Life-altering events should be a motivator for adults to update their estate planning documents. A move to a senior living community is one of those events.
In our upcoming webinar, Senior Living LIVE! Estate Planning Documents: To Update or Not to Update? certified elder law attorney, Miles Hurley, JD will discuss events that impact your estate plans and the triggers that should prompt a thorough review of your estate documents.
Watch the preview video above, and then visit ArborCompany.com/EstatePlanning to register for the full webinar!
- Hello everyone and welcome in to Senior Living Live. My name is Melissa. Thank you so much for being with us. Our next webinar, June 28th at noon Eastern is all about estate planning, something that is so important, but oftentimes it gets put on the back burner, or once you do it, you just kind of forget about it when life events happen. So we've got one of the top rated certified elder law attorneys in Atlanta and we'll just add to the state of Georgia, in fact, Miles Hurley, he is with us, he will be our guest presenter for this webinar and he joins us for a quick preview today. Miles. How are you?
- I'm great, Melissa. Thanks.
- Yeah, it's good to see you. And thank you so much for doing this webinar. I think we're gonna get so much out of it. So you are the best when it comes to elder law in Georgia, especially in the Atlanta area, it's really good stuff. And I think this is a really good time to kind of talk a little bit about yourself, tell us your background and a little bit about your practice.
- Sure. So I have been practicing law now for oh, 30 years. So it's a long time and have been doing nothing but elder law since 2006. So that's all that we deal with at this point, I grew up next door to one set of grandparents and a couple of miles from the other set. And so I have seen in my own family multiple times people age and have their health decline and ultimately die. And that's really kind of why I got into this area as a whole and I've even served as a caregiver for my mother's parents even after I had finished law school. So I know how it all works from a personal perspective as well as from a professional perspective. And so that's really why we decided that we wanted to run our law practice like this and we follow what's called a life care planning model meaning that it's a whole lot more than just preparing legal documents and looking at public benefits. We're really trying to help our clients figure out how to find, get, and ultimately pay for good long-term care as they decline, meaning losing functional capacity either physical or cognitively as they age. And so to that end, we started Hurley Elder Care Law in 2006, we have two social workers and nurses a part of our staff, we have a public benefit staff that has four and we've got four attorneys who are associated with the firm at this point and a total of 17. So we are also probably the largest elder law firm in the state of Georgia as well.
- Yeah. And real quick, can you touch on the certified part of your title because that's a distinction that not everybody has, right?
- That's exactly right. So I am a certified elder law attorney, Danielle Humphrey, who's another one of the attorneys here is as well. And Jennifer Ghorley, who is one of our associates will be taking the exam next year. So you actually have to have been practicing law for five years before you can even take the exam. I have taken two bar exams, meaning Georgia and Tennessee as well. And I will assure everyone that the CELA exam is way more difficult than either of the bar exams that I took. And so you also have to show 120 cases that you've worked on in the older law world and get recommendations from other elder law attorneys, things like that. And there are about 450 certified elder law attorneys in the entire country. So it is a distinction that I am very proud of.
- And you should be, tougher than the bar. Wow. That is impressive, so excellent. If somebody comes to you or your firm, they should know that they're in good hands. Now this particular webinar is all about estate planning. So what advice would you give someone who knows that they need to get this done but they've been procrastinating or somebody who maybe did get it done a long time ago but they failed to make any updates along the way?
- Sure. So, you know, frankly, everyone who has turned 18 should have at least certain things in place. And so every time that in the practice here, we have somebody's child who turns 18 and is getting ready to go off to college or whatnot, we have them come in here and execute a healthcare advanced directive and a power of attorney. So that should something happen while they're off at school that the parents will actually be able to help them. 'Cause as we all know, when you turn 18 you become independent in a lot of ways from a legal perspective anyway. But I see a lot of people come in here. I actually saw some yesterday who had had their last set of legal documents prepared in 1997. So 25 years old. And they had tax planning language in there that is completely irrelevant at this point. And they even had in there who would be the to look after them if there was a problem. So, you know, quite entertaining to see that since their adult daughter who is almost 60 now was in here with them. And I don't think that she was gonna need any looking after. So the whole notion is that, you know, don't just prepare things and forget them. Things change during life and so they need to be reviewed at a minimum probably every three to five years to see that everything is still set up the way you want it. But we also have law changes that happen. So for instance, in 2007, we had the Georgia Advanced Directive Act come into effect. 2017, we had Georgia adopting its version of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act. We've had changes in the trust code, changes in the probate code. All of these things have happened within the last 15 years at this point. So things changes and as well as in the tax code so that they need to be reviewed.
- Yeah. So those are some good years for people to start thinking about, are my documents that old or older because if so, may not work out the way you think at the end of the day. So, and that's what this webinar's all about, right? So that is really good information there. So now let's move to the breakdown of the the five D's that you discuss with your clients and how they impact estate planning.
- So sure, besides potentially reviewing whatever you may have in place every three to five years, if any real life events occur, then you need to go in and take a look at as well. And so those things are as follows. Divorce, so if you get divorced, you probably don't want your ex still involved. Shocking, right? Also if there is a death, so that could be the death of a spouse, a child, or a parent. So if any of those events occur, then it may be changing your overall financial picture and we may need to take a look at, how does that affect everything over the long haul? Next is diagnosis. And that is going to be typically diagnosis of Alzheimer's or some other type of a dementia. And that of course is a real game changer. And most people, as soon as they've been diagnosed, don't really take any action. And that is because they still can do most things for themselves. They may repeat themselves continually but they can still get up and put their clothes on and bathe themselves and so on like that. Unfortunately when they don't take action, they may get to the point where they can't take action without having to go through a court process for guardianship or conservatorship depending upon what the particular circumstances are. And the other thing that we think about with diagnosis is this is that the earlier you take action, the more options you have over the long haul. And so that's how we wanna look at that. Next, we look at displacement and that means moving in general. So if you've moved from one location to another, so let's say you've moved into Georgia from Florida or California or New York. You should have everything reviewed to see that it's going to meet the compliance standards when someone has arrived here. And then finally, dependence. And so that is when somebody either loses their dependence on someone meaning turning 18 and becoming independent or when they again become dependent on someone else. So as someone is aging and is requiring help, typically from a child, then we wanna look at everything and see if there's some steps that we need to be taking in order to make sure that we're gonna be able to deal with paying for care and what kind of care that somebody may want over the long haul. So those are our five D's, and a quick review of that-
- It's a great list.
- And a quick review, divorce, death, diagnosis, displacement, and dependence.
- Perfect. Yes. And I know that that's something that we will be discussing quite a bit in the webinar and coming back to probably each of those little prongs each time as people come in with questions which is the beauty of all of these webinars that we do, we get to interact, our viewers get to interact with you, and ask you all the things that they need to know. Now here's what we hear a lot. We hear somebody say, well, you know, I found a will online and it's just a shell and I just added my information and I'm good to go. Is that a good idea or not? And I think I already know the answer.
- Well, you are asking that question to an attorney, right?
- But we wanna hear from you.
- So the quick answer to that is no, that's not a good plan. And we end up having to to clean things up a lot when that has happened. And, sometimes if people have a very simple situation, yes, they may work. But the problem is that most people don't really know what their issues are, much less how to resolve them. And so there really is no one size fits all. And so we have to look at different approaches depending upon what any given situation is. And even when I see people who have completed a statutory power of attorney in Georgia quite frequently they have not put their initials on a couple of the lines that become really important in the elder law planning. And that is typically the ability to create trusts of any kind and the ability to do gifting. And those become very important, and qualification for public benefits over the long haul. So, you know, my advice to people is don't be penny wise and pound foolish when we are, you know, taking a look at things that are really important over the long haul. And especially as people are starting to lose their capacity in some way.
- Yeah. Perfect. And that happens so often. We may end up with people, some viewers who have that exact situation and are trying to clean it up, as you said. So finally, what are some of the top issues just quickly and briefly that people will come to you about?
- So the biggest thing that people come to see us about I would say that somewhere between two thirds and three quarters of our clients have been diagnosed with some type of dementia. And especially when it is someone who is still living at home and still has a spouse who is actually in pretty good shape, the well spouse all of a sudden gets really concerned about, oh my gosh, all of the money that we've saved over our lifetime is going to be gone as we're trying to take care of the sick spouse. And we are able to provide them solutions as to how to be able to best use the assets and income that they have in order to get quality care. But while reassuring that well spouse that he or she is not gonna have to be living under a bridge somewhere. And so, you know, that and looking at really what is a comprehensive plan for this person as they continue to lose capacity. In other words, what are their living options? What do they want, where do they want to live? What kind of care do they want? You know, how long do they want to be kept alive? All of those types of things go into a comprehensive plan. And that is really where I feel that we're different than almost every other elder law practice.
- Yeah. Great, great, great. So if somebody is watching this and then they say, you know, I just can't make the webinar but I do have questions and they wanna reach out to you and to practice your law firm, how can they do that, Miles?
- Well, so they can pick up the phone and call, so 404-843-0121, or they can go onto our website which is Hurley H-U-R-L-E-Y EClaw.com and look up a whole bunch of information there, the rest of our contact information. And we even have a chat feature on there. So if they have a particular question, they can submit it that way.
- Yeah. Excellent, excellent, good stuff today. Miles, we are very much looking forward to this webinar, June 28th at noon Eastern. Thank you so much for coming on today to give us a preview.
- Absolutely, I look forward to next week.
- Excellent. Now, if you want to catch this webinar with Miles, just head on over to our website, it's www.seniorlivinglive.com. There it is an easy sign up for you to RSVP. We hope you'll join us June 28th. We will see you then.