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My Loved One Wants To Stay Home, But We Are Open To The Possibility Of Other Arrangements

We often make recommendations to local handymen to be able to make changes or adaptations to the home, and we certainly have numerous referral sources for medical and non-medical care in the York, Lancaster, and surrounding areas.  We are very lucky to have as many wonderful resources as we do, and we certainly like to take advantage of each and every one of them to allow people to remain in their home. 

One thing that has definitely become more of the norm recently is people moving into independent living communities such as 55-plus communities or personal care and assisted living facilities that have independent care options as well as the continuing care communities. 

One thing that we often hear from our clients after they move is that they wish they would’ve moved much sooner.  We often hear them explain that they believe that they wanted to remain home at all costs because they believed that that was the right thing for them but once they moved into a community, they realized the social aspects of living with others and being able to participate in community activities, bus trips, and other engaging and meaningful opportunities.  I have honestly never had a client come into my office who moved who said I shouldn’t have done that.  Typically it is I wish I would’ve done it sooner so that I could’ve enjoyed those opportunities much more.  

My advice to clients is that you should start looking at the options and opportunities while you are healthy and could enjoy them.  Start taking tours and talk to people who live in the communities to learn about the socialization opportunities that they offer.  

We believe in educating early and often so that people know what the options are available and  hope that this article sheds some light on the opportunities and possibilities that a community can offer you.  Not only will there be caregivers and ability to grow and to age in place, but also socialization aspects can oftentimes make people live longer and have them live a happy, healthy life towards the end.  

Both remaining at home and moving into a community offer different opportunities and fulfill different needs.  We encourage you to explore both options and to have an open mind about the possibilities of how both can provide you with opportunities and maybe your first reaction won’t be how you feel later in life.  If you would like to learn more about estate planning and elder law and how you can help your loved ones age in place or have them move to a community, please give our office a call at 717-845-5390. 

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How Technology is Changing the Estate Planning Landscape

It is so easy these days from the comfort of our homes to be able to learn all about our ancestry and to be able to take DNA tests to learn about our family history.  Technology sure has come a long way and is providing us with information from the comfort of our own homes that we never had seen before.  It is essential, now more than ever, to make sure that our estate planning documents are up to date and also are done appropriately and properly.  

Nowadays, it is easier to track down a parent that you never knew existed and just learned about, whether were adopted or simply just lost contact or were estranged from that person. Or there could be a situation where someone does not know that they had a child and years later it may come to light that they are a father because of the technology and ability to learn this information from the comfort of your home.  This will certainly change outcomes in the future of who is entitled to certain assets and who may have standing and different circumstances.  

It will be interesting to see how this fleshes out over the next 20 or 30 years, but one thing is for certain – it is more important now than ever to make sure that your estate planning is up to date.  It will be important to have them done correctly and make sure that all of your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed to ensure that someone can’t come in later who is unknown or unexpected and have rights. And especially important to have your documents prepared and not rely on the intestate laws of Pennsylvania to determine your beneficiaries.   

Technology certainly has and will change estate planning in the future, and we look forward to seeing how it does, but in the meantime, we will certainly plan accordingly and make sure that our documents are up to date and properly drafted for any unexpected mishaps.

 If you would like to learn more about this, please give us a call at 717-845-5390.

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I Don’t Trust My Trustee. What Can I Do?

It is important to understand that a trustee is a fiduciary and is held to a higher standard of duty.  It is imperative as a beneficiary of a trust that you read every word of the trust and understand the circumstances under which the trustee is to distribute money to you as the beneficiary. 

If you do not understand the agreement, seek legal counsel so that you’re sure you understand the terms under which the trustee should/may/can/must distribute money to the beneficiary.  As you can see from all the different words that I used, every trustee has different discretions depending on the four corners of the trust document.  There is no one size fits all, so it is imperative that you read and understand the terms of the document and what discretion the trustee has.

Once you understand the document if you still feel as though you’re not getting transparency from the trustee you can always request accounting.  If the trustee does not comply with the request for the accounting of the trust you can then file an action in the Orphans’ Court in your local county to force the trustee to provide you a copy of the accounting to understand what money has been distributed from the trust and under what circumstances.  If you have reviewed the accounting and are still not satisfied that the trustee is fulfilling in his or her fiduciary duty, I would look to the trust document to determine if there is a trust protector.  

Many trusts nowadays will incorporate in them a trust protector who is often another law firm or professional fiduciary who can assist the beneficiaries.  It would also be imperative to read every word of this section to understand what the trust protector can and can’t do and also seek counsel if you still do not understand the specific terms of the documents.  

Because there are so many different styles and types of trusts it is virtually impossible to provide a specific direction to beneficiaries who feel that the trustee is not acting in their best interest, but the steps provided herein provide a starting point for the beneficiaries to feel that they have a voice and a say.  In certain circumstances the trustee may have sole and absolute discretion to do whatever he or she wishes, but even in those circumstances understanding what monies have been paid out and your rights under the document is very important. 

Please seek assistance from an attorney who specializes in trust and understands the “in’s and out’s” of trust documents in order to be able to provide advice on what you can and can’t do within the terms of the trust.

If you would like to learn more about trusts and how they can benefit your family, please give us a call at 717-845-5390.

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