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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The FDA is Testing a New Anti-Aging Drug

Who thought we would see the day when an anti-aging drug will be put on the market but it seems as if this could soon become a reality. The Food and Drug Administration has recently approved a trial to test out a drug that can slow the aging process and dramatically increase a person's life span. Already on the market as the world's most widely used diabetes drug, Metformin, the FDA wants to see how effective it is as an anti-aging drug.

There are billions of cell divisions that occur over time and as more cells divide, problems arise and cells can lose their ability to repair damage, which then begins the aging process. This drug boosts the number of oxygen molecules that are released into a cell, and as a result will increase longevity and robustness.

The drug will be tested by 3,000 70-80 year olds in the upcoming years. This drug is currently on trial so it will not be available just yet, but if and when it is available for this purpose, it could have a significant impact on estate planning and retirement.

 


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Rules on Common Law Marriage

Common law marriage is not really acknowledged in the state of Florida unless the marriage is valid in one of the nine states it is allowed, or the marriage occurred in Florida before Jan. 1, 1968. Many couples have been living together for years and take care of one another but are not married. Usually the reasons behind this are that there are children in prior marriages whose inheritance they wish to protect or each partner wishes to shield their assets if the other requires long term nursing care.

There are upsides to not being legally married like the ones listed above, but at the same time, there are many downsides as well. They are denied a number of automatic privileges that they would want such as property rights, or even something as simple as the right to talk with their partner's doctor in the event of a medical emergency.

There are legal steps one can take in order to protect your partner and gain some of the benefits that come with marriage. The most important issues include health care decisions, your IRA, 401K, life insurance and arrangements regarding wills.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Aging Parents and Driving

We In the United States value our freedom to be self-sufficient far more than other cultures. That includes being able to travel on our own. But when someone gets older, they start to lose their ability to be self-sufficient, especially when it comes to driving. People will be ready to give up a lot of things but for many driving is that last piece of independence, so when and how to have that discussion with older family members about driving is a tremendous challenge.

As the caregiver or child of an aging adult, it is often easier for us to put off that conversation but it may not be the right thing to do.

So here are some signs to tell you when it is time to have that conversation. Some of the first things to notice are if they are getting lost in familiar places, having difficulty maintaining lane positioning when driving, failing to stop at red lights, scrapes or dents on car, bad judgment on the road and receiving traffic violations. At this point, it is clear that driving is putting your loved one in danger.

Sometimes it is best to have a conversation about driving safety before it becomes a problem, so they are aware and not caught off guard when a more serious conversation follows. When your loved one is forced off the road, the one thing to make sure is that you make the transition as easy as possible. This includes driving those places yourself, helping them with local bus routes and answering any questions they might have.

These kinds of conversations are never easy to have but in the end it is important to maintain the safety of your loved ones, even if it means keeping them off the roads.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

New Flu Shot Helps Protect Senior Citizens

People over the age of 65 are at the most risk of contracting severe influenza. A new flu shot containing a booster has just been approved with hope of protecting senior citizens who are not fit for the traditional flu shot due to a poor immune system. The booster itself is meant to enhance your immune system when mixed with the virus, which allows the vaccine to have a better rate of success.

The booster contains an oil-in-water mixture that includes squalene, an oily nutrient produced by the liver, and some preservatives. When this mixture is added to vaccines, it increases the number of immune cells overall.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 people a year die from the flu, and usually most are over 65. This new vaccine has been around since 1997 and at this point is considered safe for use.

The vaccine will become available by next year in the United States.

 


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How to Prevent Loneliness This Holiday Season

The holiday season is rapidly approaching and while most of the time, the feelings associated with the holidays are positive ones, for some people the holidays can be a time where they are reminded of isolation and loneliness. This holiday season, you can help the elderly in your life enjoy the holidays.           

  1. Listen and understand when they speak, even when the topics are negative ones. Talking through their feelings can help them
  2. Remind them how important they are to your family and to the holidays
  3. If they are in a care facility, make regular visits during the holidays
  4. Call your elder friends in for the holidays
  5. Most importantly, spend time with them, they need to know they are cared for and loved and what better way to do that than to simply be with them when they need it the most

 Your time is the most valuable thing you can give someone. Make these holidays the best for your loved ones and remind them how important they are.

 


Monday, November 9, 2015

Long-Term-Care Insurance

Buying long-term-care insurance can be expensive. However, in the long run, buying this insurance could be saving you thousands when you need it the most. Unfortunately, about one in three people who purchase long-term-care insurance let it lapse; meaning they forfeit their benefits.

Long-term-care insurance is meant to cover the high costs of assisted living facilities, along with other services such as in-home assistance. The cost of these facilities is about $75,000 a year, which could all be covered if insurance for a fraction of the cost is purchased. Statistics show that most of the time, people let their benefits lapse within four years of needing long-term care.

Over the last five years, there has been a decrease in the amount of people who let their benefits lapse. Make sure you keep making payments in order to save your money in the long run.

  


Monday, November 2, 2015

Same Sex Marriage Decision Still Leaves Problems in Estate Planning

This past summer, the Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v. Hodges ruled for allowing same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court came to this decision after reviewing that prohibiting same-sex marriage violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the United States Constitution.

The Supreme Court decision did resolve some estate planning issues that will arise when the new law is implemented. However, there are still some minor details that will be worked through in the coming years.

Some issues that have yet to be resolved include work benefits for same-sex couples and legal issue regarding children if one of the partners is the biological parent. These issues will likely be debated on and resolved in the upcoming years following the implementation of the Obergefell decision.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

North Florida Older Population Set to Grow in Next 25 Years

In the next 25 years, regions of North Florida such as Jacksonville and St. Augustine will double in its population of older residents. Along with this change, come changes in other markets in these regions such as the pricing of housing. As of right now, the cost of housing is the biggest obstacle that these areas will need to overcome in the next coming years.

Unfortunately right now people are paying more than half their income for their housing in these areas. In a recent report titled, Re-think Aging, these problems were discussed. Projections regarding the amount of older residents expected in the next coming years along with their jobs were also made.

The results of the report find that not only will there be more residents, but there will be more jobs open for them and their life expectancy will increase which is both a cause for hope and concern.

The cities have come up with recommendations that will be implemented in the next two years in order for these cities to be more accommodating to older residents. Some include developing more workplace policies, more emphasis on healthcare training and educating the community on age discrimination. 


Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Benefits of a Living Trust

Living trusts are often used in Florida as an effective and useful estate planning tool. Also known as a revocable trust, this can often help avoid the need for dealing with a Probate Court. With Florida’s probate system as challenging as it is, this is often an attractable alternative.

Unlike a will, which is only used after a death, a living trust allows you to appoint someone to handle your business affairs in the event you become incapacitated, thereby minimizing the possibility of guardianship and court involvement in your personal affairs. The trust gives the right to someone, and you can be that someone, the right to control assets given the current terms and conditions.

You can also add a beneficiary. The beneficiary will not receive anything while the grantor is still alive.

When one has a trust, it can be ended or changed at any time during the owner's life. This means that the owner may buy and or sell their property without it causing any damage to their personal income taxes.

Make sure you are aware of all the benefits you get when making a living trust in order to get the most out of your money and your property.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Medicare Open Enrollment Starts Oct. 15

Open Enrollment for Medicare is quickly approaching and there is a lot you should know in order to make the most of your money. Enrollment begins every year on Oct. 15 and runs through Dec.7. The changes you make are not set immediately, but will reflect at the beginning of 2016. Most people over the age of 65 take advantage of Medicare in order to pay for their health care. When applying, one must consider their own needs.

Being smart about your decisions is key with open enrollment because people underestimate how difficult it can actually be. With a number of different plan options, coverage and cost it is easily to slip up and end up in the wrong plan.

Understanding your own needs can also go a long way. When it comes to your health, a lot can change in a year's time and open enrollment is the best time to change your plan to fit your current health. Often, someone will choose a plan and later develop a health problem that is not covered. Being prepared can lead to a better decision and one that is stress free.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Good News for Millennials

Right now there is a common misconception that once the millennial generation reaches the age of their parents, there will be no money for them when it comes to health care and health-care benefits. A recent study was released that proved this theory wrong. In fact, if the government continues to spend what they are spending now and continue heading in the right direction, millennials can expect to receive more than double what their parents will receive in payments when they hit retirement.

The main reason for this pay increase is an expected upsurge in salaries over the next few years. Social Security benefits are raised when salaries are higher, which means more benefits for later generations applying to Medicare and receiving social security checks.

Projected high benefits might appear to reassure millennials that they will enjoy a strong federal safety net in their later years. Level patterns of government spending during the lifetime of millennials could improve living standards for younger Americans, while still providing Social Security and Medicare benefits to them during their later years.


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