Sharing your family history – where to start

Part II – Sharing Family History: Where to Start

 

Every Story Media Guest Blog in three parts (this is #2 of 3)

In this three-part series, Lyn Jackson of Every Story Media looks at why it’s important to capture and preserve your family stories, values and traditions, how to get started, and why video is the best method. 

Aging offers gifts, if we look for them: for us as we grow older and for those who’ll come after us. 

Begin With the End in Mind

Now that we agree on the importance of saving and sharing family history, what’s the best way to begin?

Start with your photos; organize them into events like childhood, marriage and family, career. You could also arrange them by years or by people. Think about the stories behind the pictures and jot essential notes down.

Think about the family traditions and experiences that are most important to you and your family.

Which stories are the most interesting, compelling, funny, and essential to the family? These are important to preserve. Prioritize them.

It’s OK to start small. Accept that it’s not possible to do everything all at once.

Make sure you keep all of your preliminary, documented work, and photos or recordings organized and in one place.

Tools for Sharing Family History

If you decide to go on your own, rather than work with a professional, and don’t have a dedicated video device, use your cell phone. The sound might not be great, and the framing and lighting might not be ideal, but it’s better to have something rather than nothing. You can even do an audio-only recording.

Make sure you print out the most important and memorable photos. Too many of these will be forgotten, go unseen, or get accidentally discarded and be forever lost. And find a good, reputable cloud storage service and make sure all your photos are also preserved there.

Benefits of a Family Story Video

  • Preserving the family stories and traditions of your loved ones in their own words with sight, sound, motion, and emotion.
  • Understanding your roots – where, how and from whom you came into being.
  • Perspective and appreciation: an element of permanence, being grounded.
  • Pride in who you are, not just for you but also for your children and grandchildren.
  • It is the greatest gift, an heirloom like no other—precious and priceless.We encourage working with a professional. At the very least, you’ll actually record your stories and get it done rather than just think about it and forget until it’s too late.

Words from the Heart

A friend brought this sad story below to my attention the other day. I removed some portions for length but these are all her words—used with permission. “Here is what you should know,” she wrote. “I got 23 years, 2 months, and 11 days with my dad, and they were not enough. Forever, of course, is not enough—all of our parents leave us too soon. I want you all to tell your kids your stories. No one lives forever.

So here is what I wish I had, since I don’t have my dad: I wish I had his voice, recorded, preferably telling the kind of jokes and stories that my mom would scold him for. I wish I had video of him, doing anything. Most of all, I wish I had his stories. Let them videotape you. I beg of you. Please do this for your children.”

I echo her words – quite obviously from the heart. She speaks from the pain of having lost a loved one. She realized too late that she didn’t have his stories or the chance to get them.

The mission at Every Story Media is to spare others the same pain. 

In part one, Lyn discussed why it’s important to capture and preserve your family stories, values and traditions. To contact Lyn: EveryStoryMedia.com or 919-961-1081

 

 

 

 

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YOUR FAMILY STORY…….why it’s important

In this three-part series, Lyn Jackson of Every Story Media looks at why it’s important to capture and preserve your family stories, values and traditions, how to get started, and why video is the best method.

Aging offers gifts, if we look for them: for us as we grow older and for those who’ll come after us.

Uncle Joe

My 99-year-old uncle Joe is my last direct link to my father, Maurie, who died when I was young. On my father’s side, Joe is the family story keeper. He is now the only one who was there and knows, among so many other things, what Maurie was like growing up, how my parents met and why my mother’s parents tried to prevent them from marrying. Obviously it didn’t work!

Joe laughs when he shares stories; he’s vibrant, energetic, and engaged, occasionally moved.

He looks back and reflects while also looking to the future, sharing a rare and wonderful gift with future generations. He gives us a peek at the past—his past and his family history.

We are so grateful to have Joe’s stories on video. This is an heirloom that we’ll all cherish forever.

Why Share Family Stories?

When we share family stories, it is one of the most generous and loving gifts we can give. These videotaped stories are powerful and meaningful for us today. They’ll also have a significant impact on future generations.

Legacy

Family stories are the best legacy of all. Research bears this out. In overwhelming numbers, both elders and baby boomers believe that family history and traditions are the most important things we can leave for loved ones – ahead of a financial inheritance or even possessions. From the report: “Legacies were still about life stories and values… family traditions and history, wishes”

Stories are woven into our lives. They are a part of who we are and what defines us. Stories are a great connector. That’s one reason they’re so important to older adults. We often forget that stories are also important for children growing up.

Future Happiness

In fact, growing up with a strong family narrative is one predictor of future happiness; a REAL family narrative that describes both the ups and downs of life. Not everything is good and fun and happy all the time. Honest narratives can teach kids how to be strong and resilient, to recover from adversity, and spring back from the kinds of challenges that all of us face sooner or later. Experts call it the “oscillating family narrative”.

A family story video can be an element of a strong family narrative; a cherished reminder of loved ones and their rich lives. The video becomes an heirloom to treasure forever and pass on to every future generation.

Turn Intentions into Actions

We have the best intentions. Too often, though we plan to record our family history, it never happens. Or sometimes footage is recorded, but gets lost or accidentally erased and the stories are gone forever. Make sure your story isn’t one that gets away.

So please begin today to preserve your family history!

INTERESTED?   Contact Lyn Jackson at EveryStoryMedia.com or 919-961-1081

 

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The Cost of Dementia

The cost of any illness or disability can be staggering, but the average cost of caring for a loved one with DEMENTIA can be staggering.

Dementia is the “umbrella term” for a number of cognitive disorders.  This is just a few:

  • Vascular dementia
  • Lewy Bodies
  • Parkinson’s disease dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment and
  • Alzheimer’s

Cost of Dementia Tops $157 Billion Annually in the United States. The monetary cost of dementia in the United States ranges from $157 billion to $215 billion annually, making the disease more costly to the nation than either heart disease or cancer, according to a new RAND Corporation study.  

For the “average” patient on Medicare, the cost for the final 5 years is $287,038 as compared to $175,136 for heart disease or $173,383 for someone who ultimately passes with cancer.  (Research by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, NYC).

Understanding the emotional and financial struggles, it is important to seek the advice of an Elder Law Attorney along with a medical and care management team.

We are here to start the conversation.

Rick Messemer, Community Contact

rick@carolinaestatecounsel.com

Local Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill / Triangle NC Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney offers professional counsel with last will and testament, revocable or irrevocable trust, power of attorney, advanced directive, Medicaid Planning, Veterans Aid and Assistance, asset protection, probate and estate administration, and other important legal matters.

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Health Care Power of Attorney (POA) and Living Wills (Advance Directives)

We usually don’t have a list of phone calls on a Monday morning asking to talk about “end of life” wishes, BUT it is a very important topic. 

There are basically two (legal) ways that you can communicate your health care wishes,

  • Health Care POA   
  • Advance Directive     

The Health Care POA will give direction to your appointed agent on what to do, let’s say you were in the hospital in a heavily sedated condition.   

The Advance Directive gives specific instructions on “end of life” situations regarding feeding, hydration or other extraordinary measures.   Both are important.   

This should be discussed with those around you.   Tell your family, friends and medical providers that you have these documents and are readily available if needed.  Many families share these documents with their medical care team.

If you have any questions regarding POA’s or Advance Directives (Living Wills) in North Carolina, please email  to rick@carolinaestatecounsel.com

Carolina Estate Counsel offers free consultations in your home, senior living community, your place of business or financial advisor’s office. We offer legal advice only and do not sell annuities, securities or insurance products.

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Dementia Friendly Business

DEMENTIA FRIENDLY BUSINESS!

Carolina Estate Counsel just competed the course requirements to certify us as a “Dementia Friendly Business”.  This initiative came about through the 2015 White House Conference on Aging and offered two basic points for businesses to follow:

  • Commitment:  We have committed to become a Dementia Friendly business based on the training we received.  An example would be our policy to meet families in their home or senior living community, being respectful, patient and understanding to the client and family.  Whenever possible, involving the Dementia client in the decision process.
  • Training:  We will continue to receive “best practices” training on our interactions with clients and families seeking legal advice  for those facing cognitive decline.

It is our hope that we will be in a better position to understand and assist families with the many forms of Dementia.

 

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Carolina Estate Counsel offers FREE consultations and will come to you….. your home, senior living community, hospital room, financial advisors office, etc.   You can arrange a meeting by email at:           rick@carolinaestatecounsel.com

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Alzheimer’s and Estate Planning

BE PREPARED!

Estate and Elder Law planning is even more important if you suspect that you or a loved one is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or any progressive cognitive disease.

Here are just a few areas you should look at immediately:

  • Durable Power of Attorney- Lets the agent make financial decisions when you can’t.
  • Health Care Power of Attorney- Gives authority to your agent to speak to doctors and plan for your care.
  • Advanced Directives-  Let your loved ones know your wishes when it comes to extreme life sustaining measures (feeding tubes, hydration, pain)
  • Work with your Elder Law Attorney, Financial Advisor and Insurance Agent to make sure everyone is in sync.  Check all beneficiary designations now.  It may not be the best for Alzheimer’s patient be receive a large inheritance.
  • If professional care is needed; in-home care, assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing care, be sure to explore government benefits such as VA Aid and Attendance, Special Assistance for assisted living or memory care and Medicaid for Long Term Skilled Care.

Your questions are always welcome.  Please contact us at:

rick@carolinaestatecounsel.com for a free initial consultation.

 

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Free Consultations for Estate Planning, Elder Law, Charitable Gifting questions –  and we’ll come to you in the Raleigh, Cary, Fuquay Varina, Durham and Chapel Hill areas.  We cover the Triangle area. 

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Special Needs Trust

What is a “Special Needs” trust?

Special Needs Trusts are created to comply with the complex rules of federal needs-based benefits programs that are important and may be available to people with disabilities, such as:

  • • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • • Medicaid or VA Aid and Attendance
  • • Section 8 Housing
  • • Food Stamps

When drafted and administered properly, a Special Needs Trust will allow the beneficiary to benefit from the Trust while retaining eligibility for public benefits and maintaining the current amount of benefits being received.  

Trusts can be created for infants through senior citizens!

Please let us know if you have any questions regarding a Special Needs Trust:

  • Who can create this type of trust
  • Funding the trust – private funds vs insurance
  • Trustees
  • Where do I start?

Please contact us for a no cost consultation:

Kevin Huston:  919-450-8086

Rick Messemer: Community Liaison     919-656-2959   or rick@carolinaestatecounsel.com

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“Carolina Estate Counsel / Huston Law Firm is a Raleigh NC based elder law attorney / lawyer. We offer legal services and advise clients in the areas of estate planning, managing estates, probate, wills, last will and testament, power of attorney, tax planning, transfer of assets, gifting, revocable and irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts, core documents, Medicaid eligibility, and managing estates. We serve The Raleigh Durham Chapel Hill Triangle area of North Carolina.”   Free consultation and we’ll come to you!

 

 

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Long Term Care…….. are you part of the 70%

In the 2000, almost 10 million people needed some form of long-term care in the United States. Of this population, 3.6 million (37%) were under age 65 and 6 million (63%) were over age 65 (Roger & Komisar, 2003). Almost 70% of people turning age 65 will need long-term care at some point in their lives. It is so important for you to begin to think about how you will handle the need for long-term care. Your path will be unique to you, and based on your preferences and circumstances.

There are several levels of Long Term Care, all dependent on your physical and mental capacity as well as your geographic location and finances.

In-home care.  Provided by a licensed, insured, bonded agency

Assisted Living.  This can be a Family Care Home, licensed for a maximum of six residents to major community from under 100 to several hundred.  Housing, meals and assistance with Activities of Daily Living are provided.

Memory Care.  Can be a part of an Assisted Living community or a stand-alone community.  In addition to ADL’s these communities provide a “safe” environment which are most often “locked” and provide specialized programs for memory residents.

Skilled Nursing (Nursing Home). When the level of care grows greater than just the assistance with Activities of Daily Living and turn more towards Nursing assistance, a Skilled community is needed.  Skilled communities are needed when there is rehab or long term medical needs; feeding tubes, special med requirements, special testing, wound care, etc.

Continuous Care Retirement Communities (CCRC’s).  There are two primary models.  One might involve a “buy in” where you purchase your residence along with an agreement to provide additional services or strictly “month to month” rentals.  CCRC’s   offer residents a continuum of care, from Independent Living through Skilled Care.

WHAT IS IMPORTANT?  Being legally prepared as well as being equipped with the knowledge of  costs and possible benefit programs available to your family.

Please let us share with you how important core documents, like a well written General Power of Attorney, giving gifting and trust creation authority as well as the Financial Power Attorney are as you prepare for Long Term Care and applying for Government Benefit Programs.

rick@carolinaestatecounsel.com

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Carolina Estate Counsel offers free consultations in your home, senior living community, your place of business or financial advisor’s office. We offer legal advice only and do not sell annuities, securities or insurance products.

 

 

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Cost of Skilled Nursing and What to do?

Why even discuss skilled nursing?

There are some statistics that everyone needs to know.

1. At least 70% of people 65 years old and older will need some type of long term care in their lives.  Many will require Long Term Skilled Nursing care.

2. In a recent News and Observer article, it noted that 73% of people 55 years old had a positive net worth of less that $50,000.00

3. In the 2015 Genworth survey on “Cost of Care”, the following yearly Skilled Nursing Care fees were recorded:

A. Semi-Private room: $75,190.00 medium yearly cost (Range of $102 to $316.00 per day)

B. Private room: $82,125.00 medium yearly cost (Range of $108 to $630.00 per day)

Let’s just think about the numbers!  How does a family afford the “medium” cost of $75 to 82,000 per year?  Some may have or need to purchase Long Term Care insurance.  Check your policy to understand the daily or monthly rates and if there are condition to receiving the benefit.

PLANNING FOR MEDICAID:  It is important that you speak to an experience Elder Law attorney, familiar with the Medicaid laws in your state.  Medicaid has a Five Year “Look-back” on all countable property given away prior to application.  This might be cash, stocks, autos or real property. 

Our suggestion is that you NEVER make any gifts without proper advise.  Not only can such a gift create severe Medicaid penalties, but possibly Capital Gains Taxes for the recipient of your gift.

QUESTIONS:  rick@carolinaestatecousnel.com 

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Local Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill / Triangle NC Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney offers professional counsel with last will and testament, revocable or irrevocable trust, power of attorney, advanced directive, Medicaid Planning, Veterans Aid and Assistance, asset protection, probate and estate administration, and other important legal matters.

 

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TRUST ADMINISTRATION CHECKLIST

You are the Trustee?

Many Trusts are set up in a way that the Trustee can “Administer” the trust without additional professional assistance.   In those cases, here is a sample “checklist” of those tasks that need to be completed:

  1. Obtain legal documents and records necessary to administer the Trust and certify the validity of the Trust when dealing with third parties.  This includes signing a Certificate of Trust.
  2. Obtaining a tax ID number for the trust       www.irs.gov
  3. Collecting monies owed to the trust
  4. Opening and maintaining a Trust checking account
  5. Making claims on an life insurance, annuities, bank accounts, stocks, mutual funds, or any other assets in which the Trust is names as beneficiary.
  6. Tracking any other assets owned by the Trust’s owner, such as assets that may require probate if they were not transferred into the Trust.
  7. Maintaining inventory of the Trust property.
  8. Paying debts and expenses of the Trust.
  9. Managing Trust assets and investments
  10. Maintaining insurance on assets that will remain in trust
  11. Obtaining appraisals or valuations of Trust assets if necessary
  12. Selling Trust property —- if the trustee decides to sell rather than distribute assets “in-kind” to the beneficiaries
  13. Keeping accurate records of Trust income and expenditures.
  14. Filing tax returns.  Final 1040 for the deceased. Filing 1041 income tax returns for the Trust if taxable income is more than $600.00.  Issuing K-1’s on distribution to heirs.
  15. Providing a Trust accounting and other information to Trust beneficiaries unless beneficiaries waive the right to see any accounts.
  16. Distributing Trust income and property to beneficiaries
  17. Executing documents to transfer title to Trust property to beneficiaries, such as deed for real estate.

Completing a Trust Administration can be complicated and time consuming, especially if you do not live in the vicinity of the Trust’s assets.   In these cases, please seek help from an experienced Estate Planning/Elder Law Attorney.

Carolina Estate Counsel offers free phone consultations for any of your N.C. Trust Administration questions.

rick@carolinaestatecounsel.com         for an appointment today.                            www.carolinaestatecounsel.com

                                                Kevin Huston, Estate and Elder Law Attorney

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Carolina Estate Counsel offers free consultations in your home, senior living community, your place of business or financial advisor’s office. We offer legal advice only and do not sell annuities, securities or insurance products.

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