Estate Planning

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Attention Parents of Young Adults: Yes, You!

Maine Center for Elder Law attorney Barbara Schlichtman says "if you are over 18 and you have a checking account or a bike, you have assets and that means you have an estate." We don't often think of young adults as needing "estate" planning, but there are basic legal documents they (and everyone) should have: an Advance Health Care Directive, HIPAA authorization, and Durable Power of Attorney.

ATTENTION PARENTS! Did you know once your child turns 18, you no longer have automatic access to:

  • your child's health records;
  • your child's medical condition; and
  • your child's education records (without a Read more . . .

Thursday, July 21, 2016

So Talk Already! Your Kids Really Do Want to Know

We think it's great that there is so much information out there on the importance of talking with your family about your wishes. Sure, it's daunting to find time to sifting through all the website, blogs, articles, posts and tweets; but the result of all the communication is that we really are increasingly aware of what's important as we age. And awareness is a great step toward dong something about it. So are websites like the conversation project (see our blog post on "the conversation"

Read more . . .

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Conversations: "It's always too soon... until it's too late"

Ellen Goodman, Co-Founder and Director of The Conversation Project, says the primary reason people gave for not talking to their loved ones was "It’s too soon." But it’s always too soon … until it’s too late.

"In some recess of my mind, I still assumed that death came in the way we used to think of as 'natural.' I thought that doctors were the ones who would tell us what needed to be done. I was strangely unprepared, blindsided by the cascading number of decisions that fell to me in her last years. I had to say no to one procedure and yes to another, no to the bone marrow test, yes and yes again to antibiotics. How often I wished I could hear her voice in my ear telling me what she wanted. And what she didn’t want."

Read her New York Times blog post here... maybe it will help start your own conversation.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Time to Re-Think Reverse Mortgages?

It used to be that reverse mortgages were considered the last resort for elderly retirees needing an income stream. Seems things may be changing. One of our local professionals, Sharron Eastman, President of Big Horizon Mortgage Corp., recently shared this Wall Street Journal article written by Wade Pfau.

"Reverse mortgages provide the ability to borrow a portion of your home equity without being required to repay the loan until the owner has permanently left it. The idea for reverse mortgages is that the value of your home is eventually used to repay your loan balance.

To the extent that there ever was much of a conversation about reverse mortgages as a retirement income tool, that conversation typically focused on either real or perceived negatives related to the traditionally high costs and potentially inappropriate uses for these funds. The assumption in financial and retirement planning was that reverse mortgages should only be considered as a last resort, once all other resources and possibilities had failed.

Well, a lot has changed in the past several years, and the result is that reverse mortgages have an undeserved bad reputation."

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Everything Gets Complicated When a Person has Dementia

An Annals of Internal Medicine paper reports that the money needed to treat dementia in a patient’s final five years is greater than for heart disease and cancer. Take a look at this New York Times article by Gina Kolata.
Three diseases, leading killers of Americans, often involve long periods of decline before death. Two of them — heart disease and cancer — usually require expensive drugs, surgeries and hospitalizations. The third, dementia, has no effective treatments to slow its course.

So when a group of researchers asked which of these diseases involved the greatest health care costs in the last five years of life, the answer they found might seem surprising. The most expensive, by far, was dementia.

The study looked at patients on Medicare. The average total cost of care for a person with dementia over those five years was $287,038. For a patient who died of heart disease it was $175,136. For a cancer patient it was $173,383. Medicare paid almost the same amount for patients with each of those diseases — close to $100,000 — but dementia patients had many more expenses that were not covered.

On average, the out-of-pocket cost for a patient with dementia was $61,522 — more than 80 percent higher than the cost for someone with heart disease or cancer. The reason is that dementia patients need caregivers to watch them, help with basic activities like eating, dressing and bathing, and provide constant supervision to make sure they do not wander off or harm themselves. None of those costs were covered by Medicare.

"Everything gets complicated when a person has dementia," noted Dr. Christine K. Cassel, a geriatrician and chief executive of the National Quality Forum.

Maine Center for Elder Law attorneys have helped many seniors and their families with estate planning designed to fit each unique situation. We never know what life will bring our way, but we do know we can plan in advance--for everyone's sake.

Read more of the NYT article here.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Unbefriended: When you Outlive Your Family and Friends

The New York Times has been running an excellent series by columnist Paula Span called "The New Old Age." In a recent piece, Paula wrote about the "unbefriended" (and the term doesn't have anything to do with Facebook). We thought this was an informative article to share on the importance of Advance Health Care Directives. Read on!

Near the End, It's Best to Be 'Friended'

The unconscious man in his 90s was brought to an emergency room where Dr. Douglas White was a critical care physician. The staff couldn’t find any relatives to make medical decisions on his behalf.

“He had outlived all his family,” recalled Dr. White, who now directs an ethics program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “We were unable to locate any friends. We even sent the police to knock on his neighbors’ doors.”

Nobody could find an advance directive, either. In the end, the hospital’s ethics committee had to help guide the medical team to decisions about continuing life support.

Experts describe patients like this one as “unbefriended.” But you can also be unbefriended, even if you do have friends and family, if you are incapacitated and haven’t appointed someone you trust as a health care proxy.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

SAGE Advice: Support and Advocacy for Gay Elders

Maine Center for Elder Law associate attorney Britton Ryan Garon is a self-described "younger, straight ally" for SAGE (Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders). She is also a board member of SAGE Maine, which was founded in 2013.

Garon was recently interviewed for an article in The Village. "No one wants to speak about aging in this country period, let alone the issues facing the LGBT community. Death and dying are swept under the rug. The less it is acknowledged, the harder it is to put plans in place."

Read the full article written by Faith Gilman.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Get A Leg Up On Tom Brokaw

Did you happen to see the TED Talk in which Tom Brokaw had a conversation with his daughter, Jennifer? During the talk, Tom admitted that unfortunately, I don’t know a lot about my living will. In factI’m not even sure where it is at this point.”

You can click here to watch the video. I set up the link to jump right to the spot, but I encourage you to watch the entire video. It’s only about 20 minutes long and well worth the time.

It’s always nice to see that celebrities are real people with real problems, and Tom’s case raises a few important questions.

  • Does your living will still reflect your wishes? There are many reasons why you may want to update your living will and/or healthcare power of attorney: Has your relationship with your family changed? Is your agent still able and willing to act on your behalf? Has your health changed? Have your beliefs changed? Have you moved? 

  • Have you discussed your wishes with your family? What you want and don't want?

  • Do you know where you living will is? Tom Brokaw admits he doesn’t know where his living will is. This is a common problem, which is why we encourage our clients  to sign up for DocuBank. A DocuBank Emergency Card lets you and your doctor access your living will & other emergency info immediately when needed. It’s like you have your documents right in your pocket!

We want to make sure that you stay ahead of Tom Brokaw!  It’s important that your living will and advance directives reflect your true wishes, and that you and your family know where they are and can access them when they’re needed.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Maine Center for Elder Law Opens Portland Office

Maine Center for Elder Law opened a Portland office in January 2014.  The office is on Monument Square, directly above Longfellow Books and Foley's Bakery.  The building was formerly Benoit's Department store,

Parking is available in the connected parking garage.  You enter next to Foley's Bakery and take the elevator to the 2nd floor.  Allow time for some coffee and one of the best baked goods in town.  You can shop at the farmer's market on Wednesdays.

Attorney Barbara Schlichtman will be the attorney in the Portland office most of the time; however, all attorneys will meet clients in Portland when necessary.  Barbara works in Kennebunk part of each week along with attorneys Martin C. Womer and Britton R. Garon.

Maine Center for Elder Law continues to focus its practice on elder law and special needs planning.  Elder law inludes guardianships, conservatorships, estate planning documents, MaineCare planning and applications.

You may call Barbara Schlichtman on her direct line at 207-619-2529.  This number is directed to whichever office she is occupying.  The primary number for Kennebunk remains 207-467-3301.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Video describes elder law practice

This video is created by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and Stetson University College of Law, which offers a master's of law in Elder Law.  The video is targeted toward upcoming attorneys to explain "What is Elder Law?"  However, it is a good explanation of issues that an elder law attorney can address.

This video could also be useful for caregivers trying to decide what issues they face.  In our office, we often see adult children who want to take care of their parents, but don't know where to begin.  This video is a good resource.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Heiress's nurse inherits $30 million — but should she? (

The wealthy recluse's bequest to her nurse and doctor raises serious ethical questions.

See article by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., is director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania at:

Archived Posts


← Newer12 Older →

The Maine Center for Elder Law, LLC, assists clients with Medicaid (MaineCare) Planning, Planning for VA Aid and Attendance Eligibility, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning, and Probate, Estate & Trust Administration matters in York County, Cumberland County and nearby Maine counties.

© 2018 Maine Center for Elder Law, LLC | Disclaimer
Medicaid (MaineCare) Planning | Planning for VA Pension with Aid & Attendance | Special Needs Planning | Estate Planning | Probate, Estate & Trust Administration | | Resources | About Us | Contact Us

Attorney Website Design by
Amicus Creative