November 2022

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Schweizer and Associates.  

  Inside this issue:

  • Estate Planning Pop Quiz?  
  • Five Tips for Medicaid Spend Down
  • Helping Seniors Make Connections to Avoid Loneliness
  • What’s New At Schweizer and Associates
  • Happy Lawyer Corner

We are open for appointments for all of your estate planning, real estate and small business needs.  We now offer virtual /zoom appointments as well as in person appointments.  So give us a call – the mini loaves are calling your name.

Myths:  Planning for Families with a Stay-at-Home Parent

Myth #1: Because I stay at home with the kids, I do not need an estate plan.
Estate planning is about more than just passing along your money and property. An estate plan allows you the opportunity to designate who will handle your financial affairs and medical decisions if you cannot. Your significant other does not automatically have such authority. Without a financial power of attorney naming a person to handle your financial affairs and a medical power of attorney naming a person to make medical decisions for you when you cannot, a judge will choose someone to make these decisions for you. The judge will reference your state’s laws and name the person whom the law says should have priority. An estate plan also allows you to designate who will care for your minor children in the event you cannot. To ensure that the person who is making decisions on your behalf or for your children is the one you want, you need properly executed, legally binding estate planning documents. Without these documents, a judge will choose the person responsible for raising your child, and the judge will not have the same level of background information about that person that you do. This person could be the last person you want, but they could make the best showing in front of a judge and have the highest priority according to your state’s law.

Myth #2: I am a stay-at-home parent, so I do not need a financial or estate plan because I do not earn an income.

While most people think about trying to replace lost income in the event that a parent or significant other dies, a stay-at-home parent’s contributions should not be overlooked. If the stay-at-home parent dies, who will do all of the tasks that they normally complete? One option would be to hire someone to watch the children, cook the meals, and clean the home, but the surviving parent would need to have the funds to pay that person. On the other hand, the surviving parent may decide that they need to step away from their job or scale down the amount of time they work so they can perform all of the stay-at-home parent’s responsibilities. Either option would be more feasible if the family had access to an adequate amount of life insurance proceeds to fund these and other future needs. It is also important to protect the insurance proceeds to make sure that they are available to the family and do not end up in the hands of a new spouse, creditor, or scam artist.
If you or a loved one needs help with spending down assets to pay for Medicaid, we are here to help.  Kristen Mackintosh, The Happy Lawyer can help you create a plan to qualify your loved one for Medicaid quickly and while saving assets in the process.
Is Your Financial Information in Order?
Preparing and organizing your financial information for when you are no longer capable will bring peace of mind to you today and relieve your loved ones’ burden in the future. It will ensure proper management of your financial situation and afford control over your end of life and legacy. The goal is to make and maintain an accurate list of accounts and passwords and relevant contact names at financial institutions. Planners and books (“My Life Directory,” “I’m Dead. Now What?”) are available to help you understand the scope of the project and start the process of organizing all records and personal information. Whether you are a parent, near retirement, or both, informational instructions will spare your family a lot of work and heartache.

The assumption is that you already have an estate plan with necessary documents such as a will, living will, durable power of attorney and medical attorney, etc. If this is not the case, retain an attorney to create these most important legal documents. You can then focus your attention on the written steps your family should take if something happens to you. These steps should include a list of all salient information; names (think bankers, lawyers, insurance agents) and their contact information, digital and hard assets, accounts, bills, debts, credit cards, insurance policies, annuities, pensions, PINs, and passwords. Include a list of all companies and invoice types (monthly, quarterly, annually) that automatically debit money from your checking account. This list is about anyone and anything that is part of your financial life.
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What’s new at Schweizer and Associates?
We have a new paralegal who has joined us!  We welcome Jasmine Edwards. Jasmine will be assisting Kristen Mackintosh, The Happy Lawyer.  We are excited to have her with us.  We love her bubbly, outgoing, friendly personality.  Read on to learn more about Jasmine.

We have been have been busy this fall hosting monthly fun days.  Last month we ate fortune cookies on National Fortune Cookie Day.  We brought in fortune cookies and each picked a cookie.  We then went around and read our fortunes before eating our cookies.

This month, we hosted a Smore’s Day.  We ate taco soup for lunch. Then, for dessert, we created lots of different types of smores.  See our Smore’s menu for your fall outings.

Meet Jasmine Edwards:
Jasmine Edwards graduated from East Carolina University in May 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. She has experience working in restaurants, bars, and country clubs and can always recommend a good spot for a cocktail or a bite to eat. In her free time, Jasmine enjoys creating art, baking, gardening, and spending time with family and friends. 
The Happy Lawyer Corner

What’s on the agenda for The Happy Lawyer?  November we are focusing on caregiving.  This month Kristen will be discussing the following topics:
  1. Your Aging Parent and How to Prepare for Their Care.
  2. Should My Loved One Needing Care Live With me?
  3. How to Thrive as a Family Caregiver.
  4. Caregiving in a Time of Crisis
You can read our blogs here:  https://nclegalcounsel.com/category/legal-news/blog/
Tune in each week to our Website, Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin Pages to learn more about these topics each day.  Every week, The Happy Lawyer will be posting videos, blogs and articles of interest on the weekly topic.  On Fridays, she will offer some type of  media for you to download:  an infographic, workbook, e-book or checklist.

Last month, I had the pleasure of presenting a Business Owner’s Talk at Joe Novara’s Business Breakthrough Event.  I enjoyed educating future, and current, business owners on business mistakes to avoid.