Dec 09, 2016
“By Rick Law, estate planning attorney and senior advocate at the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law in Western Chicagoland in Illinois.
Love and marriage is wonderful, but for senior citizens it raises very different issues than it does for the young and newly married.
One obvious issue is the fact that most seniors already have adult children, and many of those adult children are quite vocal in their concern about their mother or father becoming involved in a new love life.
Before mom or dad get married, many children want to make sure that their inheritance is protected. To that end, many seniors use wills or trusts which direct that assets go to “my kids and grandkids,” or create pre-marriage-property-settlement agreements (pre-nuptial contracts) which require that the pending bride or groom give up any interest in their new spouse’s assets.
Despite these attempts to safeguard assets for the original families, there is another hidden danger to the family wealth whenever a senior chooses to wed. A trust or pre-nuptial agreement does not protect the assets of one spouse from being drained to pay for an ill spouse’s medical costs, including long-term care costs.
The “Common Law of England” required long ago that husbands and wives be legally responsible to pay for each others’ necessaries, and our own government adopted that requirement. Included in those “necessaries” are food, housing, and yes: healthcare. This includes the cost of care when someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or any other long-term illness.
To protect themselves from this hidden drain on a lifetime of earnings, healthy vigorous seniors who are considering getting “hitched” must consider the wisdom of purchasing long-term care insurance and perhaps engaging an elder law attorney to assist them with longevity planning. All this must take place before your marriage, so that you have some idea of what your real risks are.
Elder law attorneys have many creative legal solutions that go beyond the traditional estate planner’s basic will and trust, which merely deal with the distribution of your assets at the time of your death, avoidance of probate, and minimization of estate taxes.
If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free. We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family. Call now.
Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.
Rick has been named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for the past 8 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!
“You don’t have to leave your family a lot of money. You really don’t have to leave them anything.
Just don’t leave them a mess.
Law Hesselbaum has made sure we won’t leave our family with a mess.”
M. C., Client of Law Hesselbaum and Law Elder Law