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Managing Life: Long-term Planning
Originally published on LinkedIn Apr. 9, 2023
Managing Life: Long-term Planning
It is tax season here in the U.S. which means many of us are reviewing the impact of recent tax law changes and adjusting our plans for the future. That's also why I'm glad I've been spending this term at Stetson University College of Law learning more about Tax & the Elder Law Client from Prof. Michael J. Amoruso.
“Notre constitution nouvelle est actuellement établie, tout paraît nous promettre qu’elle sera durable; mais, dans ce monde, il n’y a rien d’assure que la mort et les impôts.” -- Benjamin Franklin, Letter to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy, November 13, 1789
No matter what career or life stage you are currently in, it is never too early to start thinking about your long-term care plans in addition to the usual estate and tax planning. This is more along the lines of "Holistic Planning" my professor likes to refer to, or "Life Planning," as Rajiv Nagaich described it in his recent article on "How Traditional Retirement Planning Fails America’s Seniors."
Holistic or Life Planning contemplates not only optimizing your financial wellbeing, but also realistically considering what is needed for long-term health and wellness, especially where disabilities and chronic health conditions call for more services and attention throughout your own and/or a family member's life. This calls for incorporating tax, financial, health, and legal planning together - something that can be a challenge if your advisors in these areas are not usually talking to each other and expecting you to know how to integrate all their recommendations.
Take a look at this Genworth Cost of Care Survey to learn more about the median costs across the U.S. for long-term care.
Many people tend to think their wills and advanced directives may suffice for their situation, while leaving their taxes and investments to accountants and brokers who may not take into consideration a client's overall life circumstances. It always helps to work with an experienced elder law practitioner who can guide you through the many factors to consider to ensure your long-term care plans, for yourself and your loved ones, are realistic and achievable.
Not only have I been learning a lot at Stetson, but also through the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, that has connected me with so many experts on different practice areas and multijurisdictional considerations for families with residences in multiple locations, subject to additional state law and tax considerations as well.
Tax season doesn't have to be a burden if you plan ahead and work with advisors who can address your unique situation. And as tempting as it is to ask ChatGPT about your situation, there is no substitute for thoughtful advice from an experienced practitioner who invests in continuing legal education appropriate for their jurisdiction and, more importantly, can empathize with your family's needs.
Hilary Brueck, "ChatGPT can save lives in the ER, but it needs supervision: 'It is at once both smarter and dumber than any person you've ever met,'" Insider, Apr. 7, 2023.
Genworth Cost of Care Survey, Nov. 2021.
NCC Staff, "Benjamin Franklin’s last great quote and the Constitution," National Constitution Center, Nov. 13, 2022. (providing the translated English quote from Franklin's letter originally written in French)
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