Your Family Name

What is the most valuable thing you own? Is it your house, a car, or maybe that boat you saved for?

Some things are just more important than any of those material items. My parents gave me this poem when I was just a kid. I cherished that plaque and still keep it in a safe place these many years later. I hope you’ll agree that this gift is among your most valuable.

 

Your Family Name – by Nelle A. Williams

You got it from your father
It was all he had to give
So it’s yours to use and cherish
For as long as you may live

If you lost the watch he gave you
It can always be replaced
But a black mark on your name
Can never be erased

It was clean the day you took it
And a worthy name to bear
When he got it from his father
There was no dishonor there

So make sure you guard it wisely
After all is said and done
You’ll be glad the name is spotless
When you give it to your son

I cherish the plaque with this poem. Thank you Mom and Dad for sharing this with me. I am proud of the Bellomo name and what it means.

Jeffrey Bellomo

Alzheimer’s Disease

I was recently reading an article in the USA Today about a report from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) entitled “Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia Cases That Double by 2060.” The title alone certainly surprised me and grabbed my attention and the article did that and more.

The article said that in 2014, there were five million people in the United States with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The CDC estimates that by 2060 that number will grow to 13.9 million.  

As an estate planning and elder law attorney, I present weekly in the community about the importance of powers of attorney and making sure that all of your financial and medical decisions can be taken care of by another individual in the event that you are not able to take care of them for yourself.  

I often feel that the information is falling on deaf ears as more times than not people reply that they’re too young and that it won’t happen to them. The article made me realize that not only has this been something that I have seen time and time again in my practice, but the statistics say that it is now something that is going to occur with a higher frequency as time goes by.  

Please put your oxygen mask on first as the airline stewardess tells you to do, and get yourself a written financial and medical power of attorney.  If these statistics are true, it is increasingly likely that this will happen to one of us. Be prepared and protect your family and your loved ones so that decisions can still be made for you even if Alzheimer’s or dementia.

If you want to join us in the cause to fight this horrible disease consider walking with us on Saturday, October 20th.  You can click here to walk or donate to the cause: http://act.alz.org/site/TR?team_id=496681&fr_id=11501&pg=team

Jeffrey Bellomo

Veterans’ Benefits

Thank you to all Veterans for your service. Words cannot adequately express our gratitude to anybody who has served or is serving in our military.

There are a few possible benefits to which veterans are entitled through the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA), and the York County Department of Veteran’s Affairs office is an amazing resource. Terry Gengdron and his team are more than willing and able to assist you with all of the benefits available to veterans. They take their jobs very seriously; I am honored to call them my friends, and can’t thank them enough for the service that they do for veterans.

One benefit that we elder law attorneys typically see more than some of the others is the Aid & Attendance benefit, which is available to all veterans who served at least 90 days, one day of which was during active war time, or the surviving spouse of such veteran. The veteran did not have to serve in a combat zone, just have been in the service during the specified periods of war.

There is also an income test, which basically provides that the veteran’s income must be less than the cost they are paying for their care. The final test is an asset test, the basic rule for which is that the assets cannot exceed $80,000 although there are a number of other factors that go into the calculation.  

The amount of a benefit to a veteran is approximately $2200 a month, and the amount to a surviving spouse is about $1100 a month. While these amounts are not huge, they can be very helpful at a time when a veteran needs assistance with in-home care or care at a personal care or assisted living facility or a nursing home. This benefit can help offset some costs of care, and help the veteran breathe a little easier. Veterans are incredible people who have made great sacrifices in defense of our country, and this benefit is just a small way to help repay that service. If you are a veteran and you are starting to get to a point in your life where you are needing assistance, whether it is in the home or in one of those other facilities please contact the VA to learn more.

The full details of these benefits can easily be found on the internet, as well as by contacting the York County Department of Veteran’s Affairs at 28 East Market Street in York, Pennsylvania. We also provide a good bit of information about these benefits at our workshops which we offer weekly at Bellomo and Associates. Our workshop schedule is on our website, or you can call us at 717-845-5390.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your Veterans’ Benefits, consider filling our our simple form here and we’ll be in touch.

To Drive or not To Drive

Let’s hope all of us are fortunate enough to have our parents and grandparents live to ripe old ages. We all benefit from their wisdom, love, and from their advice. Sometimes, however, old age does not come quietly. With old age, we are sometimes faced with difficult decisions related to finances, living situations, and the very common issue of whether it’s time to hang up the keys to the car.

It is understandable why someone would not want to give up what they consider their key to independence. Driving means getting places when you want and not having to rely on others. It also serves as a sign that perhaps some of your youth has gone. Factors which often affect the ability to drive could include diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and vision issues.

Many adult children caregivers of older parents ask if they have a legal responsibility to “take” the car keys from an older parent to prevent an accident from happening. From a legal perspective, adult children are probably not responsible for the actions of their older parents. There are, of course, always extenuating circumstances to consider, so legal consultation is wise. The real question is, do adult children have a moral responsibility to help their older parents not put themselves and others in danger when their driving skills are diminished?

Resources to help in resolving this dilemma include your parent’s doctor, attorney, clergy, or even the Department of Motor Vehicles in the state where your parent is licensed. It is important to know, however, that a significant conflict could occur if you choose to go “over your parent’s head “ for assistance.

What is important is protecting your parent and others without causing a real riff between you and him or her. However, also remember, there is a difference between legal responsibility and moral responsibility.

This is a major issue for so many people. It’s important that we consider all the factors before we make a decision.

If you want to get started making sure that your estate planning is taken care of once and for all, consider joining us for one of our upcoming workshops.  Just click here to pick the date that works best for you!

Jeffrey Bellomo, Esq.

Should I use a retirement calculator?

Many clients ask me if they should use a retirement calculator, and my answer is always the same….

No.  

Although retirement calculators are great tools, I think that it is very important for people to not only get an answer from a calculator but also understand the why and the details behind what the numbers actually mean.

Financial professionals such as financial advisors and certified financial planners are able to assist you with the biggest decision of your life, which is do I have enough to retire? Although it is great that a retirement calculator will be able to give you a by-the-numbers answer, I believe that the professional advice that you will receive from a financial professional far outweighs the answer on a calculator.

Too often in our society, we look for the easiest and cheapest way to do things, but forget that there are professionals who are trained to assist us with our most important life decisions. Please take the time to call your financial professional, or, if you don’t have one, please locate one, as they will be able to guide you and provide invaluable advice about you, your family, and your future.  

A calculator just gives a number; you need the skillful advice that goes behind it.

If you want to get started on the right path to getting your estate planning taken care of once and for all, just click here now and RSVP for our next upcoming workshop.  Then we can work with your financial advisor together to make certain your assets re protected.

Jeffrey Bellomo, Esq.

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