Oct
6
12:00 PM12:00

Deadline Approaching: New VA Pension Benefit Rules

New rules go into effect on October 18 that represent a significant change in the qualification requirements of those who are eligible for VA pension benefits. This will make it more difficult to qualify for this important benefit that can help defray the cost of care.

 On this podcast of Life Happens Radio, attorneys Louis Pierro and Frank Hemming explain the rules change and the potential financial impact to your benefits.

 Currently, any transfers or gifts made to qualify for VA pension benefits are not subject to a lookback period. The new rules, however, provide that gifts or transfers made after October 18, 2018 will be subject to a lookback period of 36 months and therefore, subject to a penalty period where you will potentially be ineligible for these benefits. The addition of the lookback and penalty period means that you will need to plan 36 months in advance to qualify for VA pension benefits.

 

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Sep
1
11:00 AM11:00

“The Hardest Job You Were Never Trained For"

Caring for an aging parent or loved one is the hardest job that you were never trained for. The needs of chronically ill patients who wish to live their lives at home present unique and boundless challenges, which are compounded by a fragmented system of care that places inordinate demands on a caregiver's time, resources and relationships. 

On the Labor Day podcast of Life Happens Radio, attorney Lou Pierro and Life Care Coordinator Susan Vail discuss the caregiver's 'labor of love,' and present solutions to these challenges.

They give you pointers on:

Assessing your loved one's health care, personal, financial and safety needs and risks, with an in-home assessment, development of a personalized care plan and determination of Medicaid eligibility

Implementing a comprehensive care management plan at home, including Medicaid qualification, selection of appropriate resources, caregiver hiring and training on eCaring technology

Monitoring your loved one's daily activities with real time health and financial data, information-sharing among family members, caregiver and providers, and ongoing advocacy to meet a loved one's changing needs

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Aug
25
3:00 PM15:00

Set Your Graduates Up For Success

As we celebrate the achievements of our high school graduates in June, families should also be laying the groundwork for their child’s legal transition to adulthood. Check out this Life Happens Radio podcast, when Lou Pierro was joined by special guest, Dr. Dean Skarlis, President of The College Advisor of New York, to give you essential planning steps that will set up college-bound children and young adults for a secure future.

From a financial and admissions perspective, you’ll learn about HIPAA regulations and the need for your child to sign a waiver so that parents can discuss health care and disciplinary violations with a college. Dean covers factors that affect the admissions process, selectivity and cost, and Lou gives pointers on establishing documents like a basic will, trust and powers of attorney for a young adult.

Baby Boomers, upcoming high school graduates and college students shouldn’t miss this timely topic, so click on the podcast link, for this fascinating program.
 

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Aug
18
11:00 AM11:00

“Medicaid 101: Get the Facts"

Obtaining your Medicaid benefits is not a quick and simple process. Eligibility is a complex road that must be navigated by expertise in order to avoid penalties, or the outright rejection of your benefits. To become eligible for Medicaid you will be required to provide the government with copious details that canvas the last five years of your life. If you are considering Medicaid, this will be an eye-opening show for you.

On this podcast, attorneys Aaron Connor and Frank Hemming of Pierro, Connor & Strauss share real client stories to show the challenges many people face when applying, and how using an experienced Elder Law attorney can help save you time, stress and money. People are often surprised that they don’t need to spend every cent of their hard-earned money to receive Medicaid benefits. You will also learn tips on avoiding delays in benefits, and simplifying the process overall. 

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Aug
11
11:30 AM11:30

“Who Knew? Creative Uses for Life Insurance and More!"

Life insurance is often used to cover what we might call “basic” needs – income replacement or payoff of a debt at death. 

However, did you know you could use your life insurance to pay for, for example, Long Term Care expenses? Maybe you own a small business and have a “buy-sell” agreement with your business partner – did you know life insurance is often the most cost effective funding mechanism for that buy-sell agreement? 

On this podcast Bob Vandy and Brian Johnson share some interesting – and, to most of our listeners, NEW - ideas on how you can use life insurance as a key tool in your overall financial planning arsenal.

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Jul
28
11:00 AM11:00

"The Medicaid Application: Minimize Stress, Maximize Benefits"

On this podcast of Life Happens Radio, attorneys Aaron Connor and Frank Hemming discuss the steps of filing a Medicaid application, and the benefit of hiring an Elder Law attorney to help with the process.

Using an Elder Law attorney that has experience getting clients qualified for Medicaid can help accelerate eligibility, saving you time and money. The process is complicated, and any missteps in filing can result in delayed or lost eligibility.

You'll also hear from people who assume they are not eligible, when in fact they often are.It just requires more complex legal and financial planning than they could do on their own.

Frank and Aaron share real-life client success stories to highlight the benefits of using an Elder Law attorney to help with the often long and challenging application process.

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Jul
21
10:30 AM10:30

"Legal Mistakes of the Rich and Famous"

Lou Pierro, Peter Strauss and Rebecca Cerny
July 21, 2018
"Legal Mistakes of the Rich and Famous"

Jim Morrison, David Bowie, Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heath Ledger. All were wildly successful celebrities on the stage and screen. But when it came to financial and estate planning, they made the kind of mistakes we can all learn from.

On this edition of Life Happens Radio we discuss how to avoid legal missteps made by prominent people, drawing from an excellent article in the American Bar Association’s journal, Probate & Property.

Listen to the podcast to find out about ‘Misfires of the Rich and Famous’ including:

  • Overly simplistic or ‘homemade’ wills
  • Legal complications with after-born children and domicile situations
  • Second families and decanting
  • Broken ‘oral’ promises

In all of these cases, problems could have been avoided by a simple legal update or revision. This is why it’s paramount that estate planning is done before: Life Happens.

 

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Jul
7
3:30 PM15:30

"Stay Independent at Home for Life"

Hosts Lou Pierro & Susan Vail

If one of your goals is for you or a loved one to age at home as long as possible, then you’ll want to listen to this podcast of Life Happens Radio.

Attorney Lou Pierro will give step-by-step instructions on preserving assets through trust and Medicaid planning, and Life Care Coordinator Susan Vail will describe how to set up a care management plan at home. They’ll discuss how to take advantage of New York’s Medicaid home care program, as well as new technology that is helping people remain independent at home, longer.

All of these strategies will give you an exceptional toolbox for building a home care plan - by combining legal, financial and quality care management.

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Jun
30
10:00 AM10:00

"Patriotism, Planning and New Beginnings"

In the July 4th edition of Life Happens Radio, attorneys Lou Pierro and Nicole Hurley focus on how we help clients create an estate plan that becomes, in essence, their personal 'constitution.' It's a plan that offers protections for you and your family on many levels; a plan that will stand the test of time.

Like the Constitution, an estate plan should also be flexible. You should be able to make amendments that will modify and adjust the plan to best prepare you for a secure retirement.

Also on the program is attorney Peter J. Strauss, who is jouined our firm as Senior Partner on July 1. This marks a milestone as our name officially changes to Pierro, Connor & Strauss, LLC.

Based in our New York City office, Peter counsels on trusts and estate law, elder law and guardianship law with a particular focus on the legal problems of seniors and persons with disabilities. He frequently lectures on these topics and is considered to be one of the pioneers in elder law in the United States.

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Jun
23
11:00 AM11:00

"Set Your Graduates Up For Success"

As we celebrated the achievements of our high school graduates this month, families should also be laying the groundwork for their child’s legal transition to adulthood. On this podcast edition of Life Happens Radio, attorneys Aaron Connor and Rebecca Cerny offered essential planning steps to set up college-bound children and young adults for a secure future. 


They also shared real-life stories of the benefits of planning ahead, and the problems that arise when estate planning documents aren’t in place or are done incorrectly. This applies not only to young adults, but to anyone who has an estate plan.
In this podcast, find out How to establish documents like a basic will, powers of attorney and health care proxy for a young adult

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Jun
22
2:00 PM14:00

"Estate Planning Life Cycle"

Whether you have a new family, are approaching or in retirement, or have aging parents, we’ve got you covered on this Life Happens Radio podcast!

Attorneys Frank Hemming, Nicole Hurley and Rebecca Cerny, all from Pierro, Connor & Associates, discuss a range of estate planning options that follow the continuum of life. They start right from the beginning, discussing the basic documents everyone should have, and continue all the way through to applying for community or nursing home Medicaid. They also discuss when this planning should happen, including what big life events can often change a client’s plan.    

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Jun
9
3:00 PM15:00

"The Swiss Army Knife of Insurance Planning"

 Insurance planning is often a challenge. We never know when “Life Happens” and it’s vitally important that we plan for the unexpected. There is some good news: advances in insurance policy design have made today’s designs more flexible and encompassing than ever before.

What if you had an insurance policy that protected your loved ones in the event of your premature death? Well, most of us understand the importance of having the right type and amount of life insurance. But, what if that SAME policy also provided benefits for an extended, chronic or long-term care event? And what if that SAME policy allowed you to get ALL of your premiums back later on – guaranteed – if you decided you didn’t want it anymore? AND, what if that SAME policy allowed you to get a GUARANTEED income later on, while preserving at least some of those same life insurance AND chronic or long-term care benefits?! Many of these policies also allow you to combine your insurance and legal planning TOGETHER!

Listen to the June 9th podcast to hear co-hosts Bob Vandy and Lou Pierro discuss more about these innovative, cutting edge products, and how you can make them a part of your overall planning!

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Jun
2
10:30 AM10:30

"Anatomy of a Home Care Case"

According to an AARP study, nine out of ten people want to age in their current home, but when health fails, the challenge begins! On this episode of Life Happens Radio, hosts Lou Pierro and Frank Hemming present a realistic case study to examine the steps needed to obtain, manage and pay for care at home. This case study presented at our 23rd Annual Elder Law Forum and received rave reviews:

83 year old Evelyn Smith is a widow who lives independently in her Niskayuna home. Other factors:

  • Evelyn suffers from osteoporosis, diabetes and ‘forgetfulness’
  • Primary caregiver: daughter Luna
  • Son named Chad lives in California
  • Other daughter named Lisa lives in New York City
  • Evelyn has a Power of Attorney appointing Chad, but has no statutory gift rider
  • No health care proxy

Evelyn has recently fallen and fractured her hip, was admitted to the hospital and then entered a rehab center. While at first she is told she has insurance coverage for 100 days, Evelyn receives a 48-hour notice advising her that SNF (Skilled Nursing Care) coverage will be terminated. What will Evelyn and her family do now? This is where estate and elder law attorneys, Lou and Frank, lay out their strategy; one that includes insurance, financial and care planning. By putting it all together, you’ll learn how it’s possible for people like Evelyn – and your loved ones – to successfully age in the comfort of their homes.

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May
26
11:00 AM11:00

Memorial Day Weekend Show with Special Guest Chris Gibson

The Memorial Day holiday commemorates those who died in active military service. This Saturday, we are honored to be joined by a special guest who has served our Nation for most of his career!

Former Congressman Chris Gibson spent two decades in the armed forces, and is a retired Army Colonel. His experiences as a soldier and lawmaker are captured in his new book, "Rally Point: Five Tasks to Unite the Country and Revitalize the American Dream."

Life Happens Radio  have a rare chance to hear Gibson's perspective on the crossroads our Country faces in government, the economy and the long-term care prospects for our aging population.

Listen to the podcast to hear a  lively and thoughtful conversation with Chris Gibson, who will shares observations about his current role as a professor at nearby Williams College. 

 

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May
19
to May 20

"Planning for Income Replacement if You Are Injured or Too Sick & Can't Work"

May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month.  Have you considered what might happen if you got sick or hurt and couldn’t work for an extended period of time?  How long could you play your bills with what you have saved?  What impact would that have on your overall finances?  On your loved ones?

Many of us put off planning for Income Replacement because we don’t want to think about something so unpleasant.  However, as we know, “Life Happens” and we need to plan for the unexpected, and that includes an injury or illness that hampers our ability to bring home a paycheck.

The good news is that there are reasonably priced insurance policies available to help.  Join Bob Vandy and Brian Johnson Saturday May 19, as they share some valuable information on misconceptions about disability, what you need to know about potential resources, and how you can best plan!

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May
12
1:30 PM13:30

"Is a Trust Right for You? Learn the ABC’s of Trust Planning"

In the world of estate planning, trusts are the most powerful weapon in the arsenal, providing asset protection, tax reduction, probate avoidance and more. But how do you know if creating a trust will help you achieve your goals? And which kind of trust is the best fit?

On this podcast, attorneys Lou Pierro and Nicole Hurley explain the A, B, C’s of Trusts, including:

*The definition of this legal entity and what assets go in it
* The pros and cons of different trusts, including testamentary and living trusts
* Advantages of revocable and irrevocable trusts at different stages of your life
* How a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust can help finance long-term care costs
* Tax planning benefits of trusts

Lou and Nicole describe real-life client cases to illustrate the best use of trust planning.

They also discuss our "The A,B,C's of Trusts" guide, which you can access here

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May
5
12:30 PM12:30

"Plan for the Unexpected"

On LHR, we often stress the importance of planning for the unexpected, and the crisis that can emerge if you don’t. Estate planning can get your affairs in order, save you & your family time and money – and prepare you for the day when crisis hits. Singer/songwriter Prince famously died without a will. The second anniversary of his death just passed at the end of April, and his estate still hasn’t been distributed at all. This is a result of not planning for the unexpected.

On this podcast, attorneys Nicole Hurley and Frank Hemming share real life stories of estate planning do’s and don’ts, and discuss how it can eliminate stress for loved ones and ensure your assets pass to those you want after death. For instance, to:

  1. Avoid probate! With the right plan, you can save your family from the costly and timely court process to establish the validity of your will.
  2. Protect blended families. If you are divorced, or have children from previous marriages, planning can make sure that there is no confusion about where assets go upon your death.
  3. Protect someone’s future. If your child has special needs or a disability, you can plan to have them financially supported throughout their life by planning ahead.is
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Apr
28
9:30 AM09:30

"Your Tool Kit for Aging at Home"

“There’s no place like home” is an iconic saying from a classic move. It represents the longing we have for security, safety and emotional well-being, which a majority of Americans say they want. 87% of Americans hope to stay in their current home and community as they age, according to an AARP study. On the April 28th edition of Life Happens Radio, we break down the steps you can take to make it a reality, not just a movie. 

Listen to this podcast to hear the latest tips on legal, financial and care strategies for home care. Award-winning attorney Lou Pierro gives step-by-step instructions on preserving assets through trust and Medicaid planning. Geriatric Care Manager Susan Vail describes how to set up a care management plan at home. They are joined by special guest Al Cardillo, Executive Vice President of the Home Care Association of New York State. Al focuses on resources available to baby boomers and their parents to access services to age in place with quality care. They also discuss how to take advantage of New York’s Medicaid home care program. 


 

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Apr
21
11:00 AM11:00

Considering a Trust? Get the Facts!

By now, you have likely heard us talk on Life Happens Radio about those essential estate planning documents: Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, Disposition of Remains Appointment and Will. 

On this episode, we do a deep dive into a more advanced option for estate planning: a trust. Attorneys Lou Pierro and Rebecca Cerny share key aspects to consider when deciding if a trust is right for you.

A significant trust advantage is avoiding the time and cost of probate. Probate in New York can get very costly and takes over seven months to complete. Establishing a trust also preserves assets and expedites the wishes of your loved one. Many kinds of trusts exist, so Lou and Rebecca  run down the two main options - irrevocable (cannot be changed) and revocable (can be changed). 

Another benefit of a trust is privacy. Probate is a public process, so anyone could see your last wishes and details of your finances. If you are considering giving different percentages of your assets to each of your children, you can avoid conflict by creating a trust, which would keep that information private.

The need for ongoing financial support to a loved one is another reason someone should have a trust. If you have a child or sibling with special needs, a trust can manage financial support after your passing, finance everyday needs, and facilitate eligibility for government support.

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Apr
14
12:00 PM12:00

"Know What You Know…and Know What You DON’T Know…Financial Literacy Month – the Insurance Version"

Bob Vandy & Lou Pierro
April 14, 2018 @ 11a.m.


"Know What You Know…and Know What You DON’T Know…Financial Literacy Month – the Insurance Version"
April is Financial Literacy Awareness Month. As you know, a basic tenet and belief of Life Happens Radio is, “an educated consumer is the BEST consumer.” Proper insurance planning is a BIG part of your overall financial picture, and financial literacy means educating yourself on all things financial in your life, including insurance. 

Bob Vandy and Lou Pierro share some great insights into the things you need to know to properly plan for an untimely death, disabling event or extended care need. In addition, they prepare for next month’s Disability Insurance Awareness Month. 

How long could you pay your bills if you got hurt or sick and couldn’t work? Most people answer that question, “not very long.” Listen to this podcast to help you learn more about how to plan for such an unpleasant event.

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Apr
7
10:00 AM10:00

"Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way"

It’s a stunning statistic: fewer than half of Americans have written a will, according to a Gallup poll. So it’s likely that you, or someone you know, doesn’t have a will. There can be a lot of reasons why people haven’t gotten around to it. For instance, you may not be sure you have enough assets to need one, or perhaps you have a will, but it hasn’t been reviewed or revised in many years.

On Saturday’s show, we are focus on why it is so important to have an updated and accurate will.

Pierro, Connor & Associates attorneys Aaron Connor and Nicole Hurley share stories and examples that highlight the many reasons why having a will is necessary, including:

- Family dynamics can often change. If you have multiple marriages or a blended family, the financial loss can be huge if you die without a will. It’s also crucial to keep the names of your trustee or heirs current with your life now.

- Having the right person named to a legal role in your estate can also save your family from unwanted drama.  When preparing a will, most people also designate a power of attorney and health care proxy. Aaron and Nicole discuss why sometimes the most obvious choice, is not the right one. You may have a very close relationship with one of your children, but he/she might not be able to make level-headed and logical medical decisions for you if you become unable. It can be a smarter decision to choose someone who you are confident would carry out your final wishes.

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Mar
31
11:30 AM11:30

"LTC Planning Without Boundaries: Helping Families Who Live Close...or Far Away"

It can be can stressful to help an aging parent apply for Medicaid benefits and protect assets. But on top of that, what if your siblings live out of state- and the family is trying to coordinate legal plans from across the country? Double the stress!

On Saturday, you’ll hear real life stores of how we take those challenges in stride — keeping extended families informed and connected - wherever they live - while building an air-tight legal and care management plan.

Attorneys Lou Pierro and Frank Hemming will share real life examples of how they helped ease the burden on clients having to plan for the future of a loved one who does not live nearby.

  1. A local daughter was unhappy with the care options for her mother, who lived over two hours away. The attorneys worked with the family every step of the way, to get her mom moved closer and into a facility everyone was happy with.
  2. They helped an out-of-state client apply for Medicaid, and get placed in a local care facility closer to her family- all within only two months!
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Mar
24
10:00 AM10:00

“Spring [Insurance] Cleaning”

Now that Spring is here...well, sort of...it’s a great time to clean out that drawer with all of your insurance policies to see if they are still doing what you want or need them to do.

On this podcast, Bob Vandy and Brian Johnson give you guidance on things to consider as you do that part of your spring cleaning. They share some of the latest developments in Life, Long Term Care, Income Replacement (Disability Income) Insurance and more!

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Mar
17
9:30 AM09:30

"Medicaid Planning: Making It Work"

Aaron Connor and Frank Hemming
March 17, 2018 @ 11a.m.
"Medicaid Planning: Making It Work"

Qualifying for Medicaid is no easy task, given the stacks of required forms, all the red tape and the varying Federal and State rules – not to mention the stress! Each family’s case is unique and needs personalized expertise to get it done right. 
This week on Life Happens Radio, Managing Partner Aaron Connor and Medicaid attorney Frank Hemming will discuss real-life stories that highlight some of the ways we’ve succeeded in helping our clients qualify for Medicaid while protecting assets.


Two examples you’ll hear about:
•    - Recently, a client was surprised to hear that although her parents have been legally separated for over a decade, in the eyes of the government, their assets are still considered joint. Find out how Frank and Aaron are working to get our client eligible, without having to go through a divorce solely for Medicaid purposes.   
•    -A client sought our help after assuming he’d have to spend-down almost half of his assets to qualify for Medicaid. On our radio show, you’ll hear about the critical question Frank asked that turned around the entire case, allowing our client to obtain the Federal benefits while keeping his life savings. 


If you are planning ahead to be ready for Medicaid, or know someone who is in immediate need, you won’t want to miss this week’s show.
 

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Mar
10
10:30 AM10:30

"Love, Money and the 50+ with AARP's New York Leader!"

Lou Pierro, with guest Beth Finkel, State Director, AARP New York

If you are caregiving for a loved one or concerned about having enough savings for retirement, then you won't want to miss this edition of Life Happens Radio, when Lou Pierro and Beth Finkle talk about new proposals and services that directly impact the care and financial well-being of New York's 50+ residents.

Host Lou Pierro will be joined by special guest Beth Finkel, State Director of AARP New York: the leading advocacy group for the 50+ population. Beth will have new information about free programs you and your loved ones can access. She'll also update us on AARP proposals before the State legislature that you can help promote by:

Urging state lawmakers to support Governor Cuomo’s proposed “Secure Choice” voluntary workplace retirement savings option in the final state budget to help more New Yorkers better prepare for their financial future.*Encouraging state legislators to approve the Governor’s proposal to expand telehealth and make it easier for New Yorkers to access health care from their homes.

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Mar
3
12:00 PM12:00

"Doing Well by Doing Good"

 

Giving to charity can be one of the most rewarding ways to spend money. But did you know that there are many easy ways to support the organizations and causes closest to your heart – that also carry advantages with your estate plan?

On Saturday, March 3rd, Lou talked with John Eberle of The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region. The Community Foundation gives millions of dollars each year in grants to local nonprofits and scholarships to local students. John and Lou described the simple ways to make the most of your charitable giving during your lifetime, and how to make the impact of your generosity last for generations to come.

They also covered how charitable giving during your lifetime, and after death through a will, may significantly lower gift and estate taxes. In addition, your favorite charity can be the beneficiary of a Trust.

Check out this Life Happens Radio podcast, and callTthe Community Foundation for more information at (518) 446-9638.  

   

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Feb
24
2:30 PM14:30

"Estate Planning and Retirement Considerations for Late-in-Life Parents"

"Estate Planning and Retirement Considerations for Late-in-Life Parents"

Older parents are becoming more common, driven in part by changing cultural mores and surrogate motherhood. On this edition of LHR, attorneys Aaron Connor and Nicole Hurley discuss how planning for these parents differ from younger ones.

For late-in-life parents, there is an added importance of having a guardian for your children, should anything happen to you before they are adults. Having a trust can be beneficial when planning for larger expenses, like a child's college fund. However, planning and saving for retirement should remain a top priority no matter what age you have children. While the chance of being able to borrow money for a college education is high, borrowing for retirement is much harder.    

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