. The integration of all of these tools to provide a quick link to a senior’s care team, whether that is their primary care physician, home health aide, wearable medical devices, family member or the neighbor next door is essential in the prevention of hospitalizations. The money that can potentially be saved has prompted the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the American Medical Association (AMA) to expand reimbursement policy for remote patient monitoring programs through new Current Procedural Technology (CPT) codes. 

These remote monitoring medical platforms are readily available to put in place and become mainstream solutions to the aging US demographic. For those seniors who can age in place, these technologies are invaluable. The same monitoring tools can also reduce strain on doctors, nurses, and care staff at retirement communities, senior living facilities, long term care centers, and skilled nursing facilities. Mobile carts, video communication links, and connected devices at a facility can connect remotely with a doctor or specialist reducing the need for emergency medical services (EMS) or transport to a hospital. 

Telehealth and mHealth technology can create a medical care platform for seniors that enable them to live safely and comfortably at home. We help seniors and their families create comprehensive plans that cover long term care needs, how to pay for care, and how to choose appropriate people to help seniors make important decisions. We would welcome the opportunity to help you and your loved ones.  Just give us a call at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com.

Passing on Family Values as Part of an Inheritance

Passing on Family Values as Part of an Inheritance

Successfully addressing and legally formalizing inheritance of family values and assets can be challenging, especially if parents wait too long to begin instilling family values. Undoubtedly the best time to teach and empower your children as eventual inheritors of your family legacy is during childhood, then continuing throughout adulthood. Waiting until your later stages in life to discuss family values as a guide to handling inherited worth is often ill-received as grown adult children prefer not to feel parented anymore, particularly when they are raising children of their own.  

There is value in the spiritual, intellectual, and human capital of rising generations, and it is incumbent upon older generations to embrace this notion and work with their heirs rather than dictating to them their ideas about how to facilitate better outcomes. While the directions taken by newer generations will likely differ and can sometimes be downright frightening than that of their elders, there can still be a deep sense of service and responsibility to family values and stewardship of inherited wealth. Allow your children to exert their influence over the family enterprise early on in life and make adjustments that create synergy, connection, and like-mindedness.

If this description of a somewhat ideal family system does not resemble yours, take heart. Most families do not conform to perfect standards of interaction. The more affluent a family is, the higher the failure rate to disperse assets without severe fallout. The Williams Group conducted a 20-year study and determined there is a 70 percent failure rate that includes rapid asset depletion and disintegration of family relationships during and after inheritance. Establishing inheritable trusts can provide real benefits. Benefits include avoiding probate, reducing time to handle estate matters, privacy protection, the elimination or reduction of the estate tax, and can be effective pre-nuptial planning. A parent who wants to control outcomes should focus on these benefits of the trust instead of trying to legislate their future adult children’s behavior.

It is imperative not to allow your values and legacy to become weaponized within the family system. A sure-fire way to inspire conflict is via “dead hand control,” meaning trying to control lives from the grave. Most often, if you put excessive trust restraints on adult children, they will act accordingly to your perception that they are not adult enough to handle wealth. Instead, consider enrolling them in a few classes about managing wealth. Spark an interest in them to learn how you have created wealth, the mechanisms you used, and what their future endeavors may look like long after you are gone. Formally educate your children about finances, the earlier the better, and instead of talking about who gets what the conversation can shift to the mechanics of managing wealth. This tactic resets the context of the issue and aligns purpose and intended long term outcomes.

Estate planners try to encourage trust choices that lead to flexibility. If a beneficiary is genuinely incapable of making the right decisions, a trustee can be appointed to make distributions in the beneficiary’s best interest. This trustee discretionary power of money management can help a well-funded trust survive for generations. 

You can also write a letter of wishes or provide a statement of intent to your children. Though these are not legally binding, it gives you a platform to remind them of family values and your desire for these values to be maintained for future family generations. This type of letter is an opportunity for you to convey your vision for how your wealth can bring growth and chance for fulfillment to beneficiaries.

Prosperity should positively shape lives. Family trust beneficiaries hopefully already have a self-driven life that includes purpose, responsible behavior, and a basic understanding of personal finance. If you worry your children may squander inheritable assets, create the opportunity for them to succeed through classes that teach them about managing legacy family values and wealth. Address your concerns legally and directly through a detailed trust that can help but not overly constrain them to achieve what you envision they can become. Start an honest conversation early on, but remember it is never too late to make good choices and create positive family value influences for the coming generations. 

If you are interested in establishing a trust to pass wealth on to your children, we can help. We can also guide families on how to pass on family values in a meaningful way. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you.  Just give us a call at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com.

Choosing a Wearable Medical Alert System

Choosing a Wearable Medical Alert System

You or a loved one recently had a stroke and is returning home after a long stay in the hospital and in-patient rehabilitation. The care providers assure you that you will be fine returning home, but you still worry. How can you make sure your parent is safe at home?

A medical alert system is a device that can connect the user with help when activated, either at the press of a button or if a fall is detected. These devices can be life-saving in case of emergency, and can give seniors independence, and their loved ones peace of mind. One might assume that a smartphone or digital assistant is sufficient, but unlike cell phones, medical alert systems stay on your body so that you always have access to it, and unlike Alexa and Google home, medical alerts can call 911. So if you do decide to buy a medical alert system, you’re going to want to choose a quality system; since you rely on them in times of emergency, you want to know it will work. But how do you choose? 

Consumer Reports suggests answering three questions before choosing a medical system. The first is, do you want a home-based or mobile system? The answer depends on your lifestyle and preferences. The second question is, should your system be monitored or not? Consumer Reports only recommends monitored systems, which means that the call button connects you with someone at a 24/7 dispatching center, rather than automatically dialing a friend or family member from a programmed emergency call list. And finally, should you add a fall-detection feature? It’s a relatively inexpensive add-on ($15 or under per month), but the technology may not be perfect; it may register something as a fall that isn’t, such as stumbling or dropping your phone.

With these choices in mind, one might look at the systems Consumer Reports recommends, or those on The Senior List has a Recommended list. The Senior List makes its recommendations based on four criteria: (1) works as advertised or better, (2) customer service, (3) pricing, and (4) easy to cancel contracts. For 2020, their top 9 medical alert systems were Bay Alarm Medical, MobileHelp, Medical Guardian, Philips Lifeline, LifeFone, LifeStation, ResponseNow, QMedic, and Alert1. Consumer Reports also recommends Bay Alarm, LifeStation, Medical Guardian, MobileHelp, and Philips Lifeline, but they also recommend GreatCall Lively Mobile, Life Alert, Medical Alert, and Rescue Alert.

Bay Alarm is ranked best overall, at $19.95-$29.95 monthly cost (the lowest on this list!) and no equipment fees, with landline and cellular in-home options, a mobile option with 4G LTE coverage, and an in-car medical alert, among other features. The equipment is easy to install and its range of products are appropriate for various situations without being overwhelming. They don’t require long-term contracts, and they allow you to try it for 30-days risk-free. 

MobileHelp is also consistently high quality, in terms of both equipment and customer service. They offer cellular in-home medical alert systems, mobile and GPS systems, and even jewelry or smartwatches. They offer extras like fall detection, medication reminders, and vital sign monitoring. Costs start at $19.95 monthly (with a one-time $49.95 fee for the in-home system, unless you choose an annual plan, in which case that fee is waived). They also have a deal to buy two systems, which is good for couples. They don’t require long-term contracts, and they offer flexible pricing plans.

Finally, before making your purchase, check return policies carefully, especially if you have hearing loss. Read more about The Senior List’s top medical alert systems, including the Medical Guardian, Philips Lifeline, LifeFone, LifeStation, ResponseNow, QMedic, and Alert1, here. Consumer Reports also covered medical alert systems, available here.

If you or a loved one is living at home with care, it is important to consult with an elder law professional to make sure a proper plan is in place that covers your loved one’s care needs and financial needs. We help families plan for the possibility of a loved one needing significant care and would be happy to talk to you about your particular situation.  Just give us a call at 1.800.6605.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com.

New Drug Therapy Gives Hope to Alzheimer’s Prevention

New Drug Therapy Gives Hope to Alzheimer’s Prevention

Researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University recently announced that pharmacological “chaperone therapy” can prevent Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in mice. Alzheimer’s is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that currently has no cure. Abnormal clumps (amyloid-beta plaques) and tangled fiber bundles (neurofibrillary or tau tangles) create brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Loss of connections between neurons that transmit messages to different parts of the brain, and brain to organs and muscles in the body, are compromised. 

A simple example to help imagine the disease is to think of a wadded up ball of pieces of tape stuck together. Excessive amounts of proteins in the brain begin to lose shape and, like a tape ball, stick, and clump together. This clumping stops the transport of the excess proteins to “recycling sites” within the cells. Trapped in the wrong cellular compartment, they accumulate and eventually bog down cellular mechanisms creating significant disruptions. 

To keep the brain’s molecular machinery capable of doing its job sorting through proteins, identifying defective ones, and removing or stabilizing them, scientists developed small drug molecules known as pharmacological chaperones. These chaperones may fulfill a critical role in the prevention of and therapy for Alzheimer’s. The Temple University study cites the journal, Molecular Neurodegeneration, showing that a chaperone drug can productively disrupt the abnormal brain processes that damage neurons and fuel memory loss that ultimately gives rise to Alzheimer’s in animals prone to developing it.

This particular chaperone drug can restore appropriate levels of the sorting molecule called VPS35, permitting the continued moving of proteins out of endosomes, which can be thought of like the sorting stations or recycling sites for damaged proteins allowing for normal cell functioning. Dr. Praticò and colleagues at Temple University who previously had identified how VPS35 actively clears the brain of the harmful proteins amyloid beta and tau most recently have determined that in Alzheimer’s disease, VPS35 levels were significantly reduced. Non-efficient processing of these damaging proteins led to the clumps, or deposits, that interrupt neuron activity, thus contributing to Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders. 

Testing the effects of this pharmacological chaperone on young mice that are engineered to develop Alzheimer’s disease as they age allowed the scientists to check for effects on memory and learning as the mice grew older. The treated animals had far better memory and behaved like normal aging mice when compared to untreated mice that readily progressed into Alzheimer’s symptoms, creating a practical technique of Alzheimer’s disease modification for the first time. The test results were confirmed when researchers examined the neurons from the treated mice that had significantly decreased tau tangles and amyloid-beta plaques. Further analysis showed VPS35 levels to be restored, and neuron synapses were fully functional thanks to the chaperone therapy. 

“Relative to other therapies under development for Alzheimer’s disease, pharmacological chaperones are inexpensive, and some of these drugs have already been approved for the treatment of other diseases,” Dr. Praticòsaid. “Additionally, these drugs do not block an enzyme or a receptor but target a cellular mechanism, which means that there is a much lower potential for side effects. All these factors add to the appeal of pursuing pharmacological chaperone drugs as novel Alzheimer’s treatments.”

Before moving to clinical trials in humans, Dr. Praticò and his colleagues will first investigate the effects of this pharmacological chaperone therapy in older mice as their first study was a preventative investigation. Testing older mice exhibiting Alzheimer’s symptoms can identify if the treatment can work for patients already diagnosed with AD. 

These studies conducted at Temple University and partially funded by the National Institutes of Health grants bring hope to the millions of people who already have Alzheimer’s disease and to the tens of millions who are projected to get the disease. Finding relatively inexpensive prevention and treatment techniques of the illness can bring about amazing changes not only to patients and their families but can lessen the increasing cost burden for caring for Americans with Alzheimer’s.

We help families who have a loved one with Alzheimer’s. We can help create a legal plan that will help protect a loved one’s savings and their home in the event extensive long term care is required. If you would like to learn more, please give us a call at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com.

Ways to Hold Title to Property

Ways to Hold Title to Property
For many people, real property, including their home, is a big part of their overall net worth. How the home and other pieces of real property is titled deserves careful consideration. Real estate constitutes the land and any structure, including vegetation, livestock, crops, and other natural resources that sit on the land under the state’s law. Real estate can be commercial or residentially owned. Ultimately how you hold a property title has far-reaching consequences for liability, and when it comes time for sale or the bequeathing of it as an inheritable asset.

The title is a reference to the document that lists the legal owner(s) of a piece of property and can depict ownership of both personal and real property. Real estate titles are regarded as real property as it is a tangible asset. The title for real property, by law, must be transferred if the asset is sold or inherited and must be clear for the title transfer to take place. A clear title is free of liens or any other encumbrance posing a threat to proper ownership. The most common types of real estate titles are joint tenancy, tenancy in common, tenants by the entirety, sole ownership, and community property. Less common property ownership titles are corporate, partnership, and trust ownership.

Individual name or sole ownership allows for a single person to hold title, even if you are married. If the person becomes mentally or physically incapacitated due to injury or illness, a spouse or family member typically will need to conduct business with regards to your property. Your family member will not be able to do business transactions like refinancing or changing lines of credit, and they will be unable to act until a court appoints someone to act on your behalf. Many people assume if they have a will it will address the problem, yet a will does not go into effect until after you die and is not in effect if you become incapacitated. 

Joint tenants (some may have rights of survivorship) occur when two or more people hold the title to real estate jointly. This type of title is widespread among but not exclusive to married couples. Unmarried couples may also hold joint tenant title as can parents and their adult children. It is a fair, uncomplicated, and free way to hold the title. In the case of a couple, the death of one automatically transfers full ownership to the surviving owner without probate. However, probate is more than likely just to be postponed. In the event the surviving owner dies without adding another owner, or if both owners die at the same time, probate is almost certain to occur before the property can go to the heirs. 

Being a co-owner means that to sell, refinance, or take any action to the property, both owners must agree to the business action. If there is disagreement or in the event your co-owner becomes incapacitated, the court will become involved to resolve the disagreement or to protect the interest of the one who has become incapacitated. Court involvement will occur even in the event the incapacitated owner is your spouse. Joint tenants also expose the property to both of the co-owners obligations and debts. If a creditor successfully sues your co-owner, you could lose your home. In the case a co-owner is not a spouse, there can be income tax or gift tax problems. A will does not control any jointly owned assets, and you may mistakenly disinherit your family when your co-owner inherits your share, particularly in the case of second marriages with children from a previous union.

Tenants in common (TIC) allows for two or more people to hold title to real estate with equal rights during their lifetime to enjoy the property. A tenant in common title creates shares of ownership, and those shares will be distributed as directed in a will upon an owner’s death. In the absence of a will, the property goes to the heirs of the owner. As a tenant in common individually holds title for a respective part of the property, they are at liberty to dispose of said owned property or encumber it at will. Owners of their respective shares are permitted to use their portion of the property as collateral or in financial transactions. They may also be sued or have creditors place liens on only their portion of the property.

Tenants by entirety (TBE) are only permissible if the owners are legally married. This title, for purposes of ownership, treats the couple as one person for legal action and interpretation. Upon the death of one person, the TBE title is transferred in its entirety to the other spouse. This is advantageous as no legal action is necessary upon the death of one’s spouse. It does not require a will and probate is unnecessary.   

Community property is only in effect in nine states (AZ, CA, ID, LA, NV, NM, TX, WA, and WI) and is a form of joint ownership between spouses commonly referred to as community property. When you die, your share of the community property is automatically transferred to your surviving spouse unless your will provides otherwise. Both tenants, by the entirety and community property titles, can find the remaining owner with several new co-owners, who, upon their death, can have their heirs inherit the property. Also, issues of incapacity and lawsuits are magnified if several property owners are trying to reach a consensus about the sale of the property or other business actions. 

Corporate ownership allows a legal entity, a company owned by shareholders, to hold title to property. Partnership Owners can own real estate as a partnership. This title constitutes two or more people who transact business for profit as co-owners. There are also limited partnerships where an investor has limited liability because they do not make management decisions regarding business transactions of the property. In the case of limited liability, a singular general partner will typically be responsible for making business decisions on behalf of the identified limited partners.

Trust ownership, most often in the format of a revocable living trust, is a legal entity that owns the real property, which is managed by a founding or designated trustee on behalf of all trust beneficiaries. In the event you become incapacitated, your named successor trustee can seamlessly take control of your trust without court interference. A successor trustee is legally obligated to follow the instructions put forth in your trust. If you recover from incapacitation, you resume control of your trust. If you were to die, the property would be distributed according to your trust instructions and without probate. Holding real estate in trust ownership has challenges regarding benefits that surround financial and legal liability, managerial influence, and tax considerations. A real estate trust document can provide significant advantages to property owners but only if created by competent legal staff who take into account the complexities surrounding the trust and its interaction with the liabilities listed.

Methods of holding and owning title to real estate property are determined by state law and, as such, must be considered when researching and determining the best method to acquire and hold title to real property where you live. Depending on the complexity of your situation, assessing the best way to title your real estate may require professional real estate, legal and tax guidance. We help clients determine the best way to hold title to property, and whether a trust would be beneficial. Give us a call at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com – we would be happy to help.

Why a Living Will is Important

Why a Living Will is Important

A living will lays out your preferences for life-sustaining medical treatment.  It is often accompanied by a health-care proxy or power of attorney, which allows someone to make treatment decisions for you if you are incapacitated and the living will does not have specific instructions for the situation at hand.  “Living will” and “advance directive” are often used synonymously, but a living will legally only applies after a terminal diagnosis, whereas an advance directive is much more comprehensive and includes the health care proxy.

As of 2017, only around one in three American adults had an advance directive for end-of-life care prepared. Those who are older than 65 are more likely to have an advance directive prepared than those who are younger, as are those have chronic illness more likely than those who are not. People may be unwilling to prepare these documents because they fear that they won’t necessarily reflect their wishes at the time they become relevant; sometimes patients become more willing to undergo treatments they rejected when they were younger as they age and develop medical problems. However, the documents can be changed as long as they are witnessed and potentially notarized (depending on current law). And if you continue to communicate your values with your proxy, they can make decisions based on your most recent preferences. 

So why is a living will important? It reduces ambiguity which can prevent family disputes during what is already a difficult time. It may seem like something that can be put off, but life is unpredictable; one never knows when these documents could become relevant. Furthermore, it needn’t be a hassle. A living will is a straightforward document, however it’s important to work with legal counsel to make sure your beliefs are properly stated. Other health care documents should also be prepared at that time, like a health care power of attorney that designates a person to make health care decisions for you if you are unable. Once you have signed any documents make sure you keep them updated, especially if you change states, and be diligent in communicating with whomever you named to act on your behalf.

If you need a living will or health care power of attorney or already have one that you would like reviewed, give us a call at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com. 

 

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Understanding Gift Taxes

Understanding Gift Taxes

Now that we have passed into a new year, many people will begin to think about making gifts to children and grandchildren in addition to holiday gifts just given.  These are typically larger gifts of cash or marketable securities.  When we make a gift of something to someone else, that is what is called a “gift taxable transaction” – meaning someone has to pay a tax on the making of that gift.  So who pays the tax, and how much is the tax is the subject of this blog post.

The one who is making the gift is often referred to as the “donor.”  The “donee” is the person receiving the gift.  Any gift taxes that may have to be paid upon making the gift are always paid by the donor, not the donee.

The gift tax is simply a tax on the transfer of assets, cash or property, to another without receiving something of equal value. The asset has to be of a certain value for the tax to apply; otherwise, it falls under the gift tax exclusion, either annual or lifetime. If the gift is above a certain value, you will have to fix out a tax form, but you may still be able to avoid the tax.

The value is based on the IRS definition of “fair market value.” If the asset is cash, then the calculation is straightforward: it is what it is. If the asset is a house, then its value is what someone would pay for it if neither buyer nor seller was under duress to commit. And some things which seem not to be gifts on their face may nonetheless be considered such by the IRS, for example, casual loans to friends and families, or naming someone other than a spouse on a bank account. 

The annual gift tax exclusion in 2019 and 2020 applies to assets up to $15,000 in value. It is counted per recipient, meaning you can give up to $15,000 to however many people you like without having to file a gift tax return. It is also per person, so you and your spouse could give up to $30,000 per year without having to file a gift tax return. Note that gifts between spouses are unlimited and don’t generally trigger a gift tax return and that giving money to a nonprofit is a charitable donation and not a gift. Finally, the person receiving the gift usually doesn’t have to report it. 

The lifetime gift tax exclusion is how you avoid the tax, even if you give more than $15,000 per year and have to fill out the form. The gift tax return keeps track of the amount you have given.  In 2019, the lifetime exclusion was $11.4 million; in 2020, it rises to $11.58 million. As with the annual gift tax exclusion, the lifetime exclusion is per person, so married couples can exclude twice the gifted amount. 

The tax only applies once you use up not only the $15,000 exclusion but also the $11 million-plus exclusion. So if you gift someone $50,000 one year, that counts as $35,000 against the lifetime exclusion. If you do manage to use up your exclusions, the rates range from 18% to 40%, paid by the donor. 

However, there are exceptions and special rules for how to calculate the tax, which can be found on IRS Form 709. These apply to things like college tuition and medical bills by allowing you to spread one-time gifts across multiple years’ worth of gift tax returns, or to pay the institution directly to avoid the gift tax return requirement.

If you have questions or would like to discuss your personal estate plan, please don’t hesitate to reach out by calling us as 1.800.660.7564 or by emailing us at info@covertlaw.com.

 

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The SECURE Act of 2020

The SECURE ACT of 2020

Congress has passed a bipartisan appropriations bill. In the contents of this spending bill is a piece of legislation known as the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE), the first significant change in retirement legislation since the Pension Protection Act in 2006. The President signed the Act into law on December 20, and its effective date is January 1, 2020.

The impact of the SECURE Act to some retirees, near-retirees, and their future beneficiaries is profound, and it is imperative to schedule a review of your retirement, estate, and trust plans. Failure to act on the changes brought forward by the SECURE Act can create substantial tax burdens for some beneficiaries and even the possibility that they become locked out of their inheritance for a decade. 

One of the most important provisions of the SECURE Act to understand is the removal of the stretch IRA required minimum distribution (stretch RMD). In essence, the removal will act as a tax revenue generator. This change means many Americans will face a tax increase as non-spouse beneficiaries must spread withdrawals over a maximum of ten years and not the lifetime of the account holder. The removal of the RMD for stretch IRAs is going to create significant problems for certain types of trusts, like the “see-through trust,” that were written before the SECURE Act. Previously, a see-through trust allowed an individual, upon their death, to pass retirement assets of their IRAs via a trust to a chosen beneficiary. If the trust is not updated to match the current SECURE Act language, there could be restrictions in accessing funds to the heirs, which may cause massive tax liabilities down the line.  

Annuities are also affected by the SECURE Act as the legislation will ease restrictions to include them in consumers’ 401(k)s. While this is a positive for lifetime income, the bill also lessens and even removes some of the fiduciary requirements to vet insurance companies and their financial products before allowing them into your 401(k) plan. This change, coupled with a reduction in overall standards the SEC imposed earlier this year, creates an increased likelihood that consumers could experience negative consequences from poorly designed financial products and the possibility of insurance company failure.

According to Forbes, there are eight significant ways the SECURE Act will impact your retirement plans. They include an increase in ability for small employer access to retirement plans, an increase in annuity options inside of retirement plans, an increase in required minimum distribution (RMD) ages, and the removal of age limits on IRA contributions. There is also a tax credit to encourage automatic enrollment into retirement plans through small employers, penalty-free distributions for childbirth or adoption, lifetime income disclosure for defined contribution plans for transparency, and the removal of stretch inherited IRA provisions.

It is imperative as an individual to be responsive to the changes this proposed new law will enact. Currently, estate attorneys, CPAs, and financial advisors are receiving additional training to understand the long-term tax implications of SECURE Act provisions. For those affluent retirees, Kiplinger advises there are five things you can do immediately to respond to the SECURE Act. The first is to delay your IRA distributions if possible, and continue to save but perhaps not in an IRA. Also, consider paying taxes BEFORE your children inherit your IRA. Talk to your financial planner, tax advisor, and revisit your existing estate planning documents to make sure the plans don’t compromise any existing IRAs that will be passed on to your beneficiaries. 

The overall implications of the SECURE Act to your retirement and your estate plan are numerous. Give us a call at 1.800.660.7564 to discuss how we can help make sure your retirement assets pass with as few tax consequences as possible – or email us at info@covertlaw.com.

Gray Divorce is Destroying the Finances of Older Americans

Gray Divorce is Destroying the Lives of Older Americans

Americans aged 50 or more are experiencing gray divorce more than ever. The term gray divorce generally refers to the baby boomer generation and affects all classes and education levels. Research shows that splitting during middle age is particularly damaging to your financial well being. According to Bloomberg News, the US divorce rate for couples past the age of 50 has doubled since 1990 and occurs most often in people who have married and divorced more than once. The rate of divorce among remarried individuals is 2.5 times higher than those in first marriages. And the financial outlook is usually the bleakest for those who have married and divorced more than once. Losing accumulated wealth for a second or third time can ruin personal finances on an unprecedented scale.

As such, relative wealth can be a protective factor in keeping couples together. Midlife marriages are not always torn apart by empty nest syndrome or a late mid-life crisis. Often, divorcing couples are already experiencing financial problems due to unemployment or job insecurity. These couples may not have the resources to enter into marriage counseling and may not see the point in fighting to remain in an unsuccessful economic partnership. Married couples with more to lose in divorce will often keep a less than perfect marriage viable to protect a lifestyle they are unwilling to forfeit. These couples will often live separate lives but maintain the economic structure within the marriage.

Susan Brown, who is co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, explains that if you are getting a divorce after the age of 50, expect your wealth to decrease by 50 percent. Brown goes on to state that the depression rate for those experiencing gray divorce is higher than the levels of those who have experienced the death of a spouse. If you are a woman and going through a gray divorce, expect your standard of living to plunge by 45 percent compared to a man’s 21 percent. One of the biggest financial tragedies of gray divorce is there is no appreciable window of time to recover the wealth you lost. The event horizon of your life is shrinking, and there is no time to undo the financial destruction. Even qualified career individuals will find ageism is rife within the corporate hiring sector. The prospects for landing a great new job or winning a lottery are very bleak. Statistics show you will be most unlikely to recoup your previous standard of living. This fact is particularly true in the case of women aged 63 or more who, in part, are experiencing poverty rates of 27 percent because of gray divorce. The Journal of Gerontology projects that by the year 2030, more than 828,000 Americans will be divorcing each year even if the gray divorce rate stays the same.

What to do if you become a gray divorce statistic then? One of the best ways to recover is to re-partner. Many older people are looking to re-couple and the digital age is providing more ways to meet than ever before. Online dating sites for older Americans are popular as are the more traditional senior community centers to make connections to like-aged people. If you choose to remain un-partnered however, you can expect to take about four years to end the depression cycle of gray divorce. However, remarrying or re-partnering will end the depression almost immediately with the stipulation you have chosen your partner wisely. Generally, re-partnering is more successful if you are a man since they tend to look for a partner who is significantly younger than themselves. As women live longer than men and because men do tend to seek younger women, older women are left with a vastly smaller pool of potential partners. 

Protect your well being and financial interests from gray divorce. Your best hope is to stay successfully married and continue on the path of building wealth and enjoying retirement years. If you find yourself going through a gray divorce, be sure to seek trusted legal counsel who can best advise you on how to protect your assets and future retirement years. Whether you are on your first, second, or third marriage take a look at how best to protect your financial picture in the event gray divorce happens to you. Contact our office today and schedule an appointment to discuss how we can help you with your planning.  Call us at 1.800.660.7564 or email us at info@covertlaw.com.

Everyday Devices that can be Hacked

Everyday Devices That Can Be Hacked

The internet of things (IoT) is responsible for many conveniences via embedded electronic devices, and many seniors are making use of these technologies. It is becoming increasingly common for everyday items like refrigerators, thermostats, and doorbells to be internet-connected making our homes and personal information subject to hacking. A hacker will subvert computer security for malicious purposes. Seniors who employ IoT devices for safety and convenience may be less wary of all the ways their devices can be compromised. If you are a senior or have a loved one who is, it is imperative to have them, or a trusted friend, update software from device manufacturers and routinely monitor their devices. 

A Smart TV provides many hacking opportunities. The problem can be an annoying prankster blasting the volume control, switching channels, or even ordering movies you did not select. Or the hacker can also compromise your security and safety as your Smart TV is a gateway to other internet-connected devices in your home. TV apps can be data mined for credit card payment information since many manufacturers reuse default passwords, and users neglect to change them. Even companies who sell Smart TVs are now post-purchase monetizing the Smart TV by harvesting your information via data collection and using it for advertising and direct sales of entertainment to the consumer.

Digital Thermostats are a great way to keep heating and cooling costs down. However, a hacker who takes control of your thermostat can crank up the heat or cooling until the owner pays a ransom to regain control of the device. An older person can experience health consequences due to extremes temperatures as well as the anxiety and fear it breeds. Baby monitors are often connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network for the convenience of a mobile app to check the display at any time. Many homes use these monitors for seniors instead of small children. Typically, people do not change the default password on the monitor, meaning that it is visible to the network. A hacker can scan transmitting internet protocol or IP addresses (numerical labels assigned to every device that connects to a computer). Once they have your IP data, they can find the baby monitor and watch you or your loved one at any time. For better protection shop for baby monitors that are made to be invisible to scans. If you have a Samsungsmart refrigerator, it can be hacked. The wiring in the fridge leaves the new owner’s Google login credentials out in the wild for a hacker to grab and then infiltrate your home’s IoT devices.

Smart cameras have vulnerability issues allowing a hacker to remotely access audio and video feeds. Be sure to keep track of all of your IoT devices that are network connected. Actively seek out all software and firmware updates for maximum protection against hackers. Smart voice-activated speakers like Alexa, Google, Echo, and many more open up every conversation you have in your home to be monitored by a hacker. Without even being aware, you can divulge sensitive information like doctor appointments, luncheon dates, and upcoming trips. Even your bank account and credit card information can be compromised. If your home security system is connected to your voice-activated speaker, a hacker can turn it off and enter your home.

Even pacemakers are subject to hacking however improbable that might seem. Anyone with bad intentions toward you can remotely change the pace of your heartbeat, which can even result in your death. Implanted medical devices, in general, are now subject to more stringent controls that use code to secure data and instructions in these devices and monitor them in real-time. Talk with your medical professional to know that you are protected against medical hackers.

Default passwords need to change in order to protect your devices from hackers. Most internet-connected devices have simple default passwords, and a search run on the name brand of a device will often yield the manufacturer’s default password. When you change your password, make it very strong, and use unique passwords for each device. Out of convenience, many seniors will use the same password for everything. In this case, if a hacker gets into one device, they can be in all of them if you do not use different passwords.

Cell phones, home Wi-Fi routers, and even landline voicemail are susceptible to hacking. Inexpensive signal-proof cases are good to use for protection when you are out in public. It is possible for a hacker to clone your phone in seconds while standing next to you and they will get everything you store on your phone. Home Wi-Fi routers must be up to date on all software and firmware, and a unique, strong password can help protect you from hackers. Once a hacker gains access, all of your devices connected via the internet of things have been compromised as the router is the nerve center of your digital footprint. Many seniors still like to have a landline telephone and its associated voicemail. Passwords to access voicemail must be very secure, or a hacker can listen in to your conversations as well as delete potentially important messages.

All senior grandparents love pictures of their family to be proudly displayed. Picture frames that are digital and allow you to scroll through photos or change an art display with the swipe of a hand are vulnerable. If your frame becomes hacked, a thief can discern non-active times in your home by the frame’s ambient light sensors and can plan a robbery while you are away.  

Garage door openers are also able to be hacked if you have a newer smart version device. A hacker can monitor garage door activity and identify times when you are not at home. It is very convenient for a burglar to avoid encountering people during a robbery. Be sure to update a manufacturer’s default password setting to something difficult to break, and a would-be robber will move to an easier target.

Cars and Self-driving cars can be hacked. It doesn’t take a lot of equipment to break into and start a vehicle, even disabling the alarm system. Car thieves now employ sophisticated hacking technology, especially when they must bypass the electronic anti-theft systems. If a self-driving car is hacked, the attacker can take direct control over the throttle, brake, and steering while remaining anonymous as to their identity and location creating a very dangerous scenario.

Convenience comes at a cost to your privacy when using the internet of things. Taking the necessary steps to protect your devices from hackers is of paramount importance. Once secure procedures are in place, it is crucial to monitor for suspicious activity that can lead to robbery, electronic banking theft, and more. Taking control of your internet-enabled devices is essential to protect your home and your strategy for aging successfully. No one wants to be victimized by unwanted hackers. If you have questions or would like to talk about your legal needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us by calling at 1.800.660.7564 or by emailing us at info@covertlaw.com. 

Gen Xers Retirement Planning and Longevity

Gen Xers Retirement Planning & Longevity

As Gen Xers enter into their 40s and 50s, it is time for them to become active in the creation and execution of their retirement planning. There are many things to consider, including finances, investments, insurance policies, legal documents, living arrangements, and healthcare. It is advisable to make a detailed checklist within these categories and take action on each item. Meeting with an attorney can help you establish overall goals for your retirement and legacy planning while ensuring the steps you take will lead you to retirement success.

With regards to longevity, things may not be what they seem in the United States. While the world is experiencing an increase in life expectancy, Americans have seen a life expectancy decline for three years in a row. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers this a worrying trend. Assessing life expectancy based on these CDC numbers using their traditional approach is just one part of the equation for Gen X retirement planning because the statistic is derived from birth years while retirement years are calculated from age 65 and beyond. Yes, some Americans are living until the age of 100, and fewer are having heart attacks in their 50s because of prescription medications; however, according to the Smithsonian Magazine, there is “no large extension of adult lifespan in old age.” Making a reasonable estimation of your life expectancy is crucial as it affects planning for how long retirement will likely be and the amount of money needed to cover associated expenses.

MDVIP Health and Longevity Survey reveal that more than half of Gen Xers want to live past 90 years of age, with some wanting to make it to 100, and yet, nearly half have not had a comprehensive medical exam in the past five years. One-third of Generation X avoids going to the doctor at all out of fear of finding something medically wrong. Two-thirds admit they could be doing better when it comes to regular exercise, eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, and managing stress levels. There is good news, however. Generation Xers have a reasonable amount of lifespan left to identify changes that need to be made and implement them. Barring an unforeseen accident or illness, time is still on the Gen Xer’s side to make their retirement a success story. 

The face of retirement has changed. The vision for most retirees is a full life bustling with activity and interpersonal relationships. Semi-retired is how many prefer to see their goal. There are many excellent reasons to keep working beyond age 65. Continuing to earn an income from work is great for health reasons and economic reasons. Generation X will further test the solvency of social security benefits after most of the baby boomer generation will have stressed the federal program to its limits. Staying productive and useful are key elements to financial well being, happiness, and long-term health. Entrepreneurial pursuits and consulting are more accessible than ever with the advent of the World Wide Web online community. Try pursuing or inventing a new career, perhaps something you have always dreamed about doing.

Joint life expectancy, whether married or not, is an important consideration when planning for and working toward retirement goals. According to the Vanguard Groupa heterosexual Gen X couple where both partners are age 50, the female partner has a 50 percent chance of reaching 85 years of age while her male counterpart only a 38 percent chance of reaching that same age. Since the couple is most likely to pass away at different times, factoring in the longevity of the surviving partner is crucial to planning. When extending longevity retirement scenarios understand that what is discretionary spending for fun in your 70s and 80s may shift to cover increasingly extensive medical aid and expenses in your 90th decade and possibly beyond. A financial planner can help you to create scenarios that will accommodate repurposing of monies.

We welcome the opportunity to work with you on your retirement goals to help create a legal plan that supports those goals.  Email us at info@covertlaw.com or call us at 1.800.660.7564. 

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Covert | Law

Your Plan. Your Family. Their Future.

- - We Take Care of Families: Today - Tomorrow - Forever - -

NEIL R. COVERT, Attorney at Law

Clearwater - Sarasota - Fort Myers - Naples

1.800.660.7564

email: info@covertlaw.com

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