Planning for the Future: Elder Law
Philanthropists Lois and John Harris are involved in volunteer activities from Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County to fellowship groups at Twinbrook Baptist Church and volunteer groups for their granddaughter’s elementary school class. This busy couple proclaims that they are “part of the generation for whom ‘retired life’ has taken on a whole new meaning. No longer committed to ‘earning our keep,’ we view ourselves as fortunate to be able to devote our time and energy to rewarding volunteer activities.” While helping to improve the lives of others in their community has been their primary focus in retirement, Lois and John have also spent a considerable amount of time on insuring that they are able to continue living on their own terms in the coming years.
One of their first steps in planning for their retirement was consulting a qualified, elder law attorney for pre-retirement advice about financial and estate planning issues. Their primary concern during their initial consultation was security: “We were seeking confirmation that our retirement income and available resources would outlast our anticipated lifetime needs,” relates the couple. After consulting with an attorney, they set up revocable trusts to handle the “unforeseeable crises” during their lives and to assure the proper distribution of any remaining assets upon their deaths.
The Harris’s planning will continue with periodic visits to their attorney to inquire about changing tax laws and to relate changes in their personal financial situation. These visits will help to guarantee that their trusts continue to serve their needs and desires. Additionally, the Harris’s have taken these opportunities to discuss future choices with their attorney. Since many of their close friends have moved into continuing care retirement communities, the couple “will probably lean in that direction in the foreseeable future,” according to John.
The security that their trusts have afforded them allows the couple to focus on their plans to continue helping others in anyway they can: “We believe firmly in the adage that service to others will add years to our life and life to our years. Even the usual aches and pains of aging are less noticeable when our focus is on alleviating social-and individual-ills.” With positive attitudes, Lois and John continue to look forward to the future, which for them undoubtedly includes countless opportunities to enrich the lives of others.