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Yes, it’s National Make a Will Month again and, once again, you have postponed making a Will. We always think there is more time, that we can do it later. As much as we want to protect our loved ones, none of us is particularly interested in contemplating our demise.

We know that making a Will is important, but other aspects of estate planning can be even more important.

What about assets which pass, or could pass, outside your Will, outside of probate and Medicaid Estate Recovery?

How has the 2020 tax law change affected how you should leave 401k or traditional IRA?

If you have, or may have, minor children, have you appointed guardians “just in case”? If one of them has special needs, have you arranged for them to receive the most in public benefits now and in the future?

If you are approaching retirement, have you determined when you and your spouse should take Social Security retirement benefits? Whether you should convert your 401k to an IRA? When you should start taking distributions and how much you should take when?

Have you chosen the Medicare plan which will most benefit you?

Should you get on the waitlist for future home health care benefits to supplement Medicare?

Do you have the basic medical care documents? Are they readily available?

Is your Durable [Financial] Power of Attorney customized? Does it allow your agent to do what you need them to do and keep them from being able to do what you do not want them to do?

If you already have a Will, does it do everything you need it to do? Does it address your online accounts? Leave anything to a disabled beneficiary in a way which preserves public benefits, including nursing home Medicaid? Make sure that your assets are not squandered, do not pass to an in-law’s family or someone’s creditors?

It’s National Make a Will Month. Is your Will in order? Have you also provided for yourself?

The right elder law attorney can simplify things while still getting you what you need.


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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