A virtual touchscreen with probate option buttons.Probate is often something that people wish that they could avoid.

The truth is that probate is not an inherently bad thing, nor something to be fearful of. In fact, it can be a very helpful process that offers an independent entity – the probate court – to oversee and ensure that a decedent’s wishes are met.

But it is also true that there are certain situations where you would want to do some advanced planning designed to avoid probate.  To get a better picture of when and why someone would want to avoid probate, let’s first review what probate is and the function of the probate court.

Tennis ball hitting the racket strings during a serve.Keeping fit is a critical part of aging well, but it can sometimes be a challenge to find an exercise that’s enjoyable as well as beneficial. If this is a familiar conundrum, racket sports might be the answer you’re looking for. 

When it comes to physical activity, racket sports stand out as versatile and pleasurable options that are accessible to people of all ages.

But for those over 65, engaging in racket sports like tennis, badminton, and even the increasingly popular pickleball can be particularly beneficial. Not only do these sports offer a fun way to stay active, they also provide a range of health benefits that can enhance overall well-being. 

African american female patient with oxygen mask, lying on bed in hospital roomWhat happens when you lose your capacity to make decisions about your medical care?

The news depicts stories about people on life support and their family members fighting over whether brain dead means something different than dead. What if you were the one on life support? What would you choose?

Ideally, you would have already chosen, and your wishes would be clearly spelled out in your Advance Healthcare Directives. Unfortunately, only about 30% of Americans have made their wishes known.

Grandson and grandfather playing video games together.By Jill Brightman

As the parent of “older” kids – one a tween, and one a teen – I see daily their incremental physical and personality changes that signify to me, they are not babies anymore!

And, I fully expect (and reluctantly accept) that as my kids go headlong into their teenage years that they, as teens tend to do, will choose to spend the bulk of their time with their peers and have less interest in hanging out with mom and dad.

Hand with marker writing the word Bewareby Carmine Perri

You want to apply for Medicaid – a complicated process – but you’ve heard that hiring an attorney specializing in Medicaid planning is expensive.

So why not use one of those services that say they’ll do the same thing for less?

But do they really do the same thing? Continue reading

Full length shot of a senior couple working on their finances at home.So you’ve decided a living trust is appropriate for you. You’ve met with your attorney, made all the decisions about how you want any money in the trust to be spent, you’ve signed the document and placed it in a safe place.

But you’re not done.

Funding your revocable living trust is just as important as setting up your trust in the first place.

Contemporary retired woman using voice commands to control smart speaker, mature woman talking to the digital virtual assistant at home, asking a question or requesting to switch musicArtificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing industries across the board — from healthcare to transportation, investing to marketing. One perhaps unexpected area where AI shows tremendous promise is in improving the lives of older adults. 

Although emerging technologies are generally associated with the younger generations, the integration of AI technologies is becoming increasingly central in a variety of tools and software that help foster independence and enhance the quality of life for older adults. From assistive technologies to companion robots, AI is reshaping the way older adults live and interact with their environments.

While there are both pros and cons to using AI technologies, the consensus is growing that these innovations have the potential to significantly improve quality of life while giving older adults the independence to age in place.

Nursing home written on a sticky noteCurrently there are more than 1.1 million Americans residing in nursing homes (over 19,000 in Connecticut) and it is estimated that more than 3,000 new nursing homes could need to be built to keep up with demand.

Among the factors leading to the need for increased high-quality nursing home facilities and care are industry-wide staffing shortages, rising costs, and an aging (baby boomer) population.

Consider these expected population trends and the nursing facility numbers in Connecticut and nationwide:

Can gift cards affect Social Security income? Americans sure love their gift cards!

In fact, according to Capital One Shopping, the U.S. accounts for approximately 38% of the global gift card market (at a value of $339.5 billion), with a whopping 54% of US consumers buying gift cards as holiday presents.

But, if you are thinking about buying a gift card as a birthday or holiday gift for someone who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), first make sure you understand how receiving a gift card may affect the benefits on which the recipient may rely.

Preparing for a spousal deathThe prospect of losing your spouse may be the hardest thing you’ll ever face. Taking the time to put things in order before they pass will give both of you peace of mind. Preparation will provide a sense of relief during a sad, life altering time. Here are some important things to consider, and talk about with your spouse and family members:

Stay on top of the finances

If your partner has been in charge of your personal finances, this is the time to find out everything they know about estate plans, bank accounts, savings, bills, policies, and insurance. Do you know what your income will be? Will it meet your needs, or will you need to make some adjustments? The more you know, the better prepared you will be. Continue reading

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