Asset Preservation and Distribution Consultant Tom Eaglehouse Offers

Greensburg, PA - September, 2012 – Each and every one of us at some level has dealt with the tragic loss of a loved one, or has watched a person we care about deal with the pain and suffering of a long term disability. Death is inevitable and (according to studies by AARP, Met Life and GE Financial) disability affects one in two Americans over the age of 65 on a long-term basis. With these unpleasant realities so certain, estate and disability planning in America should be well designed and well developed, enabling families to avoid the hardship associated with having a poor plan or no plan at all.

Tom Eaglehouse, Founder of The Estate and Retirement Planning Center, recently discussed three things that every American over the age of 65 should be considering about their estate and disability planning:

1. Lawyers can create great legal estate planning documents, but if your assets are not "funded" into the trusts - or if you have documents that are poorly defined in a disability situation, you can end up with a very IN-effective plan. Here are some significant problems to look out for:
• If you have a trust and none of your accounts are tied to it, the trust will not help your estate avoid probate. A well-prepared legal document can help your family avoid the cost of probate, (AARP reports average probate costs annually are 3-5%) but if your bank and investment accounts are not held in the name of your trust, it will not help.
• It is also important to make sure your real estate is tied through newly created deeds to transfer the property into the trust.

2. Long-term care can wipe you out financially. This may be hard to believe, but that is the new reality of healthcare. With home health care aides costing $15-30 per hour and Assisted living facilities costing from $4,000 to $8,000 per month in many parts of the country, nursing homes can cost well over $100,000 per year. Developing a long-term care plan is critical. There are a variety of ways to use leverage with specific financial products to help you protect your hard earned retirement savings beyond traditional long term care insurance. Being proactive and planning for these future tragedies can spare your loved ones the stress of trying to "figure it out."

3. Divide and BE CONQUERED. All too often financial advisors rely just on financial solutions to solve a client's long-term care risk. Likewise, lawyers look to their legal documents to solve the problem. The best advice is to seek out a "team approach". A well-prepared financial plan addressing death and disability, designed in tandem with coordinated and well-drafted legal documents, will yield you the very best results. Two professionals working "independently" can actually cancel out the effectiveness of one another’s work. Be proactive by insisting that the advisor(s) and lawyer(s) you trust work collaboratively.

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