Between work and family, our busy lives often leave little time to focus on our own personal affairs, especially those related to our aging. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of stepping back to assess whether or not you’re adequately prepared.
White Plains, NY (PRWEB) May 09, 2014
For more than 50 years, the month of May has been designated as a time to recognize the nation’s senior population. In honor of National Older Americans Month, elder law attorney Anthony J. Enea, managing partner at Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP in White Plains and Somers, N.Y., is offering tips to help those in or approaching their elder years to take a proactive role in planning for the future.
“Between work and family, our busy lives often leave little time to focus on our own personal affairs, especially those related to our aging,” said Anthony Enea, who has spent three decades protecting the rights of seniors, the disabled and their families. “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of stepping back to assess whether or not you’re adequately prepared.”
The first step in preparation, according to Enea, is to physically organize your affairs. Locate and separate into folders all of the most important legal documents executed over the years. These include the original Last Will and Testament as well as any trusts, advanced directives, property deeds, mortgages and notes, insurance policies, bank and investment records, income tax returns, passports, birth certificates, and military discharge records.
“While organizing these documents will be a time consuming process, it allows you to revisit many matters you may have not paid attention to for a number of years,” he said. “After your affairs are in order, ensure all documents are up to date and reflect your present financial circumstances and wishes.”
An extremely important document to have as one ages is the Durable Power of Attorney. It is most important that the Power of Attorney be Durable (surviving your subsequent incapacity) and sufficiently broad to protect and preserve your assets in the event of your incapacity. Enea suggests a Durable Power of Attorney with as many powers as possible (including broad gifting powers) to avoid potentially unnecessary guardianship proceedings.
Should a crisis arise, a comprehensive list of professionals involved in your personal affairs will prove an invaluable tool for family and/or loved ones. Include names, addresses and phone numbers for your attorney, CPA (and/or insurance professionals) as well as your physicians, therapists, pharmacies and other health care providers.
Another recommendation is to keep at least eight years of financial and bank records. “Many families are unable to locate all of the bank and financial accounts their loved ones have at a time of illness or death,” noted Enea. “Additionally, if you need to apply for Medicaid to cover your possible stay in a nursing home, you will need the last five years of all bank and investment account statements and records.”
While no one plans to have a stroke or heart attack, develop Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or dementia, long-term care is a reality for millions across the country. It is critical to review what steps you have taken to protect your life savings from these potential costs. In Westchester County, for example, the average private cost of 24/7 care at home is $7,000 to $10,000 per month. This is significantly less expensive than a nursing home, which is typically $140,525 to $155,125 per year.
“Long-term care planning requires foresight and recognition of the fact that it is possible that you may suffer a debilitating and chronic illness,” said Enea. “The purchase of long-term care insurance should be strongly considered. Additionally, utilization of a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust should be high on the list of available planning options for anyone approaching or over age 65.”
Named Westchester County’s Leading Elder Care Attorney at the 2013 Above the Bar Awards, Mr. Enea is the immediate past chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Elder Law Section. His practice areas include elder law; Medicaid planning and applications; special needs planning; wills, trusts and estates; guardianships and estate litigation.
Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP is located at 245 Main Street in White Plains, N.Y. with additional offices in Somers, N.Y. Elder law attorney Anthony J. Enea can be reached at 914-948-1500 or a.enea(at)esslawfirm(dot)com. For the latest news, visit Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano online at http://www.esslawfirm.com or the firm’s blog, westchesterelderlawblog.wordpress.com.
About Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP
Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP is an AV preeminent rated elder law firm with offices in White Plains and Somers, N.Y. The practice concentrates on Elder law; Medicaid Planning, Applications and Law; Medicare Law; Wills, Trusts and Estates; Guardianships; Estate Litigation; Supplemental Needs Trusts; and Special Needs Planning. Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP serves Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, the Bronx, Manhattan, Long Island and Queens and is committed to providing the highest quality legal services to seniors and the disabled. Visit the firm online at http://www.esslawfirm.com and http://www.westchesterseniors.com.