Caring for someone with special needs is both a burden and a privilege. The challenges can be all-consuming, but the rewards are often deeply gratifying. Few of us who don’t bear this burden can fully understand the level of commitment required.
For many caregivers, this commitment extends to remembering the disabled person in their wills. This is a commendable impulse, but it is important to proceed cautiously. Without proper planning, an inheritance left to someone on government assistance can lead to nothing short of disaster.
“Marriage has many pains,” said Samuel Johnson, “but celibacy has no pleasures.” The eccentric English author may have been on to something. Writing in the 18th century, however, he knew little about today’s most popular compromise—simply living together.
Marriage rates are at an all-time low in the United States, but in the LGBT community we are seeing a reverse trend. Couples in 37 states and the District are now flocking to the altar, the chuppah, and the courthouse to take advantage of new laws allowing same-sex marriage.
George and Andrew lived an enviable life. They had a comfortable home, flourishing careers, and a promising young daughter they had recently adopted. The pair often remarked that it would be hard to imagine how life could get any better.
Then the unthinkable happened.
On an icy winter road, Andrew lost control of his car and plowed into a tree. He died before the paramedics even arrived.
When George received the news, he was devastated. How would he—and their daughter—manage without Andrew’s support? Even in his grief, however, George knew that Andrew’s Will left him everything. As difficult as the loss of his partner was, he thought, at least he would be well provided for.
Or would he?
What’s on your list of New Year’s resolutions? Maybe losing weight? That’s a time-honored favorite. Managing stress better? Perhaps volunteering to help others? Of all the worthwhile things you might resolve to do in 2015, perhaps estate planning should be at the top of the list.
Updating your will, power of attorney, and advance heath care directive could be the most important tasks you undertake this year, and unlike many resolutions, they’re surprisingly easy to keep. Here are five reasons you shouldn’t let this wait.