Elder Law Explained: Probate

Probate. Now there’s a term that affects many, but is understood by few. What is probate? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Should I try to avoid it or can it be a good tool? If you are looking for an understanding of what probate is and what it does, then you’ll want to listen to this episode!

Here’s What We cover

  • What is Estate Administration
  • What is probate
  • Does every estate go through probate
  • Are there times when probate should not be avoided/not avoided 
  • Should I use a trust to avoid probate
  • Should one with limited assets have an estate plan
  • Specific scenarios to help you understand probate

Read the interview transcript here:

Closed Captioning

Episode 14

Elder Law Explained: Probate

Guest: Carol Wallace

June 2020


Liz Craven  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  00:54

Probate. Now there’s a term that affects many, but it’s understood by few. What Is probate? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Should I try to avoid it? Or can it be a good tool? If you’re looking for an understanding of what probate is and what it does, then this is the podcast episode for you.


Liz Craven  01:25

Hi, I’m Liz Craven. And like so many of you, I’ve been a caregiver for people that I really love. 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 and day to day life. 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 age. journey, this show is dedicated to the same. Welcome to the Sage Aging podcast. Hit subscribe now and let’s get started.


Liz Craven  02:12

Hello, and welcome to the Sage Aging podcast. I’m your host Liz Craven. This is Episode 14 and will close out our special five part series on Elder Law. If you’re just joining us, be sure to go back to episodes 10 through 13 because they all overlap each other and you need all the pieces of the puzzle to get a clear picture. Up to this point we’ve been discussing how to plan for our later years. Today we’ll shift our focus to what happens to an estate after someone dies. What is probate? Are there ways to avoid it? Is it always wise to avoid probate? The answers to these questions and more are coming up. My guest today is board certified elder law attorney Carol Wallace The Elder Law Firm of Clements & Wallace. Carrol has dedicated her career to serving the legal needs of seniors and their families and has been certified elder law attorney by the National Elder Law foundation since 1996. Carol’s community efforts are far too many to list is a short introduction, but suffice it to say that her commitment to contributing to her community parallels her commitment to our clients. To learn more about Carol and the Elder Law Firm of Clements & Wallace, be sure to check the links section of our Show Notes for this episode, which can be found in the blog posts for Episode 14 at SageAging.us. Welcome to the show. Carol, thank you so much for joining me today.



Carol Wallace  03:44

I’m gladto be here. Liz. Thank you for inviting me.


Liz Craven  03:47

Of course. Well, it’s been quite a month. And this episode is the last of our special Elder Law series and boy have we learned a lot.


Carol Wallace  03:56

Yes, we were talking and you’ve had some gr eat speakers and some great topics that are very valuable.


Liz Craven  04:02

Absolutely, the content has been incredible. So this series was designed to hit the highlights of each area of elder law and give people just a base knowledge so that they know where to get started. We’re obviously not here to dispense legal advice of any kind, but for anyone listening, I’d encourage you to reach out directly to Carol or to any other elder law attorney if you have questions and need some specific answers. Now you’ll find Carol’s contact information as well as an elder care excuse me, an elder law attorney locator in the show notes so that you can find an elder law attorney in your own area. So Carol, before we get to our topic, I would love it if you just tell us a little bit about yourself and why you chose to specialize in elder law.


Carol Wallace  04:52

I always say Elder Law found me I didn’t find elder law. When I started practicing law, it In the state of Alabama, where I taught at the law school at the University of Alabama for almost 20 years. And at that time, when I started, there was really no such thing as an elder law practice. It had not been deemed such it didn’t really have a name. But I was assigned by the Dean of the law school to teach in these certain areas that now we say comprise elder law. But as I said, it just didn’t have a name. And unfortunately, but it turned out, fortunately for me, these were not things that when I went to law school, they were not taught at all. So I had to spend my nights in the library just reading the US code and learning from scratch. Well, because I had to teach it the next day. And so over the years, that was back in the 80s, so in the early 90s, really was when it started kind of taking off on a national basis, and there became national groups of attorneys that came together. It still didn’t Have a name, but we had these common areas that we practiced in and we started collaborating to help each other out. And then it was 1995, when they first developed the certification for elder law attorneys, and I was the first attorney in Alabama, to take the test and become certified in that area, which is the distinction I’m proud of. So it was after I had taught in the area of elder law for about five years that attorneys from all over the state started calling me with these questions that were confronting them when their clients came in, because it’s an area that really touches every family because we deal with issues that happen just as we age, you know, it’s not because somebody got into some kind of legal trouble. When we get older, we are all confronted with government benefit programs. And so it does touch every family. So after a certain number of years, I came to realize that I had a body of knowledge that most attorneys didn’t have. And over the years, it’s just been a real fit for me, because I loved teaching and I have a social work streak in me and I also like being a lawyer and Elder Law combines all of that, really.


Liz Craven  07:14

That’s really incredible. What a pioneer. I didn’t realize that you were on the front end of that that way. That’s really incredible. And that speaks to why your practice is so successful.


Carol Wallace  07:26

I always say it’s in my DNA now. I think a lot of it does go back to the way I had to learn it. I couldn’t Google an answer. I had to go dig it out the hard way. And when you lea rn it that way it sticks, so it’s…


Liz Craven  07:39

That makes a lot of sense. That’s really great and I love how committed you are to giving back. I see time and again you out in the community, educating people and helping people to understand why it’s important to explore this for themselves.


Carol Wallace  07:56

That’s my teaching strike. Yes, but I do have a passion for helping understand, as you do Liz, as you know, as you say, we run into each other in these in these meetings, but if you can arm people with just basic information, they can avoid so many pitfalls and things that they do. And that’s one thing I try to teach my clients all the time is that if you do things right on the front end, then it can pay great dividends on the back end, which really dovetails with what we’ll be talking about today with problems that I encounter in probate and estate administration. Much of the nightmares and the problems that people hear about are because people didn’t plan well on the front end.


Liz Craven  08:38

That is so very true. And you know, the last few weeks we’ve spent talking about all of those things leading up to end of life, you know, how do I prepare for that? How do I pay for that? Are there things that I can put into place to provide for my family later, so you know, that brings us to this point where what happens to an estate after someone dies? So let’s, let’s start there. Let’s start from the beginning and talk about what is estate administration in the first place.


Carol Wallace  09:14

All right, an estate is really kind of a term of art. It’s not necessarily a legal term. When someone dies, they have an estate, if they have a car in a bank account, that is their estate. When we’re talking about someone’s estate, it’s just generally what did they own when they pass away? And once you identify what their estate is, then you have to look at what is it going to take to settle that estate, or people call it administer that estate, which means really paying off the person’s last Bills. Bills don’t just go away when someone dies. Filing their tax returns, sometimes previous tax returns that were not filed, but settling any outstanding tax issues and then passing on those assets to the people who are entitled to them. So settling an estate can be by a method called probate. That might be required even when somebody left no will, if somebody died without any written documents. We call that intestate. But when someone dies without a will, that’s called they die intestate, without a testate, a testamentary document. But there’s still a procedure for passing the assets to their next of kin their heirs under Florida law. Which is something I want to just stop and make sure the audience is aware of now that I practice in Florida, I’m also licensed in Alabama, but we’re just talking about Florida law right now. And the states vary from one state to another. No two states have exactly the same laws. So we’re going to talk a lot in generalities. So a lot of what we say will apply throughout the country. But for specifics, you always want to consult with an attorney in your state to see how these laws apply in our specific situation. So an estate basically just comprises, what does someone own when they die? And how are we gonna pass that on, free of debts or any kind of claims to the people who are entitled to it?


Liz Craven  11:46

So you mentioned probate. Can you give us a good definition of probate as well?


Carol Wallace  11:51

Yes, and this would be true throughout the country probate is the legal process that involves a court for settling someone’s estate. This is true. As I said, I practiced in Alabama and Florida and this is true in both states. And I think throughout the country, people have a tremendous fear of probate. They hear horror stories of assets getting tied up or it becoming so expensive that it just eats up the assets in the estate. Some people have some preconceived notions that really aren’t the case. I’ve had clients tell me that if we go through probate, THEY will take all my assets, and I want to go, who are THEY? You know, nobody knocks on your door and shows up and says, Well, your mother died without a will give me everything she owned. So if someone dies without a will, or if you have to go through probate, the law says who gets the assets, the beneficiaries, the next of kin are still going to receive the assets. It’s just that it’s a little more cumbersome and may cost a little bit If you die without a will, right, but the process of probate is controlled by state law. And you are in probate court and is literally a process of filing with the court a petition that shows the person was a resident of that state in that county, identifying what the person owned, identifying the heirs either under their will or under state law if there is no will, and who is to get those assets. Then the court appoints someone to be what’s called the personal representative of the estate. In some states, that’s called the executor. The same role is the person that wears the hat of a fiduciary. They are in charge of collecting all the assets the person owned, paying those last bills, filing that tax return, and distributing the assets. So when I say they’re a fiduciary, they are acting in a role of responsibility and they’re handling assets that don’t necessary belong to them. They’re handling them for the benefit of creditors and beneficiaries. So the process is not an overnight process. It lasts several months. It can last for years. But ideally at last a few months. If planning is done well on the front end, probate is not a nightmare. But it can go very smoothly. It’s just the legal process of settling an estate.


Liz Craven  14:25

So does every estate go through probate?


Carol Wallace  14:28

Very good question. No, not every state does. And this I can’t really overemphasize the importance of this because this is one of the areas where I see the most confusion among the public. and estate has to go through probate when the person who died, they’re legally called the decedent, the person who died when they owned something that was in their name, only. Meaning there was no joint owner and no designated beneficiary Okay, the most common easy example for you is if someone died and they owned a bank account, let’s say they have a checking in a savings account at the local bank, and it has $20,000 in it. If that person had just their name on the account, the family can’t just walk into the bank with the death certificate and say, Well, that was my mom or my dad or my husband or whoever, and I’m there next of kin, I need their money. The process then is you would have to probate in order to get to that asset. So when someone dies, and owns assets in their own name, whether it’s bank accounts, cars, real estate, stocks and bonds, annuities, any type of asset at all, those assets are the ones that are going to be subject to the probate administration. We call those probate assets in the legal world. So examples of assets that are not probate assets; if jointly held assets, if someone One owns bank accounts, real estate stocks, bonds, any kind of assets in someone else’s name is on the asset with them as a joint owner with right of survivorship, then when the first person dies, the first owner dies, those assets are automatically going to pass by law and be owned by the surviving owner. Those assets do not pass through probate. The other common example is if you have a beneficiary on an asset. The most common is a life insurance policy. If you name a beneficiary on your life insurance, or on a retirement plan, like a 401k or an IRA, when you die, those assets passed directly to that named beneficiary, they do not go through probate. So back to the most common mistake I see and misunderstanding and I think this causes the most problems in probate, is when somebody is is doing their estate planning, they do not understand the distinction of those types of assets. Meaning what goes through probate What does not go through probate. And in their will and in their mind, they may think that they want their assets to go, for example, equally to all of their children. And the attorney may write that in the will, everything I own go goes, equally to all of my three children or five children or 10 children.  And that person goes home and puts that beautifully written wheel in a safe deposit box and they think they’ve taken care of everything. Then after the person dies and they go to the attorney to probate the will or settle the estate. The first thing that the attorney has found out is what all did this person own when they passed away, they have to know everything that they owned, and how the assets are titled. And so the most common discovery is that the assets are all may be all, or at least some of them titled in such a way that they are not controlled by the will. Let me give you a real common example. So the will might say, let’s say we have a widow, and she had sold her home and so there was no real estate. So there were just a lot of liquid assets, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, that kind of thing, maybe some life insurance policies and IRAs. And she might have had three children, but two of them live very distant. And there’s one child here in town who helps her with everything. And she trusts that child completely. And maybe the boys live far away and maybe they are not so involved and she loves me and wants them to receive everything, their equal share, but she didn’t have that same level of trust. So on her life insurance on her bank account, unless they own life insurance and retirement plan, she put the daughter as the beneficiary, and in her mind, she just thinks well, my daughter knows what I want, and she will divide it. And the same thing with her bank account, she, the daughter takes her to all the banking. And so she’ll think, well, I want that daughter to be able to get to the account. If something happens to me, she may need to help pay my bills. So I’ll put her name on the account. But she goes to the lawyer to prepare the will, and the lawyer says, well, who do you want to receive your assets when you die? And she says, Oh, well, my three children equally. So that’s what he writes. He or she writes in the will. Well, after her death, it turns out that not one single thing she owns is going to pass under the will because everything was either jointly owned with the daughter, or the daughter was the named beneficiary. That is the number one most prevalent problem I see. And it causes more trouble than anything in probate. So the mother’s intent was set out in the will but was not followed through with or implemented in a way during her lifetime to make that will have any effect at all. So what you end up with often occasionally one in 1000 times you might see the daughter actually divide everything equally with the other siblings are that one child, whoever that one child, right, in my example the daughter, but more often than not once mom has gone they start grieving and they think, Well, I was the one here taking care of her. She put my name on everything and she must have wanted me to have it and I deserve it. I gave up all my Saturdays I listened to her complaining, you know, and then that ends up causing a rift between the siblings and sometimes it’s a lifetime rift that never heals. So I cannot overemphasize the importance of getting good advice and estate planning and reviewing it and going to an attorney who is going to thoroughly review everything that you own every single asset, because just the fact that you went to an attorney and had a will drawn up if all that attorney asked you was what do you want in your will and did not go into? What do you own? How is it titled, and I’ll even go this far layers. I mean, I mean, I’m sure a lot of my clients think I’m being too nosy. And I don’t believe what they say. It’s not that I don’t believe what they say, but you’d be surprised how many times clients are not fully aware of what they own or how it’s titled or they may think they have beneficiary designations set up properly. And I’ll just say, well, let’s just review I’m just let’s just get the documentation and look, and they’re oftentimes surprised. It’s like, Oh, I thought I had a successor beneficiary or, oh my goodness, that child has passed away and I thought updated that So you need to review your estate plan periodically and go to an attorney who is thorough and going to, you know, help you understand how it’s all going to go after you die. Because once you die, it’s too late to fix it. So that’s one of the examples of you know, being pennywise and pound foolish you know, people won’t the cheapest estate plan they can get, but the cheapest is not the best.


Liz Craven  22:26

No, and I would go further and say, go and find a certified elder law attorney because they have the knowledge, the training and the most up to date information to assist you in putting the best plan together to protect you and your loved ones. So I think that’s really important


Carol Wallace  22:47

it is and another thing that I see clients, many people are reluctant to go to an attorney to talk about everything they own because of course it’s really a private matter and when When they think of estate planning attorneys, they get in their mind that we only work for millionaires or multimillionaires or big businessman. That is not the case at all. As I said at the beginning, everybody has an estate, if you’ve got a bank account in a car, that is your estate, everybody needs estate planning. And sometimes it’s even more important to have a good will if you have very little because we really want to make it efficient and cost effective after you die. I’ll give you an example that I see quite often I have a client right now who most of the assets were put into a revocable living trust prior to the person’s passing and I’m not even aware of exactly what all is in that trust. But he failed to put he had an insurance policy that paid dividends through stock they get stock is part of the dividends. And so after he passed away the family, a year or so later, started getting these little divots checks that they couldn’t cash because they were in the name of the deceased person. They did a little investigation and found out that he owned maybe 100 shares of this insurance stock, it might be worth $3,000, maybe, but it’s not in the trust. So if they want to collect on that, we have to probate the person’s wheel. So we are they, you know, we weighed the cost of probate with the value of the stock, but the cost of probate is going to be probably half of the value of the stock. Whereas if they had really done a thorough job of what I’ll do I own and if I’m going to use a trust, you’ve got to get every single solitary thing that you own in that trust, or you’re going to have to probate. So you want to make sure that if you go through probate, which is not cheap, it’s not free. You want to make sure that you’ve got enough assets going through probate to make it worth your while if you’re trying to avoid probate. Then you want to make sure you’ve got every single asset titled in such a way that it will accomplish that.


Liz Craven  25:07

So then do you believe that it is wise to try to avoid probate? Or are there times when probate is the appropriate route to take?


Carol Wallace  25:16

I’m not afraid of probate for clients when you have a good estate plan. I don’t counsel clients when they come in for estate planning, oh, let’s set up your state so we don’t avoid probate. There are attorneys even in Florida who do take that approach. I have a personal view of that. There are many attorneys who and take this with a grain of salt, this is a personal opinion. One way that people try to avoid probate is to set up irrevocable living trust. And you title your assets in the trust and then the Trust has provisions for who gets those assets upon death. Okay, so it acts as a kind of a will, last testament at that point. There As in many problems with trust, if you have a trust and it is set up and properly and fully funded, and I’m going to tell you what that means. It is, I’ll say, it may be possible to avoid probate but it is not a guarantee. And here’s a couple of reasons. One, even if it’s fully funded, one is under Florida law, A trust does not avoid the payment of creditors. Many people believe that. That somehow if you put your assets into a trust that magically creditors are going to be avoided. Meaning when you die, if you owe money, they just go away. That is not true. There. There’s absolutely no truth to that. All the assets in the revocable living trust are totally subject to creditors, okay. So the trustee who is in control of the assets and will distribute them to the beneficiaries according to what’s written in the trust He is also liable to pay those debts. So if the trustee distributes the assets to the beneficiaries under the trust, and then it turns out that there were creditors out there that did not get paid, the trustee is personally liable. So I would never advise a trustee to distribute, if they are in a position where they don’t know for positive that there are no debts, right? So I’d say let’s go through probate just to get that creditors claim period. It’s just 90 days. Let’s run that notice in the newspaper, get our 90 days and be down the road and get you free from that potential liability hanging over your head. So really is the claims that that’s the main that’s the main reason. The other reason that we see when a trust is in place and we still have to go through probate is a very, very, very common situation where The trust is not fully funded. And that goes back to that example of there was a little bit of stock that we see it even when people don’t, when they intentionally don’t fund that trust, and I always want to go, you know, they’re deceased, I can ask them, but I always wonder why did you go to the expense and the effort to get a trust and then it doesn’t work for you, because most people do it, either to avoid probate, or to plan for the possibility of incapacity and that your trusts are going to be adequately managed by somebody that you’ve named as a trustee. But the trust only controls the assets that are titled and owned by the trust. So going to the attorney and paying that higher fee than for will. And signing the document is just the first step. If you just walk out and then put that trust away, you’ve done nothing. It’s been a complete waste of money. Trust is only effective if you then take the second step and fund it, which means you retitle everything, you go to the bank and you change the title on the bank accounts to the trust. You change your properties to the trust by signing new deeds, you’ve changed everything. The only thing that might stay out of the trust or would have to stay out, you cannot change the title of a retirement account, a qualified account, whether that’s a 401k Ira 403 B, any kind of qualified account always has to be individually owned, but you can name the trust as the beneficiary of that account, to avoid probate if that’s what you want to do. But more often than not for the clients that I have, and I tend to represent middle class, middle income individuals. They bring in these big three ring binder folders with these very thick trust. And they have no idea what they have. They don’t know what’s in them. They don’t understand them. They don’t even know what I’m mean when i’m saying is it funded what’s in the trust what’s out of the trust, they have no idea. And oftentimes when we start reviewing their assets, they’re not funded. Or maybe one piece of property is in the trust and nothing else. So for those reasons, and others that I could cite you, I’m just not a big fan of trust, because theoretically, they can do the job, but when we’re dealing with everyday people, I think they’re more complex than oftentimes needed. Another real issue is the selection of the trustee. Most people do not want to pay the expense of appointing a corporate trustee like a fidelity or a Merrill Lynch or Edward Jones. And also those corporations also have a minimum limit. They won’t accept a trust below a certain amount, whether it’s half In dollars 250,000 is a substantial amount of money. So for someone who has less than that, that they’re going to put in the trust, a corporate fiduciary is not an option. So they’re left with what individual Do you know that’s going to do. And most of them want to go with a child, they want to appoint a child, and they believe that child’s not going to charge him anything. And they’re going to do the right thing as a child certainly is not bonded. So I mean, they can be under the trust, but most of the time, the trust exempts them from filing a bond. So you’re going to hand over all of these assets to the child, they’re not going to be under court supervision. They’re not bonded, that you’re out there doing whatever with them. And oftentimes, this creates family discord because the trustee, withholds information and Lords that over all of the others and creates distrust. Sometimes there’s misuse of the finances. Sometimes there’s not but when there’s secrecy, there’s always going to be distrust right? So I just don’t see the trust, in my experiences solving a lot of the problems that people are trying to avoid in probate, it just creates a different set of problems.


Liz Craven  32:12

Right.So it sounds like it can be a good tool in the right situation, but the overarching theme there is, it’s really important to have a good relationship with your attorney, and to revisit and review your estate plan on a regular basis to make sure that all of your pieces are in place, and that the puzzle is fitting together


Carol Wallace  32:36

To keep it from sounding like I’m 100% against trust. Let me give you a couple of short examples. I’ll be quick when I think a trust is a great idea. Okay. And I think it varies from person to person to person. But I’ll give you more examples. And I keep going back to widows and it’s just because the generation that we deal with in clients, it’s just it’s more back to the traditional Where the man typically was the one that handled the finances. And that’s not 100% true. I don’t want anybody to be offended if, if a woman out there is hearing me, she said, My husband was terrible at finances, I always did everything. But many clients, we say the husband did the finances. So if the husband died first, the wife all of a sudden is not only grieving the loss of a husband, she’s also confronted for the first time of her life with handling the finances. So she may come into me and say, I don’t want to do it. I never learned how to do any of that. And I’m not interested in it. If there’s a significant amount of money enough for her to and it could be a man to it doesn’t matter who it is. If there’s enough money to use a corporate fiduciary, that’s a great person to have a trust for with corporate fiduciary is somebody that you can place the assets there. They’re going to pay the bills, they’re going to take care of it. Another situation is if you have someone who doesn’t have a maybe close family member that they would trust to appoint as the power of attorney because from your estate planning, I think the first podcast you did, I’m sure y’all covered the importance of a durable power of attorney that planning for incapacity that is part of estate planning. And so having that trusted person that, you know, you could trust, even if you lost the ability to look over their shoulder, when we have clients that don’t have that person. So if there’s someone who doesn’t have a person that they would trust to be their durable power of attorney, and once again, if they have enough assets to name a corporate fiduciary as a trustee, then that is a really good person to consider a trust so that if they became incapacitated during that lifetime, they would have adequate financial management. And I would do that more, because the importance of the Lifetime management piece then after death, right, but it it all kind of flows together. So a trust under certain circumstances is the perfect route, but it is just not the panacea for everybody.


Liz Craven  35:12

Right. And I think that people, you know, you you see what the advertisements and you see what’s online and all of these things, and we think that we’re smart enough to Google our way to all of the answers. Right, right. But that just really isn’t the case. Which leads me I you know, I typically will ask a guest, can you lead our listeners to some resources that can, where they can do some homework on their own, but I think that the better message to send as it relates to legal matters, is that you really shouldn’t be teaching yourself and you should rely on the professionals to guide you.


Carol Wallace  35:53

That’s probably the best advice you can give and I will just echo that oftentimes. When I see clients for the first time, they have done a lot of research online themselves and they they are thinking they’re doing the right thing. They want to come in armed with information. And they kind of one step ahead of the game. And more often than not, most of what they’ve read is in either incorrect or doesn’t apply to their circumstances or it was not Florida law. It was written by an attorney or somebody in another state, or either they’ve misinterpreted the information. And so we spend a lot of time having to kind of what I call wipe the slate clean, and I never know exactly it’s I always feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle because I don’t know what they know, they read that I haven’t heard about so sure. I don’t know what misperceptions are still in their mind. So it honestly makes it a little harder for the attorney. I would say if someone has an area of interest Or maybe they are going to see an attorney about a particular area. Find the qualified attorneys in your area and look at their websites. Many of them will have links to articles that they trust that they know are accurate or have blog information, but just stick to the trusted attorneys in your area and get information from them.


Liz Craven  37:22

That is such good advice. And again, we will have Carol’s information and her website available for you in the show notes so that you can take a look at what she’s got there. And Carol, you know, there were some other things that I had thought we might cover but


Carol Wallace  37:39

But I talk too much (laughs).


Liz Craven  37:41

No! This has been wonderful. I love the fact that you were able to give so many examples that would help people to visualize it for themselves. We’ll talk about mediation and conflict resolution and another episode because this was just jam packed and really great. I know that there are people out there who are listening, will have a better idea of what they should be looking to do as it relates to preparing for end of life. You know, we tend to talk about preparing for end of life emotionally and preparing with maybe some funeral planning and things like that, but this piece is so very important. And I hope that people walk away from listening to this understanding how important it is, and taking some action in their own situation and making sure their estate plans are in place. So, thank you so much for joining me today.


Carol Wallace  38:39

Thank you for having me. I enjoyed our conversation.


Liz Craven  38:42

We’ll do it again soon.


Liz Craven  38:48

Thanks for listening. If you found value in today’s conversation, I’d really appreciate it if you would click Subscribe now and share the sage aging podcasts 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 at Sage aging.us

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If you found 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@sageaging.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.