Estate & Elder News

A Note from Christine

Hi ~Contact.FirstName~,

I stumbled across this interview last week featuring New York Times best selling author, entrepreneur and respected financial guru, David Bach. You might recognize some of his books including, The Automatic Millionaire and Start Late, Finish Rich.

The interview focuses on the importance of aligning your money goals with your values, fixing common money mistakes, and David’s best strategies for repositioning yourself and/or your family to quickly get back on a path of abundance and wealth. It’s a must-watch that will help you take back control of your financial future and feel good about your relationship with money again.

But, here’s what I really want to draw your attention to: about 28 minutes into the interview, David talks about estate planning. You didn’t see that one coming, right?

In fact, David flat out says, “If you have money or a business and you don’t have a will, SHAME ON YOU. People work their whole lives to build wealth while claiming their top driving value is family--but without a simple will [or other estate planning documents], you will DESTROY YOUR FAMILY.” He ends with the warning to, “Get your @** into an attorney’s office and get your will done!”

Some tough language but everything he’s saying is true. It doesn’t matter how successful you are or how much money you make; if you don’t have the right legal protections in place, your financial security and your family is at risk. Having a solid estate plan is really the only way to safeguard everyone you love and everything you’ve worked so hard for.

If you don’t have a plan and this interview was the nudge you needed in the right direction today, feel free to call our office to schedule a planning session. I’d be happy to sit down with you and your family and walk you through all of your options.

Have a great week!




4 Steps to Avoid Stress at the End of Life

In general, Americans are very uncomfortable talking about end-of-life issues. It can be hard for people to think about (and plan for) their own death, let alone the death of their loved ones. I get it.
Yet by not discussing these issues, you are leaving your future caregivers (most often your adult children) in an impossible position. Many people are taken completely off-guard when their elderly parents start to decline.
Because we don’t discuss these issues ahead of time, caregivers are often left unprepared for the life changes they are about to experience. Depending on the speed and amount of decline, a caregiver might have to dedicate a significant portion of their life to the growing needs of their parents.

Simple legal planning can help to avoid these issues. You can pave the way now, so that life is easier when incapacity, disability, or ultimately death occurs. Here are a few key ways to prepare:

  1. Have “the talk.” It doesn’t matter if you are the impending caregiver or the person who will need care, you should make time to sit down and talk. This should happen way before the elderly person starts experiencing memory loss, so the sooner the better! You’ll need to discuss the senior’s wants, needs, health issues, financial resources, and preferences for the amount of medical intervention you/they want at the end.
  2. Have legal documents prepared. Work with an estate planning attorney to prepare important legal, financial, and healthcare documents - and keep them updated! Do this immediately if the senior is showing signs of increasing health issues. If you wait until the senior is showing signs of mental decline, they could be declared incompetent to make their own decisions and it will be too late for them to sign any new documents.
  3. Review financial information. Be sure you review the senior’s financial statements and understand their income and expenses. Knowing how to access this information will be critical to handling their affairs if they are unable.
  4. Research elder care options. Review the options and determine what living situations the elder person is comfortable with in advance. Determine their preferences for hospital, rehabilitation, nursing home, assisted living, and/or independent living communities as well as options for memory care, home care, and even hospice.

Having these discussions in advance are uncomfortable, but knowing this information will save more stress and heartache than you can imagine. For additional information on how to prepare for end-of-life transitions, contact our office at (310) 782-6322.




Christine Recommends

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About Christine Brown

Christine BrownChristine received her bachelor's degree from U.C. Santa Barbara and is a 1992 graduate of the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. She is formerly a partner in the law firm of Popeney, Lebetsamer & Brown, LLP. In January 2002, she opened her own law firm which concentrates solely in the area of elder law. Her special emphasis is on Medi-Cal long-term care planning and the concerns of the elderly, while also applying her extensive experience in estate planning, trust administration, probate and conservatorships.

Christine is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the South Bay Bar Probate and Estate Planning Section, as well as other community organizations concerned with the needs of older adults. As an active member of her community and State Bar, Christine volunteers regularly at various Superior Court Probate Departments in assisting the public with legal issues. She works regularly with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform ("CANHR") and the Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Center.

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