PREPARE for you health care

Kaiser Health News reports that most Americans avoid making important end-of-life decisions, called Advance Care Planning, because it can be uncomfortable and the paperwork confusing.

Rebecca Sudore, a geriatrician at the University of California-San Francisco, created prepareforyourcare.org, which provides step-by-step instructions and video stories to help people navigate the care they want at the end of their lives. She built the site in 2013 for families unsure how to broach sensitive questions. In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in May 2017, she and other researchers found that the website, combined with the use of an “advance directive” form, prompted participants to plan ahead.

The website gained the attention of major charities and since that time the organiztion has gained financial support from foundations such as the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, California Health Care Foundation, Stupski Foundation, as well as the American Cancer Society, California Health Care Foundation, The Donaghue Foundation, John and Wauna Harman Foundation, National Institute on Aging, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, UCSF, and Veterans Health Services Research & Development.

Visit the PREPARE website to have them help you

  • Have a voice in YOUR medical care
  • Talk with your doctors
  • Give your family and friends peace of mind
  • Print a summary of your wishes
  • You can also fill out an easy-to-read advance directive

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Preparing for probate.

Probate is the legal process for transferring property after someone dies. In most cases the process follows the instructions in the will but occasionally other factors may arise, but basically, property is transferred, debts paid and assets distributed.

But even though it’s a pretty straightforward process, you should still prepare for probate to make sure there are no unforeseen snags.

  1. Learn about probate.  It is a good idea to learn about probate. Learn about the process and what happens during the process.
  2. Collect relevant documents.  All your assets will need to be appraised. In order to make this process run as smoothly as possible, you should have the necessary documents, such as tax statements, a proof of your assets, etc. that can be presented to the court.
  3. Choose a personal representative. Once you’re familiar with what the general probate process entails, you’ll need to choose a personal representative. This person will administer your estate and help you carry out your intentions. You should not only pick someone loyal and trustworthy, but also organized.
  4. Hire a lawyer. Hiring an estate planning or probate attorney is not required, but it is in your best interests. A lawyer can help guide you through the process smoothly and efficiently. An attorney will also ensure that you meet your deadlines and avoid irreparable mistakes.

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Sears on the edge

Back in 2005 Sears decided to merge Kmart with Sears in an effort to create a fortified competitor to fend off giants like Walmart. It failed to stem the fall of the retail giants.

Over the past ten years, Sears has had just one quarter of positive store sales. Since thy couldn’t rely on the Sears’ business to pay the bills, the CEO Eddie Lampert sold or spun off many of its most valuable stores and brands. A thinning cash flow left little money to reinvest in the company itself.

Sears used to be America’s largest retailer and largest employer. But its declines goes back well before the growth of online shopping that threatens traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.

When Sears and Kmart merged to form Sears Holdings in 2004, they had 3,500 US stores between them. A long series of store closings has left it with fewer than 900 today.

Briefly, here is what happened in the last fourteen years:

2004: Kmart purchased Sears, then named the Sears Roebuck Co. and merged the two into the Sears Holding Company. This briefly gave the company record profits in 2006.

2015: Sears announced that it has lost $7 billion. Eddie Lampert was brought in as CEO and gave the company a $500 million loan to help avoid bankruptcy. Sears had been closing a large number of underperforming stores.

2018: In June, Sears announced it is liquidating 78 locations. Lampert also warned the company is running out of money, and likely will need to restructure debt.

 

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Pre-Hospice care is catching on

Kaiser Health News writes:

“Gerald Chinchar isn’t quite at the end of life, but the end is not far away. The 77-year-old fell twice last year, shattering his hip and femur, and now gets around his San Diego home in a wheelchair. His medications fill a dresser drawer, and congestive heart failure puts him at high risk of emergency room visits and long hospital stays.

Chinchar, a Navy veteran who loves TV Westerns, said that’s the last thing he wants. He still likes to go watch his grandchildren’s sporting events and play blackjack at the casino. “If they told me I had six months to live or go to the hospital and last two years, I’d say leave me home,” Chinchar said. “That ain’t no trade for me.”

Most aging people would choose to stay home in their last years of life. But for many, it doesn’t work out: They go in and out of hospitals, getting treated for flare-ups of various chronic illnesses. It’s a massive problem that costs the health care system billions of dollars and has galvanized health providers, hospital administrators and policymakers to search for solutions.

Sharp HealthCare, the San Diego health system where Chinchar receives care, has devised a way to fulfill his wishes and reduce costs at the same time. It’s a pre-hospice program called Transitions, designed to give elderly patients the care they want at home and keep them out of the hospital.”

Click here to read the complete article

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Five estate planning essentials

Leaving this life and leaving loose ends can create a nightmare scenario for your heirs. If you haven’t taken the time to organize your assets that is exactly what can happen. With that in mind, here are five estate planning essentials you will need to make your passing as stress free for you heirs as possible.

  1. Draft a will

This sounds like a no-brainer, but statistics says over 50% half of Americans don’t have a will. Even if you don’t have a zillion dollar estate a will is absolutely necessary.

If the worst should happen and you don’t have your financial affairs in order, you’ll leave your loved ones a big headache, and possibly a financial burden. No one will be worried about home maintenance, but they will be forced to make crucial decisions about your estate at an emotionally charged time, with no idea if they’re doing what you had in mind.

Most importantly, taking care of this basic in advance will also help ensure that your money stays in the family and not in the hands of the feds or even an ex-poouse Here are five more fairly simple steps you should take now to protect your family and your assets.

2. Ask an attorney about trusts

This is where the Law Offices of Jeffrey Weinstein can be helpful. If you establish a living trust, your estate can bypass probate and its hassles, but you probably need one only if your estate is worth more than about $2 million, you own real estate in more than one state or you want to keep the terms of your estate private. In all other cases, you might want to create a trust within your will to manage your assets after your death. This is a good idea if you fall into one or more of these categories: 1) You have minor children and don’t want to leave property directly to them. 2) You have adult children and aren’t confident they can responsibly manage their inheritance. 3) You want to protect your assets from ending up with a creditor or a child’s ex-spouse.

3. Assign power of attorney

This authorizes someone to handleyour matters if you’re unable to act on your own behalf. There are two types: financial power of attorney, which lets someone take care of things such as writing checks; and medical power of attorney, which allows someone to make decisions about your health care. Without this form, your loved ones might have to go to court to handle simple estate matters if you were incapacitated.

4. Set up an advance directive

See Health Care Proxy

5. Update your beneficiaries

Beneficiaries on your 401(k), insurance policies, retirement accounts and investments trump your will. So even though you’ve left everything to your children in your will, if your ex-wife is still listed as your IRA beneficiary, the dough goes to her.

We see a lot of errors in cases like this.  Review your designations about every two years  and make sure to choose a contingent beneficiary. Otherwise, if your primary beneficiary dies before you do, your funds will go to your estate, which can create tax and legal issues. It’s not unheard of for people to leave seriously outdated beneficiaries, like when you enrolled in your first 401(k) at age 24, you might have named your boyfriend as next in line? You might want to change that.

There are other essential that space prohibits us from listing, but if you contact an attorney like Jeffrey Weinstein, we can lay it all out for you an mak sure your assets and family are protected.

 

 

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