Elder Law Explained: Estate Planning

This is Episode 10, Elder Law Explained: Estate Planning, and the first episode of a five-part series addressing the legal side of the aging process. We’ve all heard that saying “Nothing is sure but death and taxes”, but I’d argue that confusion surrounding legal matters as we age is a pretty sure thing. Did you know that less than 40% of adults aged 50 and older have an estate plan in place? Are you aware that an estate plan isn’t just for wealthy people? Are you familiar with the terms will, living will, power of attorney and trust and do you know what they mean? Or if you even need them? We answer all these questions and more on this episode of sage aging.

Here is what we cover

  • Who needs to be concerned with estate planning?
  • The word “estate” is often misunderstood for wealth. What is an estate?
  • What is estate planning?
  • When should one create an estate plan?
  • What Happens if I don’t have a plan?
  • Key Components of an estate plan: Will, Living Will, Power of Attorney, Trust
  • Can someone DIY an Estate Plan?

Resources & Links

Read the full transcript

Closed Captioning

Episode 10

SPEAKERS

Amy Phillips, Liz Craven

 

Polk ElderCare Guide  00:00

Support for this episode of Sage Aging comes from Polk ElderCare Guide. Designed with families in mind, Polk ElderCare Guide gives you the tools and education necessary to make quality choices about senior care and living options in Polk County, Florida. available in both English and Spanish. You can view the guides and much more online at polkeldercare.com.

 

Liz Craven

Creating an estate plan is a good idea for every adult. Yet most people don’t have one. What happens if you become incapacitated and are unable to make medical or financial decisions for yourself? How does the lack of an estate plan affect surviving family members? Is it difficult and costly to create an estate plan? If you’re 18 or older, and you or your loved ones don’t have an estate plan in place, then this is the podcast episode for you.

 

Intro

Hi, I’m Liz Craven, and like so many others. I’ve faced the overwhelming task of being a caregiver for people that I hold dear. I understand how tough the day to day of a caregiver can be and how hard it is to come by good information. Here’s one thing I know for sure. Education is key. Equipped with the right tools and good information, caregivers will experience less stress and find better balance of day to day life. For the past two decades, I’ve built my career on connecting older adults and those who care for them to the education and resources they need to navigate the aging journey. This show is dedicated to the same Welcome to the Sage Aging podcast. Hit subscribe now, and let’s get started.

 

Liz Craven

Hello, and welcome to the sage aging podcast. I’m your host Liz Craven. This is Episode 10 and the first episode of a five-part series addressing the legal side of the aging process. We’ve all heard that saying “Nothing is sure but death and taxes”, but I’d argue that confusion surrounding legal matters as we age is a pretty sure thing. Did you know that less than 40% of adults aged 50 and older have an estate plan in place? Are you aware that an estate plan isn’t just for wealthy people? Are you familiar with the terms will living will power of attorney and trust and do you know what they mean? Or if you even need them? We’re about to answer all those questions and more on this episode of sage aging. My guest today is Attorney at Law Amy Phillips, Amy’s practice is dedicated exclusively to estate planning and probate. She focuses her practice on planning for all ages from young adults just starting their careers to older individuals looking at Long Term Care and end of life. I should also note that Amy practices law in both Florida and Pennsylvania and offers virtual services as well. To learn more about Amy and her practice, be sure to check the links section of the Show Notes for this episode, which can be found in the blog post for Episode 10 at Sage aging.us Welcome to the show, Amy, and thanks for joining me.

 

Amy Phillips  04:12

Thank you for having me.

 

Liz Craven  04:14

I’m so excited to have you here today to kick off our five part Elder Law series. I’ve designed the series to hit the highlights of each area of elder law and give our listeners a good base knowledge of what they need to know. It goes without saying though, that we’re not here today to dispense legal advice of any kind. And I want to encourage anyone listening to reach out to Amy or any other elder law attorney directly to answer any specific questions you might have. So with that out of the way, before we jump into our topic, let’s do a quick lightning round of get to know you questions. Are you ready?

 

Amy Phillips  04:53

I’m ready. Awesome.

 

Liz Craven  04:55

Okay, what is your favorite word?

 

Amy Phillips  04:58

Right now my favorite word is Summer this summer I’m especially looking forward to just getting you know, we’ve been through such a crazy time and just having some normal, you know, happy summer things coming up is really, really good right now.

 

Liz Craven  05:11

I’m a fan of summer too. I’d rather be hot than cold. What is the last thing that you ate?

 

Amy Phillips  05:18

Well, I had a smoothie for breakfast. So I guess that counts as eating, even though it was technically drinking it but it’s still more food than it is beverage? I think, so…

 

Liz Craven  05:27

Okay. And the last one, it’s Saturday afternoon during football season. Are you in front of the TV watching your favorite team? Are you out shopping with the girls?

 

Amy Phillips  05:39

I am absolutely in front of the TV. And if I had to go shopping, I’d have my phone in front of me with the scores.  That’s great. Hey, I’ve got to ask now. What’s your favorite team? Oh, I went to us so I am a gator. Well,

 

Liz Craven  05:52

I like you anyway, but I’m a die hard Seminole.

 

Amy Phillips  05:56

I thought we might get into this

 

Liz Craven  06:00

That’s fun. Okay, good. Well, I don’t want to waste too much time because we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. So let’s get into our topic. Today we’re going to be discussing a state planning. I think there’s a lot of misconception out there about what estate planning is and who needs it. So let’s start there. Just give us a brief description of what it is and who needs it.

 

Amy Phillips  06:25

Well, it is a, I guess, as a definition, a process of planning for where your property is going to go if you die, but also planning for your own incapacity. So if you you know, have an accident or you have an illness as you get older, that you can’t care for yourself, a big part of estate planning is planning for, you know, who’s going to take care of you who’s going to oversee your finances and all of that. Really, my short answer for who needs to be concerned with this is everyone you know, when somebody turns 18, their parents are not able to necessarily get all that Information anymore. So anybody who is legally an adult needs to have at least a few pieces in place just to make sure that if there is an accident or something happens, that they are going to be able to be taken care of.

 

Liz Craven  07:11

The word estate tends to make people think of wealth. I think one of the messages that I really want to get across to people is that even if you don’t have wealth, you still need to put an estate plan in place for the reasons that you just mentioned.

 

Amy Phillips  07:28

Yeah, that’s right. I think a lot of people do think of, you know, this huge estate of real estate or something like that, or you know, even just a huge amount of wealth, but really, everybody has an estate, in one sense or another. It’s whatever property you own money, real estate, really anything that needs to change hands at the time of your death would be considered your estate.

 

Liz Craven  07:49

When is the right time for somebody to create an estate plan?

 

Amy Phillips  07:54

Well, like I said earlier, age 18. I think I would recommend that at least to get the lifetime documents, the power of attorney and living will, things like that, which I’m sure we’ll cover in a little more detail later, upon reaching adulthood is part of it. But then you know, I always recommend to my clients after I finish up with them that they re-analyze everything and I think this goes for, you know, doing it the first time to anytime there’s a big life change. So you have a death in the family, somebody in the family is diagnosed with something new or becomes disabled and you have a big change in wealth either for the better or for the worse. You go through a divorce, anything like that, you know, it changes kind of the structure of your life and that’s a good time to look at this stuff again, if you’ve already done it. So I think those are kind of key areas to think about looking into this the first time you know if you haven’t done it before, but really if you don’t have this stuff in place, now is the time.

 

Liz Craven  08:49

Good answer. Okay, let’s get into the nitty gritty and talk about the key components of an estate plan. Probably the the component that people are most familiar with is a will. Can you talk a little bit about that?

 

Amy Phillips  09:03

Sure. A will is very important in some senses, but not necessarily the key piece that everyone thinks it is. If you are married and most of your assets are joint assets, and you die, that’s just going to go to your spouse, any of those jointly owned assets. Or if you have a life insurance policy or a retirement plan that has a beneficiary named on it, that’s going to trump whatever you put in your will anyway. So really, from a legal standpoint, a will is a document that tells the probate judge what to do. You know, tells the probate judge who you’re wanting to get those assets that only your name is on so if there’s anybody else’s name associated with it. Your will is not how you’re taking care of those assets. At the same time, it is still very important, especially if you want something other than, you know, the quote unquote traditional method of passing stuff down. If you want to leave something to charity or if you’re wanting to ensure, especially with blended families, that things work out the way you’re hoping it’s important to have the will in place, even just as a backup to some of those beneficiary designations.

 

Liz Craven  10:09

That’s all really great information. So the next component I want to talk about is often very confused with a will just because it has the same word in it, and that’s a living will, which is very different.

 

Amy Phillips  10:23

Yes, very different. But you’re right, they do get confused. A living will is just, it’s really, in my eyes, one part of a couple of different documents having to do with your healthcare, if you can’t speak for yourself. So with healthcare, we’re always going to ask, you know, what does that person want. If that person can speak for themselves and make decisions, you’re going to be making your own decisions. But if that point comes where you can’t do that, your living will is a kind of a set of instructions as to what it is that you want. But it’s also important to have a healthcare surrogate designation that sometimes is a separate document. Sometimes it’s done as part of a living will surrogate designation kind of combination document. So your healthcare surrogate is the person that’s going to make that decision for you. So they kind of go hand in hand, the healthcare surrogate designation tells who and the Living Will tells what is going to be done. It’s your instructions to that surrogate decision maker.

 

Liz Craven  11:22

So is that something that someone has to do through an attorney? Or is there a way that somebody could put together a living will, even if they didn’t have the rest of the pieces of an estate plan?

 

Amy Phillips  11:34

I’m always hesitant to recommend a whole lot of do it yourself on this, but that’s the one piece there are some really good resources out there. Hospice puts out a document I think the Florida Bar even has a kind of a do it yourself document on that, at least to get that person named, you know, the Living Will in and of itself, as long as you’ve communicated to your decision maker what it is that you want. That’s not the most important part. I think the most important Is naming that person, especially if you’re not wanting necessarily your next of kin to do that. So you’re in a partnership where you’re not married to the person, but they are your closest person. Or if you’re wanting one of your siblings, not the other to make the decision or one of your children and not all three of your children, something like that. So it becomes really important, but there are some resources out there that it doesn’t have to be done through an attorney.

 

Liz Craven  12:27

It sounds like it’s really important to put these things in place in an official manner to avoid some sticky situations later on with family.

 

Amy Phillips  12:36

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s sort of like with the will, the Florida law is going to assume that people want certain things but it tends to be the traditional, very straightforward mom, dad, two and a half kids, that type of situation that the law plans for so if you have any thing besides that that you want, then it becomes all the more important to get that surrogate named and have witnesses to that, and all of that in place.

 

Liz Craven  13:02

Do the policies vary a whole lot between states?

 

Amy Phillips  13:07

As far as living wills? No, not from what I’ve seen, you know, it tends to be based on, you know, a lot of case law over the years. Of course, there’s statutes that solidify some of that, but the principles behind it, I think, are pretty universal in most states. And it’s kind of the principles underlying this tend to be the same. The idea of, you know, the first thing I’m going to look at is…pretend it’s my parent, I’m going to look at what they told me they wanted first, and then I’m going to take my knowledge of that person and kind of apply it to what do I think they want, you know, based on the other things I know about them, and then we go to more of a best interest, what’s the universal best interest of that person. So those principles tend to remain the same from state to state. The need to have someone named is important state to state. What tends to differ a lot in estate planning is formalities of executing these documents, so Florida might require two witnesses and a notary for a regular will. And another state might require three witnesses, but no notary.

 

Liz Craven  14:11

Let’s move on to the next component of an estate plan. And that would be power of attorney. That’s a biggie.

 

Amy Phillips  14:19

Yes, definitely, that is probably the most important route. I think I would say that about all of them. But that is going to be the most important thing to me. In some ways, it’s more important than your will and taking care of who’s going to take care of your property. So it’s the most important thing you can put in place, having to do with your finances, and all of that. So that is a document that’s going to name a person to stand in your shoes to do financial transactions, real estate transactions, deal with your insurance company. You know, any of those business and things that we need to do you know, during end of life situations or have serious illness. So that’s going to go for anything that’s not a actual healthcare decision. There’s even some medical issues, you know, can fall under a power of attorney like dealing with an insurance company, or something like that. So that’s very, very important, especially as someone gets much older and is looking toward long term care, going into a nursing home, possibly dementia losing their ability to care for themselves. The older you get, the higher the chances that you’re going to really actually need to use this.

 

Liz Craven  15:30

So a power of attorney, is that a document that can be structured so that the power of attorney goes into effect in the event of somebody reaching a stage where they can’t make decisions for themselves? In other words, somebody who doesn’t really want to give that up while they’re still able to make their own decisions? Can that document be structured to accommodate that?

 

Amy Phillips  15:54

That’s an advanced question. Um, so that’s a thing that’s changed over the years. That is not something that we’re technically able to set up in Florida anymore on they change the law significantly and proving that someone is incapacitated is a sticky subject at best. And it’s also cumbersome when there’s an emergency, you need that person to be able to step into action immediately without, you know, having to seek out to doctors opinions or something like that. So that’s not typically the way these are done, really. I think it’s kind of fading out across the country. What I’d recommend there is, number one, you should be choosing a person that you have utmost trust for in the first place. So if this is a person that’s going to take power away from you, while you’re still you know, able to function for yourself, it’s not the right person in the first place. I think that’s important. And then you also, you know, this isn’t something you have to hand to that person in that moment. It’s more important that you have your close family members need to know that this planning has been done. They need to know How to get access to it. But we don’t have to put this document in that person’s hands, the minute it signed, if that’s not what you want to do, we just, you know, I, with my clients, a lot of times I’ll give them a couple extra business cards and their kids will know to contact me when things do need to go into effect. But from a legal standpoint, a power of attorney is in operation from the time it’s signed, which is why you have to trust that person. 200%.

 

Liz Craven  17:25

Thank you for clarifying that. Because I think that’s something that people are often wondering about, confused about and concerned about. So the next component that I wanted to talk about was trusts. Can you tell us the basics of trusts? I know that that’s a big topic, but kind of give us a brief. Why do you need one and who needs one?

 

Amy Phillips  17:47

Sure. Yeah, you’re right. That is a huge topic. We could do an entire series just on trusts probably. But the basic way I described trust to people is it is a method of controlling your assets after you die, more so than just saying who it goes to. You know, typically it’s, I want to leave everything to my brother, I say so in my will at the time of my death, it goes to him, it’s now his money he can do whatever he pleases with it end of story. With a trust, you’re going to be able to exert a little more control. So you would trust is going to allow you to say, okay, you know, if my children are under 18, or really under any age that you choose, at the time of my death, I want that money held back from them. I want it passed out only for certain reasons, education, their wedding, those really important milestones, but I don’t want it to be a source of income for them. I want them to learn to stand on their own two feet, and then maybe I want the money to be passed out to them. Maybe they can get half of it when they turn 30 and half of it when they turn 35 or something like that. So it’s whatever plan works best for each family. That is one of the big reasons for doing it is exerting that control. You know, it’d be under age people, that’s one reason for that. It could also be if one of your children has, you know, a substance abuse problem, or really any issue that makes you wary of giving them outright access to money. It gets complicated legally with that. So I won’t go into too much more detail. But anytime you don’t want somebody to exert total control over their money, a trust is important. I’m not going too deeply into this, but it kind of overlaps with a power of attorney as far as you know, while you’re still alive. But I’m, like I said, I’m getting a little bit advanced with that. We don’t need to go into that too, too much. I usually recommend these for blended families. If you know you have two long term marriages and they’re getting remarried to each other, you know, after their spouses die, they’re getting remarried at age 65. And both of them have wealth that came from that previous marriage. Both of them are wanting that wealth that was made with the other parent to go to those children and each side of that blended family. A trust can keep that in place. Anybody who has a more complicated distribution plan, you know, lots of different maybe non family members or different percentages going to different family members. And sometimes a trust can be easier to make that happen than some of the will based planning that we would do.

 

Liz Craven  20:21

So those are the main components of an estate plan, the will the Living Will the power of attorney and trust. Are there any components that I have neglected to ask about that are important to mention.

 

Amy Phillips  20:36

I think you hit the high points on that. There are some other documents that go hand in hand with some of these, you know, when we do a trust package for somebody, there’s, you know, half a dozen different documents that get done, but it’s all kind of under that trust umbrella. I don’t think there’s anything that we haven’t talked about as far as the the big main umbrellas.

 

Liz Craven  20:55

Okay, so now that we know what an estate plan is what happens if I don’t have an estate plan in place and I become incapacitated or I pass on?

 

Amy Phillips  21:07

The overarching answer to that is that the Florida Statutes have a plan for you. There’s going to be default things that apply that dictate who gets your stuff and who takes care of you those kinds of things. As far as your assets after you die, without a plan in place, there are a set of Florida Statutes that intestacy statutes, they dictate what happens if there is no will, it works for most people, you know, if there’s a spouse, and only children from that marriage, everything would go to that spouse and then when the second spouse dies, it would go to those kids. It gets a little more complicated with a blended family where it splits between the kids from the previous relationship and the new spouse. So there’s a plan and it tends to be what is believed to be wanted by most people. So sometimes it works out exactly the same whether you have a will or not. But sometimes it doesn’t. So if you’re wanting anything outside of that, that makes the will all the more important. Even with a will though if you haven’t done a tremendous amount of planning if you’ve owned all your assets all by yourself, your family ends up having to go through the probate process which I know you’ve got somebody else coming on the show to talk about that so it won’t take you know much of a dive into that but it’s it just you have to go through a court process that can take we estimate six months minimum for people but almost always the end up being longer than that. I just closed a case that had been open since 2014. This week. So boy, it can get it can get tricky, it can get messy, it’s expensive, and it takes forever sometimes for people so you can plan around that easily there you know, fairly easy, low cost things you can do to avoid that if it’s appropriate. Now, avoiding probate isn’t appropriate in every situation, which you guys will probably cover more in that episode. Not doing your estate Planning from before death standpoint, if you have mostly joint assets, your spouse is going to be able to take care of that stuff without a power of attorney. So it’s not so much the right when you’re single, you know, if your spouse has already passed and you’re now in a state where you’re incapacitated, a lot of people end up in a guardianship situation. You know, it’s not a terrible system. From what I’ve seen in my practice, it gets the job done. And most of the time is fine, but it is still stressful, especially on the senior citizen, you know, they’re being examined by three strangers, they have their own attorney appointed for them. So that’s for new people coming into the life of someone who probably is fairly recently incapacitated, it’s just you know, it’s expensive. It’s stressful on the family, just not something you want to do and it can be avoided with a document that costs a few hundred dollars. So that’s definitely something we want to try to plan around.

 

Liz Craven  23:54

Absolutely. And we actually have an episode on guardianship Coming the very next episode, so Episode 11, we will be talking more about guardianship. And I think that the statement you just made about a few hundred dollars and you can avoid that kind of situation. I think that a lot of people have a misconception that it’s going to just cost them thousands and thousands of dollars to see an attorney and put their affairs in order. But that really isn’t the case, is it?

 

Amy Phillips  24:27

No, it’s really not. And in almost every case, the cost of planning ahead is way cheaper than the cost of not planning for your family. You know, it’s, it’s different. Who pays that cost? You know, it’s your family, it’s coming out of their inheritance after you die, but it’s a lot more money than so it’s Do you want to spend the money now? Or do you want your kids to spend that money a few years from now plus some plus some time plus some headache. There’s some intangible benefits to doing it ahead of time to you know, it’s much calmer. It’s not in a crisis situation. In most cases, it’s just easier to sit back and think about what you really want instead of trying to scramble and do it all, you know, once you’re approaching in capacity or your kids trying to sort it out after your death,

 

Liz Craven  25:13

Definitely better not to make decisions when you’re in an emotional state for sure, absolutely. So now that we know what all of that is, we know that everybody needs an estate plan of some kind. How do we prepare ourselves when we are going to go and visit with an attorney to create our estate plan?

 

Amy Phillips  25:34

We would have people gather a couple of types of information. I typically start a consultation with an estate planning client by asking them to kind of draw me a picture of your family tree, what’s the layout? What are the family dynamics? So to prepare for that, you’re going to want to have full names, contact information for anybody who is receiving an asset from you, or anybody who you’re going to be naming to take care of you. You know, if I have a best friend that’s going to be my personal representative in my will to oversee everything and take care of business for me, but I’m not leaving her anything, I still need to bring all of her information. So definitely who your people are. And then you also want to have a good grasp on your assets, deeds to any real estate that’s important to have any bank statements just kind of a general idea of what you have. And if you do have significant personal property, if you have a lot of antiques or firearms or our you know, any personal items like that, you’ll want to have a grasp on that as well.

 

Liz Craven  26:38

So now, there’s no excuse everybody knows what they need, and needs to gather their things. And then when they go to search for the right kind of attorney, to help them with an estate plan, what should they be looking for?

 

Amy Phillips  26:53

I would say if it’s a person who has significant wealth, I’m talking millions, five million $10 million in the estate, you’re gonna want an attorney who knows the tax side of things that can possibly arrange your assets in a way that minimizes your tax responsibilities. Most families don’t have that problem, you know, that would be a great problem to have, but the majority of people don’t. So, in my opinion, if you aren’t in that high wealth category, looking for an estate planning attorney who at least has some grasp on elder law and long term care planning, I think it’s a benefit to you, just so they can make sure that your plan is set up in a way that it’s gonna work seamlessly. If you do have to go into a nursing home one day and you are running out of money one day again, I know this is a another episode, but you know, it’s all linked together. I feel you should look for somebody who understands what’s going to be needed if you do have to apply for veterans benefits one day and they can set your estate plan up in a way that you don’t have to make major changes later on when that application needs to be done.

 

Liz Craven  27:59

So The last thing I’d like to ask you is can you point our listeners to some resources, whether that’s books, websites, videos, somewhere, they can go to dig a little deeper, we’ve covered the surface of a very big topic, I’d love for people to be able to dig in just a little deeper.

 

Amy Phillips  28:18

Sure. So my go to for people would be the Florida Bar, on their website. I’m going to talk through this really quick, you go to their website, there’s a public section across the top with a drop down menu, and you go to consumer information there. And there’s information about lots of legal topics, actually, there’s information about child custody, and, you know, civil cases and all that they have an excellent section on wills, trusts in the states that have what used to be these pamphlets that they would give out and I think I think you can still get those but more you know, it’s online at this point. It’s very factual information. It’s not trying to sell you anything. It’s simply a user friendly version of what The law says and what you might want to put in place. So I think that’s an excellent resource. And then also, we can’t guarantee this information. But if you’re going to read something online, I personally think that if you go to an attorney’s website that has a blog or has some information there, that information is going to be more reliable. Of course, that information that’s not put out by an attorney, and there’s a lot of non attorney information out there. So, you know, look online for an attorney whose practice is focused on the area you need help with and read what they have to say, No, I wouldn’t necessarily make big decisions based on that information. But you know, we are pretty regulated. We’re not supposed to be putting false information out there. So typically, you can trust that information.

 

Liz Craven  29:43

Very good. And so you mentioned the Florida Bar, does each state have a similar organization? And do those websites typically have the same type of information on them?

 

Amy Phillips  29:54

Yes, pretty much across the board. That information is going to be there in one form or other some states bars even have some Do It Yourself forms and things like that available. The big difference between states that I’ve seen with practicing in Pennsylvania and Florida and Pennsylvania, the Bar Association in and of itself is voluntary. In Florida, everybody’s a member of the quote unquote, Florida Bar. In Pennsylvania, we’re licensed and there’s a licensing board. But it’s not the mandatory membership of this larger organization the way it is in Florida. So in Florida, we automatically get access to a lot of resources. In Pennsylvania, we have to opt in and join that. But at the same time, that consumer information on the consumer and it’s going to be very similar. You know, there’s going to be a lot of factual information, not a lot of attempt to sell you anything, which I think is important when you’re trying to figure this out. You don’t need somebody trying to upsell you to a trust if that’s not what you need at this point in your life and the bar is not going to do that.

 

Liz Craven  30:56

So what about specific organizations is Is there a special certification for estate planning? And is there an association website where someone could search for somebody there?

 

Amy Phillips  31:08

Sure, um, the Florida Bar does have certifications for different practice areas. So there is one, the one for estate planning tends to be, I don’t know, as many people with that one in Florida, people tend to go more for the elder law one, I think, at least that’s, you know, in my world, that’s what I’ve seen is a lot more people getting certified in elder law. And with Elder Law, there’s the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar. And then there’s National Association of elder law attorneys or Nayla. There’s a Florida branch of that all of those organizations, those are going to be your people who are serious about elder law and are really focusing their practice on it. So those are good resources. Those are good places to find a referral to an attorney. If you’re looking for somebody.

 

Liz Craven  31:51

That is terrific. And just so our listeners know, everything that we’ve been talking about here when we’ve mentioned any type of resource including all of the links to those websites. You’ll find those in the show notes. So you can find the show notes. Any place you pick up your podcasts, or you can go directly to Sage aging.us. And you can find the show notes for each episode with a corresponding blog post. So those are available for you there. Amy, thank you so much for taking time out of your day. I know you’re super busy. And I appreciate so much you stopping by so that we can talk about all of this and get the ball rolling for our month long journey through elder law. Thank you. It was a pleasure to be here.

 

Amy Phillips  32:37

And it was fun talking with an old friend to you know, we hadn’t talked in a while so it was good to catch up.

 

Liz Craven  32:43

I hope everybody has a great day. Check back next week for our next topic, which is guardianship and we’ll be talking to Sarah Fuentes about that. Thanks for listening guys.  Thanks for listening. If you found it value in today’s conversation, I’d really appreciate it if you would click Subscribe now and share the sage aging podcast with a friend. If you have topic ideas you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at info@Sage aging.us

Liz Craven

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As I’ve been preparing to launch this podcast I’ve enjoyed revisiting stages of my own life and reflecting on how this topic became such a passion for me. While I’ve built my career on helping older adults and their families connect to needed education and resources, my connection to the aging and care process goes much deeper.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my own multi-generational family living together in one home. I was 4 or 5 when my grandmother moved into our home to help care for my sisters and I while our parents worked. Soon after, her father and grandfather moved in as well. We had 5 generations living under one roof! That was a beautifully chaotic adventure and knowing what I know now, I have so much respect for what my parents and grandmother did.

Fast forward to age 24. Newly married and pregnant with our first child, I spent several months with my in-laws to help care for my husband’s grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. Fast forward again to about 2009 – Wes and I have two teenagers about to head to college and his mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years later, my mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years after that Wes’ stepdad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and his father is suffering from severe dementia. You can see where this is going right? For the better part of the last 10 years we have been the caregivers. We see it as an honor and privilege to have been able to do that for our parents.

The key to navigating our later years is being proactive about gathering information before we get there and staying engaged once we do. To be sage is to be wise. There is wisdom in taking the time to ask questions, seek solutions and know your options before the need arises.

Each week we will discuss relevant topics of aging with experts who can help us to understand and be better prepared for aging. We’ll also introduce you to some Sage Agers who are totally owning their journeys through life. No topic will be off limits and we will deliver open and honest conversation meant to educate and empower our listeners. Each episode will also be available in video and blog formats.

Whether you are proactively seeking to broaden your own knowledge, a caregiver for a loved one or a professional working in the aging care industry, this podcast is for you. We hope you will join us as we explore and celebrate Sage Aging.