Long-Term Care Story: Harvey
I am not a lawyer, and I don’t play one on TV. But I do know the right legal documents must be in place and constantly updated. Assets can go to one of 2 places: probate or to your family. Up to date wills and trusts are critical, especially in CA. A person named Harvey experienced this. At 50 years old, with the help of an experienced estate attorney he created the wills/trusts to protect his 2 homes and his business. Without the right docs, his life’s effort and work could end up in a complex world of court decisions over the distribution of his assets. He thought he had done everything right by being so proactive.
Within 15 years, he divorced his current wife and married another woman, creating a stepfamily. By then his business was also sold. He thought he was on the glide path to retirement. However, he never changed his legal docs.
So the beneficiaries and the trustees were all wrong for his current circumstances. He became disabled at 75 and subsequently died. The beneficiaries in the trusts were outdated, causing an epic legal battle between his 2 families: his original one and the step family, both of which fought to get his remaining assets.
Probate had to get involved, becoming the adjucitor of the assets, all his careful planning was left to a dispassionate judge. Result: his wishes at death were immaterial; what was on the paper counts. Everyone was equally unhappy with the results.
- I help to ensure that $ that is left over from their parents’ care goes to the children who are supporting them. (As a beneficiary/survivor) while ensuring they are getting care.
- Lesson: It’s possible to set up things now so that the money that’s saved can go back to you while still ensuring your loved one’s get the best care.