Category Archives: Elder Law

Where is your will?

In the “old days” lawyers used to keep their clients’ Last Wills in their offices. Lawyers tended to stay in their practices for decades, and people didn’t move as often as they do now. It also made it so that the client’s heirs had to go back to that attorney when the client passed away, making it likely that the client would hire the firm to probate the estate.

The problem that a lot of my clients are running into now is that the law firm that drafted their wills back in the 70′s or 80′s are closed or merged or the attorney has retired or passed away.  This leaves the client on a hunt for their original estate planning documents. Sometimes we call the original firm, then we get sent over to the firm where the attorney is now, at which point we get sent back to the original firm because the attorney didn’t take their documents with them. If we are lucky, they still have the documents and can send them to my clients. If we are unlucky, we never find out where the original documents are and have to try to make due with photocopies.

If you or your parents have left the original, signed versions of your estate planning documents with the attorney who drafted them, consider calling to make sure that they still have the documents and that they are still in practice.  You may also want to request that they send the documents to you so that you always know where they are. Like most things, it is better to do this before you need to since it can often take some time. In addition, if the original documents cannot be located you may still have the opportunity to draft new ones.

 

Action Item: Share Some Information This Week

What is a quick action you can take this week to make your and your family’s life easier in the event of an emergency? Share some information! This can be as little as telling someone who your attorney, accountant and financial advisor are so they can contact them if they need to help you. OrContinue Reading

Food, Feelings and End of Life Wishes

The New York Times has a recent article about Food and the Dying Patient. It talks about a patient with dementia who could no longer swallow. When they tried to feed her she aspirated the food into her lungs which was causing pneumonia. The doctors turned to the family to decide whether they wanted aContinue Reading

Supporting Your Sibling Who Is a Caregiver

A lot of my clients are caregivers. They are adult children of parents whose health is failing, whose house may be falling apart, whose mind is fading and whose world is dwindling. They are the sibling of a person who has and will be dependent upon someone due to intellectual disabilities or severe mental healthContinue Reading

Moving An Out of State Guardianship To Massachusetts

Here is a scenario that happens everyday: Sue Jones lives with her daughter Mary Jones in Georgia. Mary has intellectual disabilities and Sue was appointed as her guardian by a court in Virginia. Sue and Mary move to Massachusetts. Sue visits with an attorney to make sure everything is in order and asks “does myContinue Reading

Happy Health Care Decisions Day!

April 16th is National Health Care Decisions Day.  While some of the seemingly fake holidays can make one roll their eyes, others, like Health Care Decisions Day (and Be Kind To Lawyers Day) are valuable reminders to pause and take care of important business. We are all in charge of our own health care decisionsContinue Reading

When Should I Write My Will? A Lesson from House, M.D.

I was watching a rerun of House, MD last night. One of the main character doctors became severely ill over the span of a couple of days. Finally, in severe pain, he was going to be put into a medically induced coma with the chance he might not survive. At this point he feebly tellsContinue Reading

Plymouth County Tracking For People With Alzheimer’s

There have been several local incidents over the past couple of months of people with Alzheimer’s who have wandered off. While most of them were found unharmed, in one of these cases, the man was found deceased a few days later. Even if the family has someone with the individual at all times, there isContinue Reading

Nursing Home? Rest Home? Assisted Living? Making Sense of Housing Options

There are several types of housing available to older and frail people in Massachusetts. Sometimes the different names can be confusing. I have outlined below three of the most common types. Nursing Home: A nursing home is licensed by the Department of Public Health. It provides 24 hour care for people – either those receivingContinue Reading

Avoiding Telephone Scams

It seems like every other week there are reports from the Hingham police or Massachusetts attorney general about telephone scams targeting seniors. While it is impossible to keep track of all of the variations, there are some themes that should make you suspicious.  These warning signs can also be applied to email scams. Beware ofContinue Reading