Westchester elder law attorney Anthony J. Enea of Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP recently addressed the importance of long-term care planning in an educational program to the Yonkers Chamber of Commerce. With millions of baby boomers coming of age, Mr. Enea urges those in or approaching their elder years to take a proactive role in planning for the future.
"Between work and family, our busy lives often leave little time to focus on our own personal affairs, especially those related to our aging," said Anthony Enea. "I cannot emphasize enough the importance of stepping back to assess whether or not you're adequately prepared."
The Yonkers Chamber of Commerce marks the latest speaking engagement for Mr. Enea, who has spent three decades protecting the rights of seniors, the disabled and their families.
The first step in preparation, according to Enea, is to physically organize your affairs. This includes your Last Will and Testament as well as any trusts, advanced directives, property deeds, mortgages and notes, insurance policies, bank and investment records, income tax returns, passports, birth certificates, and military discharge records. Ensure all documents are up to date and reflect your present financial circumstances and wishes. Enea also suggests creating a Durable Power of Attorney with as many powers as possible (including broad gifting powers) to avoid potentially unnecessary guardianship proceedings.
Another recommendation is to keep at least eight years of financial and bank records. "Many families are unable to locate all of the bank and financial accounts their loved ones have at a time of illness or death," noted Enea. "If you need to apply for Medicaid to cover your possible stay in a nursing home, you will need the last five years of all bank and investment account statements and records."
Enea continued, "While no one anticipates having a stroke or heart attack, developing Parkinson's, Alzheimer's or dementia, long-term care is a reality for millions across the country. It is absolutely imperative to engage in advanced planning to protect your life savings from these potential costs."