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With Special Steps for Those Living With Chronic Illness

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With Special Steps for Those Living With Chronic Illness By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, PFS, AEP, JD.

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1 With Special Steps for Those Living With Chronic Illness
Estate Planning in 12 Steps With Special Steps for Those Living With Chronic Illness By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, PFS, AEP, JD

2 Introduction to the 12 Steps
Every person is unique – it has to be your plan and address your challenges Reflect your personal wishes and circumstances Create a strong foundation of documents, steps and a plan to build upon

3 Action Step: 12 Steps Begin by Informing Your Advisors
Chronic illness affects every aspect of estate and related planning – don’t use “standard” documents or planning steps You must explain your circumstances to all of your advisers or they will not be able to guide you Larry’s story Those not touched by chronic illness don’t understand the symptoms (96% are invisible), disease course, variability between diseases and among those affected by a particular disease

4 Step 1: Organize Emergency Information and Your Advisors
Contact People (names, numbers) Financial Information (account information) Passwords and Security Codes Documents (Estate planning documents, legal documents, and more) Budget and Plan

5 Action Steps: Emergency Info #1
Type up a list on your computer so you can update it Disseminate the list to key people, ask for their help and tell them what they might need to do to help Each professional adviser should have the list in their file

6 Action Steps: Emergency Info #2
Organize the list by category (e.g., banking, religious adviser, professional advisers, family, neighbors) Give only the key facts someone will need to act in an emergency (person name, institution, insurance, office/home and cell number, , etc.) List info needed for emergency action (e.g., account number, policy number, etc.)

7 Step 2: Designate a Person to Handle Financial and Legal Issues
Power of Attorney Agent (Successors) Compensation Begin date (Trigger) Powers (Authority) Durability (Disability)

8 Action Steps: Power of Attorney
Choose a trusted agent and several successors Hire a lawyer to draft powers that work for your disease course and financial situation Discuss modifications to standard forms: Limited power for short term hospitalizations and broad power for permanent disability) Compensation Definition of disability Sign several originals, distribute them, organize and simplify assets so an agent can act easily and safely Create a monitor relationship

9 Medical Power of Attorney
Step 3: Designate a Person to Make Health Care Decisions and Access Medical Records Health Care Proxy Medical Power of Attorney Agent (successors) Powers (religion) Signature (State law) Move (state; facility)

10 Action Steps: Health Care Proxy
Choose an agent and several successors who understand your health situation and wishes Hire a lawyer to draft a health proxy that accomplishes your personal goals Sign several originals, distribute them, be sure one is included in your medical chart Discuss your decisions with family, friends and agents

11 Step 4: Communicating Your Health Care Wishes
Prepare a Living Will

12 Action Steps: Living Will
Review and consider personal wishes that should be reflected, e.g. religious observances, care instructions Hire a lawyer to draft a living will that communicates your personal decisions Discuss modifications to forms: Organ donations – e.g., CNS to foster MS research; Experimental or non-traditional treatment; Pain relief Sign several originals, distribute them, be sure one is included in your medical chart Discuss your decisions with family, friends and agents

13 Step 5: Protect Your Minor Child With an Emergency Child Medical Form
Disclose child’s care information

14 Action Steps: Protecting Children
Review all aspects of protecting your children with your advisers Trustees under a revocable trust while you are alive and disabled and trustees and guardians under your will to provide care Financial planning – 529 plans, resources Personal letter of instruction Directions in your power of attorney

15 Step 6: Sign a Will A legal document to designate
where your assets should be distributed in the event of death

16 Action Steps: Sign a Will
Wills are important but if you’re facing a progressive chronic illness it is only one step of many and perhaps not the most important step Include personal letters of instruction Consider trusts for minor children Include a donation to charities that have helped you – even modest donations send an important “thank you”

17 Step 7: Create a Revocable Living Trust
Establish a personalized (not boilerplate) living trust Transfer assets to a trust during your lifetime Probate and intestacy Manage assets during disability or illness

18 Action Steps: Revocable Living Trust
See comments for “Wills” above and coordinate Boilerplate Trusts designed to avoid probate won’t accomplish your goals Focus of document should be protecting you and communicating your wishes as your disease progresses Tailor trustee replacement, disability and other provisions to the nuances of your anticipated disease course

19 Step 8: Be Sure Your Insurance Coverage is in Order
Property and casualty insurance Long term coverage Disability income replacement Life insurance Liability

20 Action Steps: Insurance Coverage
Don’t make assumptions – get every insurance coverage reviewed at least every 2 years Evaluate options – Can you convert term life insurance to a permanent policy? Can you sell life insurance in the secondary market to free up cash? Standard may not work – do you need a rider for home health workers or home improvements?

21 Step 9: File Beneficiary Designations and Confirm Title to Accounts
Standard provisions are not always adequate Coordinate with Revocable Trust What powers should agent have Give copies to your advisers Update when banks merge Revise when tax laws change

22 Action Steps: Beneficiary Designations
Consider all beneficiary designations: life insurance, pensions, IRAs, brokerage accounts and more Obtain copies of the forms you filed and blank forms to facilitate revision Have family members who name you as beneficiary consider a trust for you

23 Step 10: Give Back Demonstrate important values to heirs
Thank those that have helped Inspire others to give

24 Action Steps: To Give Back
Make a donation (cash, stuff, insurance) Include a bequest in your will – even small bequests can make a big statement Write a heartfelt letter of instruction to heirs and thanks to those that have helped Inspire others to give that have the wherewithal to do so

25 Step 11: Communicate Educate and inform your fiduciaries
Preparation of beneficiaries Having a real conversation is one of the most important steps you can take

26 Action Steps: Communicate
Explain your finances, family, care, disease, and so forth to your advisers – tell all so they can help properly Discuss with family, friends or others involved in your life what help you might need Can those you expect to rely on really help? Have alternatives Express your wishes in face to face meetings and then confirm key points in writting

27 Step 12: Review, Revisit, Revise
Nothing remains static Tax and property laws Family situations Assets and net worth Health

28 Make an Action Plan And Get Started

29 Protect yourself and your loved ones

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