Am I really “THAT” Old?!?  And if so, what steps to take once I admit I am no longer 29?

Written By Karen Elise Robbins
August 22, 2022

 

My birthday is in August. It is a great time of year to enjoy the day and conveniently forget how to count. After all, what is the purpose in subtracting the current year from the year I was born to reinforce the fact that I am no longer twenty-nine, or thirty-nine….? Okay, I believe you get the picture.  Can you imagine my shock and dismay when in the mailbox I recently received a welcome envelope from AARP? I double checked and, yes, it was in fact my name on the envelope. I did not sign up; I did quickly recycle the mailer, and then I determined it was a good catalyst for this blog post.

Most parents realize that they need to have a will in order to specify who will raise their children should the worst come to pass. These wills might simply leave everything to the children in some form of trust, and name the desired guardians. Locating the will and admitting it to probate can take time. Connecticut, however, allows for Guardianship Memorandums.  Simply put, these super brief documents when drafted and executed correctly, can be brought to the probate court and the judge can immediately appoint the chosen guardian while the rest of the will slowly meanders through the legal system.

At a minimum, what other documents in addition to a basic will and guardianship memorandum should you have long before you turn……forty-nine for the second time?

  1. Advanced Health Directives which include:
    1. Designation of a Health Care Proxy
    2. HIPAA release
    3. Living Will
  2. Durable Power of Attorney
    1. This important document grants the power to your designated representative to manage your financial affairs, survives your potential incapacity, and stays in force until you choose to revoke it (you can shred it to pieces if you desire) or your death.
  3. Confirmation that any retirement accounts, life insurance policies and the like have listed beneficiaries.

I am happy to answer any questions you have regarding the above mentioned documents. A bit of your time and money will guaranty that you can pretend to be any age you want, while feeling secure that you and your loved ones are protected.

For the record, I have heard that AARP offers some excellent discounts. For the moment, however, I will stick to the savings during Tax Free Week, which for the record starts today, August 21st and continues through next Saturday. Happy Shopping.

-Karen

Karen Elise Robbins is an attorney admitted to practice law in Connecticut. She has completed her L.L.M. degree in Elder Law and Estate Planning from Western New England School of Law. She can be contacted at (860)871-8000 or [email protected].

 

 

Posted August 9, 2022

A Receptionist / Legal Secretary Position is available at Marder, Roberson & DeFelice Law Offices, LLC located in Vernon, CT.  The ideal candidate will have some law firm experience, knowledge of Office365, and have excellent communication skills.  The applicant must have high attention to detail, be highly organized and possess an aptitude for multi-tasking.  We are looking for a highly ethical and responsible individual to join our team.  Please submit your resume and references to:  [email protected]

Documents needed when your “no-longer-baby” turns 18 and College is around the Corner

Written By Karen Elise Robbins
August 2, 2022

Every year as August approaches and summer is on its downward turn I start thinking about the start of the school year and the inevitable date when my college “kids” head back to campus. Though my sons never wanted help with packing, organizing or the like, the one thing I could insure is that when they leave, I have the correct paperwork to talk with their doctors, counselors and the like once they leave the protective walls of my home. Just as there existed no one guide to raising kids, few colleges list HIPAA releases and health care representative forms on their “To do” lists for students.

It isn’t actually leaving the nest that necessitates the signing of the above important documents, but your child’s 18th birthday. With two of my three already past 18, it still strikes me as incongruous that if one were to go to urgent care or the emergency room at 11:59 pm the night before their  18th birthday I could take charge, sign their forms,  speak with their doctors and make decisions for them if that is what I chose. Should the same emergency occur just a minute later, my child would be on their own and my rights to act on their behalf simply vanish. Watching my middle son’s perplexed attempt to fill out the requisite forms to have his wisdom teeth removed the weekend after high school graduation reinforced the fact that becoming a legal adult did not mean he was instantly ready to handle his medical care on his own. Truth is, in our medical system, no one should be solely left on their own to navigate their care no matter what age.

While, most of my practice is spent with the elderly and older clients, August brings in many younger clients. Those whose parents are “in the know” and smartly want to preserve their ability to advocate and act for their child at home as well as when they are away at school no matter the location.

What You May Need In A Medical Emergency to act on your teen’s behalf:

  1. Health Care Proxy(also referred to as a healthcare agent or medical power of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney, or durable power of attorney for health care)

This authorizes you to make medical decisions and it gives you access to their medical records and the ability to converse with their medical health care providers. By signing a healthcare proxy, your teen is appointing you to act on your behalf in making medical decisions should they so choose.

  1. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)authorization (also called a HIPAA release) A more narrow document that permits the healthcare providers to disclose your  teen’s healthcare information to you or anyone they specify, in person, over the phone or through email, etc.  This document alone will often suffice for you to get information from the health care institution treating your child. In a HIPAA authorization, a young adult can stipulate that they don’t want to disclose information about such things sex, drugs, mental health, or other details that they prefer to keep private. As with the broader healthcare proxy, a HIPAA release can also include a Living Will if your teen so chooses.
  2. Durable Power of Attorney (Durable POA)

This enables a parent or other adult to make financial decisions on the student’s behalf. The POA can provide that power vests in you immediately after signing the document or that it vests only if your child becomes incapacitated. The POA permits the designated representative, among other things, to sign tax returns, access bank accounts, pay bills, make changes to your child’s financial aid package, or figure out tuition problems.

Call me so I can discuss the above documents with you. A bit of your time and a small fee will bring you invaluable peace of mind when your child heads towards their next stage of independence.

Now – on to Bed Bath and Beyond or Amazon to purchase the requisite XL sheets.

 

-Karen

Karen Elise Robbins is an attorney admitted to practice law in Connecticut. She has completed her L.L.M. degree in Elder Law and Estate Planning from Western New England School of Law. She can be contacted at (860)871-8000 or [email protected]der-law.com.