Adopted in 2008, the third week in October is designated as National Estate Planning Awareness Week to bring attention to the importance of estate planning. An often overlooked aspect of financial wellness, according to the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils, it is estimated that 56% of Americans do not have an up-to-date estate plan in place.
Estate planning—it is an incredibly important tool and it is not just for the uber wealthy or those thinking about retirement. On the contrary, estate planning is something every adult should do. Estate planning can help you accomplish any number of goals, including appointing guardians for minor children, choosing healthcare agents to make decisions for you should you become ill, minimizing taxes so you can pass more wealth onto your family members, and stating how and to whom you would like to pass your estate on to when you pass away. Read More ›
After seven-plus months and with little end in sight to the pandemic, adults responsible for their elderly parents and other senior caretakers continue to do their best to protect the most-vulnerable as the threat and uncertainty looms. Read More ›
On October 6, 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services ("MDHHS") issued an emergency order (the "MDHHS Order") that retains many of the same requirements that apply to residential care facilities under the previously issued executive orders. As noted in a prior blog post, the Michigan Supreme Court recently held that Governor Whitmer did not have authority after April 30, 2020 to issue or renew any executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the same requirements will continue to apply to residential care facilities under the MDHHS Order. The MDHHS Order became effective immediately, and will remain in effect through October 30, 2020 (and may be renewed through a subsequent order). Read More ›
It is no secret that 2020 has been a whirlwind. Over the past six-plus months, the pandemic has been especially difficult for seniors as many continue to shelter in place, away from friends and family. Read More ›
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to realize the need to create a plan for if the worst should happen. One of the most important components for ensuring a smooth process after death is executing a will. A will provides the will-maker (referred to as the “testator”) with directions to a personal representative for the administration and distribution of the testator’s estate after the testator dies. Read More ›
The current pandemic has caused massive shutdowns across the country. Businesses have closed and unemployment rates have soared. Without a stable source of income, some soon find themselves in debt. Any sign of relief such as a phone call or email saying that their debts can be reduced or forgiven altogether is a welcome one. Read More ›
Estate planning is considered by many to apply only to the wealthy and who have numerous assets. But preparing for the future is a common-sense habit for people of all income levels, and can save your loved ones in time and money in the long run. The current pandemic crisis has many people huddled down and looking at issues that had previously not occurred to them. Read More ›
The final post for National Elder Law month is focused on communication. The key to making senior care work both at home and in the workplace is thoughtful, honest and open communication. Don't know where to start? Watch "How to Talk to Your Loved Ones About Elder Law and Preplanning". It can be helpful to think about what it is like to be in the other person's shoes. Seniors, remember the challenges you faced when taking care of your own parents. Adult children, take some time to think about how you hope your children will treat you when the time comes. Also remember that planning takes time and often many revisions. It is not realistic to resolve everything in just a few conversations. Take small steps.
Communication is also important when it comes to caretakers in the workplace. Adult children are often juggling careers, their personal life, and senior care. Employers and employees alike need to consider and understand the challenges each faces. In "Employers and Caregiving Employees", Foster Swift elder law attorneys provide perspective on how having open dialogue and clear communication of policies can have a positive impact on the work environment for everyone.
Medicaid planning is a hot topic among seniors and their families. Foster Swift attorneys Matt Fedor and Nic Camargo offer an excellent overview of what Medicaid planning is, key considerations before developing a plan and how to formulate and implement a plan in their National Elder Law Month Video "What I should Know About Medicaid Planning."
Scams directed toward seniors sadly remain another hot topic. Even during the COVID-19 crisis, it's unfortunately common to watch the news and see a heart-breaking story about a senior who has been targeted by a criminal. While many of these crimes are not violent, they rob our senior friends of their funds, their property and often most hurtfully, their dignity. Foster Swift's article on "How to Spot the Red Flags of Financial Elder Abuse" is a good refresher for all of us, young, old, and in between, on how to keep the seniors in our lives safe.
National Elder Law month traces its history to 1963 when President John F. Kennedy issued Proclamation 3527, declaring the month of May "Senior Citizens Month" and proclaiming that all "informational and educational means should be used" to pave the way for older Americans to have equal opportunities and lead "useful and satisfying lives." In 1980, President Carter changed the name to "Older Americans Month" and in 1988 with a focus on improving the quality of legal services provided to people as they age, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys established May as "National Elder Law Month."
In keeping with the spirit behind National Elder Law Month, Foster Swift attorneys Matt Fedor and Nic Camargo have prepared articles and videos to help you and your family navigate the elder law landscape.
The first video, "What is Elder Law Planning", is a great starting point and a helpful reminder that elder law is much more than estate planning. We also encourage you to check out Foster Swift's Elder Law Resource Page here and you can also access attorney Jay David's book Estate Planning: You Have to Start in Order to Finish.
Due to the shock of the death of a spouse or a loved one, the steps of what needs to be done first can be an overwhelming process for the survivor(s). To aid in the breakdown and to act as a tool amidst the emotional days ahead, estate planning Jonathan "Jay" David has assembled a "Survivor's Checklist" of some of the important things that need to be addressed when a spouse or loved one dies.
COVID-19 Checklist & Elder Organizer Tool
For adult children responsible for their elderly parents and other senior caretakers concerned about protecting loved ones as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, below is a free downloadable checklist of steps to follow to prepare for any possible COVID-19-related illnesses among the most-vulnerable.
Foster Swift has created a free ‘Elder Organizer’ digital notebook to provide seniors and their caretakers with a toolkit that helps organize doctors’ appointments, medications, and more that can be shared online. The tools below are also available on the Elder Law Resources page.
*For those trying to access these links by smartphone, it is best practice to copy/open the link in a separate tab and download the free Google Sheets app from Google Play or the Apple Store.
- Dementia & Alzheimer's
- Long-Term Care
- Alerts and Updates
- VA Aid & Attendance
- Personal Property Tax
- Digital Assets
- Fraud & Abuse
- Legislative Updates
- Senior Exploitation & Abuse
- Powers of Attorney
- Health Care Reform
- Medicaid Planning
- Elder Law
- Financing Long-term Care
- Estate Planning
- Did you Know?
E-book Covers Estate Planning Essentials
Engaging in estate planning, while essential, is often emotional and generates many questions. How do I protect my spouse and my children if something happens to me? What happens if I become disabled before I pass on? Who will take care of my pet after I'm gone? How do I pass my business on to my children? These questions and more are addressed in Jonathan David’s recently updated e-book, “Estate Planning: You Have to Start in Order to Finish.”
Need Help Planning?
For more tools, visit our Elder Law Resource page for additional content. Click here to view/download the Foster Swift estate planning brochure to see what our experienced team of attorneys can do for you.
Meet the Team
Watch attorney Matthew Fedor explain a brief overview of elder law and how it can help either your or your loved ones.