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Show your Valentine your love with a few easy estate planning tips.

  1. Hold your homestead “joint with right of survivorship.”
  2. Hold your bank accounts (other than the one for candy and roses) “joint with right of survivorship.”
  3. Name your valentine as the first beneficiary on your life insurance, retirement and brokerage accounts – naming a special needs trust as the beneficiary if your valentine becomes disabled. (Don’t forget to name a second.)
  4. Receive any pension or annuity paying over your joint lives.
  5. Check your Will to make sure that it provides for a trust if your valentine becomes disabled.
  6. Make sure that both you and your valentine have a Durable Power of Attorney which becomes effective if a doctor writes that you have become mentally incompetent to manage your financial affairs (like doing your tax return!)
  7. Smile your special smile, often.


Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

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