Grandparenting – Part 1

We have a grandson who will soon be 4. He lives less than a mile from us, so we spend at least 1 afternoon/evening a week with him. No matter what mood I am in, even a good one, he always makes it better. He is the most interesting person I know.

He soaks up everything, doesn’t forget anything (except occasionally to clean up), and has a vivid imagination. Each week, our house becomes haunted and has ghosts and dinosaurs and pirates running through it. We have treasure hunts, which consist of him taking a bunch of pennies, which become chocolate coins. They get well hidden (mostly dropped at various points on the bedroom carpet), and lest I can’t find them, he goes ahead of me to help me find them. Still, Mom-Mom and I (Pop-Pop) find chocolate coins throughout the room for the next couple of days.

He is obsessed with, of all things, yard work and construction equipment. Weather permitting, we are out in the yard, where he uses his leaf blower and weed whacker (2 sticks which he found in the yard, but which are now kept in the same place every week so he can find and use them). He also loves the sandbox I built for him, and we get out the sandbox toys, including the usual and a couple of pieces of heavy equipment. Every time he wants me to build sand castles, and every time he promises he won’t destroy them, and every time he destroys them as soon as they are built!

What I like best of all is the way he likes to play with me. I pick him up on the way home from work, so when we get home we always go up to my bedroom so I can change my clothes. Our game consists of him having me lie on the bed, usually under the covers, so I can hide with the stuffed animals from our various home invaders. Who could ask for a better game than that?

He also likes to play hide and seek, but he is a very bad hider! He will hide in the closet, or more often under a blanket on the floor (who could find a blanket with a big lump under it!), and as soon as you come near, he is squirming and giggling.

His latest thing is to arrest Mom-Mom or me. Usually, Mom-Mom can get out of jail pretty quickly, because she has to make dinner. Jail is the first-floor bathroom, and he makes us sit in the dark. I now know to keep my Kindle handy, so when he takes me to jail, I just grab it and take it along for free reading time until he springs me.

Though shy, he is extremely polite, and he warms up to others quickly. In short, he is an absolute delight to be around, and the most interesting person I know.

Bill Poole

If you want to protect your family and all your loved ones, get your estate planning taken care of today.  Join us for one of our upcoming workshops.  You can discover more about them by clicking here.

special needs planning york pa

Special needs planning


Bellomo and Associates recently did a Facebook live event for special needs families to help them understand the importance of planning for their children with special needs. It was a live two-hour presentation that also hosted a full group of people in the workshop room at Bellomo and Associates.  The event was a huge success, and we have received great feedback from the special needs community about its positive impact on the families.

We do weekly estate planning and Medicaid preparation workshops in our office, and typically do about eight workshops a month in our office, and about another two to four a month out in the community.  However, we rarely have the opportunity to do a full two-hour presentation for families, and this recent event provided that. I give presentations to groups all over the country, but I was especially excited about this event. I enjoyed the process of creating the program and completely new PowerPoint slides in order to be able to give a full two-hour presentation on the topic.  

Families with children who have special needs often do not know where to turn to receive information about public benefits and what happens if their children have too much money or if a family member wants to leave a child with special needs money upon death.  The landscape is often confusing and overwhelming. Thus, when Jessica from Easter Seals asked us to do this event, we jumped on the opportunity.

The presentation itself covers everything on the basics from powers of attorney to guardianships, as well as about how to give money to a child with special needs in a way that will not disqualify the child from government benefits. It also covers how people with special needs can have money of their own and still be able to continue benefits and also potentially continue to receive money or other inheritances and such. We received great questions from both the live audience and the Facebook live community, and have gotten great feedback since the event as well.  

Because we want other families with children with special needs to be able to benefit from this event as well, we are leaving the recording of the live event on our Facebook page so it can be watched in the future. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed presenting it.  

If you or somebody you know has a child with special needs, please watch the video, and contact us if you have any further questions. We will be happy to meet with you.  Just contact us by clicking here.

Jeffrey Bellomo, Esq.

The Power of The "Power of Attorney"

When my mom first asked me to prepare medical and financial power-of-attorney documents, I honestly thought she was being overly cautious. I lead a pretty adventurous life; as a diver and archaeologist, I have the opportunity to do pretty amazing things in pretty spectacular places.

I’ve gone to fairly deep depths in far-away places without hospitals. I’m out of the country once a year, if not more. Considering that I have a bad track record of getting hurt, there’s really no wonder why she’s always about one step away from a heart attack.

So to put her mind at ease, I told her that I would fill them out. As I lived out-of-state, my stepfather had to draw up North Carolina power of attorney documents and send them with me after the Christmas holiday….where they sat in my drawer for about six months, untouched and blank. Between school, work, and being out of the country, I just felt I never had the time to do it. But finally, if only to get her to stop nagging me, I made an appointment with the school’s notary public.

I quickly read over the papers, asked my friend Maddie to come with me as a witness, and we walked into the notary office. The notary read over the paperwork thoroughly, and found the one thing I overlooked – I needed a second witness. So, he ducked into the hallway and asked his co-worker to come into the office and be another witness. The co-worker scanned the paperwork and after reading a specific section, said “I don’t think I can be a witness. It states that she has to be of sound mind, and I don’t know her, so how can I say she is of sound mind?” He left the office unwilling to sign, and along the way, tells every other co-worker that little stipulation, and discourages them from signing as well. Seriously.

I knew of two other friends who worked nearby, and frantically called them. No answer. Maddie encouraged me to call our boss at the Dive Office which was a five minute walk away. I gave him a call, explained the bizarre situation, and cashed in a few favors. Thankfully, he walked into the office a few minutes later and watched me sign the papers. Unfortunately, there was one final hiccup.

As the notary continued to read the papers, he noticed that North Carolina requires a witness to the witnesses signing the documents. Even though it was just a witness to the witnesses, the notary’s co-worker still refused to act as a witness. At this point, Maddie and my boss are laughing at the insanity of the situation while I’m banging my head against the table in frustration. Luckily, my boss knew one of the desk workers out front and pulled her in to be our witness. I think I’ve used up all my favors with him. Finally, the papers were signed.

Reading this, you’re probably thinking “That sounds far too complicated!” Was it entirely longwinded and torturous? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes. Not only does it put my family at ease, but it’s also worth it to know that my requests will be honored if I’m hurt, whether it be in a far-away country or right outside my front door. Not only do I have my affairs in order, but this completely convoluted process encouraged my boss to do the same. He told me that he and his wife didn’t have anything like this prepared and that watching a 26 year old do it was eye-opening. Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime – it’s much better to be prepared than not.

Stephanie Soder, Daughter – Michelle Poole

If you have questions or concerns regarding your estate planning or even just creating a Power of Attorney, join us for one of our upcoming workshops.  Just click here now to choose a day and time that work best for you.  

Thank you for the guest blog Stephanie and sharing your story!

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

Why preplan a funeral?

We are often asked whether or not people should preplan their funerals, and my response is always (with a smile on my face), “Absolutely, assuming you love your family”. This is an the important conversation to have. Many professionals recommend preplanning a funeral because it will often be cheaper in today’s dollars than it will be in the future.

Others recommend it because it is a legitimate spend-down for Medicaid purposes and other critical technical reasons. Those are good reasons, but the main reason that I recommend it is simply because it is a burden that you don’t want your family to have to go through at the time of your passing.

If you take the time today to think about all of those tough decisions, it is one less thing that your family has to think about in that horrific moment when they learn that you are no longer with them.

While it might now seem like a big deal today, I assure you that when we were looking at caskets knowing that mom picked out the exact casket that she wanted with the rose trim somehow made things just a little easier. Whether the reason you want to plan is for financial reasons or for convenience for your family, the bottom line is that it is a real gift that you can give your loved one.

I recommend that the next holiday or other occasion when your family is in town, bring it up and say that you want to get it done for peace of mind for the family and for you, and I’m willing to bet that your family will thank you.

Jeffrey Bellomo

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