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When is it Time to Plan?

Written by estateplanning  |  07. November 2001

The day after the attack on the World Trade Center, a client came to our office to discuss her adult son who suffers from multiple handicaps as a result of traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injury, also known as TBI, is usually the result of a serious accident involving head injury but it can also occur in some stroke victims. The mother began by apologizing for her visit. She explained her problems with her son, who is in his late 30's, and mentioned that her problems seemed so small compared to the losses American had just suffered. She and her husband were getting ready to retire, had managed to save for a comfortable retirement, but didn't know what to do for their son. Yes, they had prepared wills many years ago that left their estate equally to each of their three children, including their disabled son. Now, she wanted to know what to do. This consultation, so close on the heels of our national tragedy, highlights an undisputed fact. The needs of the disabled, of family members who care for the disabled and the isues of aging are still with us even as we focus on national security and the battle against terrorism. For this mother and son, our plan - to create a supplemental needs trust, to apply for Medicaid for her son so that placement could be arranged in a structured and supportive living environment with treatment and counseling - brought order to their lives and some relief from the stress of the unknown future. The preparation and execution of a comprehensive legal plan, much like financial or insurance planning, is not something which should be left 'for a rainy day'. The legal issues which stem from disability, aging and even with the transference of wealth at our deaths, makes it imperative planning is encouraged. The time for planning is now.

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