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This regularly updated elder care planning legal blog contains helpful insights for those thinking about the future of their elder parents, spouses, and other loved ones. This short and informative blog posts contain helpful tips on elder care planning, information about medicaid planning, frequently asked life care planning questions, and other useful elder care planning tidbits that could help you give comfortable golden years to your loved one.

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12/11/2013
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Marty Habiger

On October 20, when I made my last blog posting, there seemed to be some hope that Marty would rally and pull through her immediate crisis. Although the plan at that time was for Marty to enter a Hospice room at her hospital, it seem that she would once again rally … as she had done so many times before.

Category: General

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10/16/2013
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I'm Still Yours Faithfully

On my most recent drive home from visiting Marty, I tried to take my mind off Marty’s lack of response to my presence at her bedside; she was still too doped up to do anything other than give me a brief smile. So as I put miles between us, I listen to a professional development CD, which got me only half way home.

Category: General

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10/9/2013
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Marty knew in advance that her leg needed to be amputated.

Prior to Marty’s surgery, friends who knew of Marty’s inability to communicate verbally in an intelligible manner frequently asked whether Marty understood that she was going to have her leg amputated. I worried that she did not fully comprehend but resigned myself that even if she did not she nonetheless needed to have the surgery.

Category: General

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10/2/2013
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October 2nd, 2013 Update on Marty

This past Sunday, my daughter Kathleen and I visited Marty. She was sleeping when I arrived. Kathleen and I tried to get Marty to wake up; but she would open her eyes only momentarily and then promptly close them again. We concluded that her pain medication was the reason she could not wake up and that it probably was good … so as to keep her from feeling any pain.

Category: General

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9/25/2013
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Update on Marty 9/20/2013

Marty pulled through her surgery without any complications. However, her recovery did have its ups and downs: pain and more pain … but fortunately her nurses were at her side, armed with calming medications, within minutes whenever they were alerted.

Category: General

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9/11/2013
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Marty Is Recovery From Surgery

By the time you receive this update, Marty probably will be recovering from a surgical amputation of her right leg. If you are not a first-time reader of this blog, you know that Marty has three wounds on and around her right ankle and that the wound on her heel has turned gangrenous due to insufficient blood supply to the affected tissue. The decreased blood supply is due to diabetes, with which Marty has struggled for 35 years.

Category: General

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9/4/2013
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September 2, 2013 Update on Marty

Marty has developed a new, third, open wound on her ankle. From my untrained eye, all three were much worse. Under the circumstances, her physician gave her a choice between Hospice and a surgical amputation the affected leg. As Marty’s guardian, it fell to me to make the choice.

Category: General

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8/28/2013
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August 21st, 2013 Update on Marty

Marty was very “weepy.” I could not understand what the problem might have been, other than perhaps Marty’s desire to go home. While this might have been part of it, I really suspect her tears are, in part, an expression of a common emotional state which stroke victims experience.

Category: General

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8/21/2013
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Newest Update on Marty

Marty had a follow up visit with her wound doctor. The doctor looked at the wound on Marty’s ankle and said it was continuing to heal. I thought, “OK so far.”

Category: General

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7/17/2013
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Update on Marty

Marty, of course, wants to come home. Unfortunately, her medical condition continues to be such that she continues to need 24-hour care. Her physical and cognitive abilities have not changed.

Category: General

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5/14/2013
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How is Marty Doing?

Many people have asked me how my wife Marty is doing. For those who do not know, allow me to explain The evening of July 4, 2009, my wife Marty and I stayed home to watch the July 4th musical and fireworks celebration on our local PBS station. Suddenly "fireworks" started going off in her head

Category: General

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5/10/2012
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Free Living Wills in Honor of National Elder Law Month

May is National Elder Law Month and in honor of this, Habiger & Associates Elder Law Office will be providing Free Living Eills to residents of Southern Illinois who are 55 years of age and older.

Category: General

9/15/2010
Richard J. Habiger, J.D.
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Estate Planning Traps and Pitfalls

List of common estate planning traps, pitfalls, and mistaken beliefs that can befall those who do-it-themselves rather than obtaining the assistance of an estate planning attorney.

Category: General

9/1/2010
Richard J. Habiger, J.D.
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The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo

Stieg Larsson, the author of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", died without a will in 2004. His estate is still tied up with his heirs fighting over who will be the beneficiarys of the estate. Don't allow your estate to befall the same fate. Call us today!

Category: General

7/27/2010
Richard J. Habiger, J.D.
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Bankruptcy Can Be An Estate Management Tool

Bankruptcy can be an important tool for estate management for some, particularly seniors with huge medical and long-term care expenses.

Category: General

7/16/2010
Richard J. Habiger, J.D.
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Include your Digital Assets in Your Estate Planning

The first important step, following death or incapacity, is to track down and identify all of the assets, liabilities, and other concerns. To help your family and designated successor, leave a list of assets and liabilities for them. Also, you will want to help your successors by creating an inventory of your digital assets, passwords, etc.

Category: General

7/13/2010
Richard J. Habiger, J.D.
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Don't forget your Digital Assets when doing your Estate Planning

Inventroy your digital assets. Without a detailed and accurate list, your successors will have a hard time protecting you and your digital legacy.

Category: General

6/30/2010
Richard J. Habiger, J.D.
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Taking Care of Digital Assets

Tips for handling digital affairs after the death of another person, including changing passwords, contacting e-mail and social media accounts, preserving photographs, protecting financial information, and backing up all data.

Category: General

6/19/2010
Richard J. Habiger, J.D.
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The Estate Tax is Not Dead

The estate tax is not “dead”. It has been repealed, but, without action by Congress, will come back in 2011 with only a $1 million exemption and a top 55% tax rate. The Obama administration attempted to permanently fix the exemption at $3.5 million, but Congress balked.

Category: General

6/6/2010
Richard J. Habiger, J.D.
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Lawsuit claims LegalZoom is Unfair & Misleading

Lawsuit claims LegalZoom is unfair and engages in deceptive business practices, that its website falsely states that "customized" documents are reviewed for "accuracy and reliability." Nowhere [does LegalZoom] explain that its documents are not the same as those prepared by an attorney and that that its documents are not truly 'customized'. Plaintiffs claim the documents they purchased were flawed and they had to hire an attorney to correct the problems.

Category: General

6/1/2010
Richard J. Habiger, J.D.
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Suzann BeckettMeet one of my fellow Wealth Counsel attorneys, Suzann Beckett. Suzann is a colleague who practices in Connecticut, and she recently posted to her blog this reminder of ethics guidelines as they apply to sharing confidential information.

Perhaps one of the least talked about aspects of working with a lawyer is the fear some of us have of exposing our personal lives to a total stranger. That reluctance takes a back seat in criminal law, where the process you are thrust into isn't voluntary. But when considering the larger decisions in life, opening the books on a lifetime of financial acquisitions, debts, and concerns to a total stranger can lead some people to avoid involving a lawyer when making long term plans.

Like most fears, the emotional reaction we have can be profoundly counter-productive. Sadly, it isn't all that unusual for costly, irreparable mistakes to be the result of our attempts to keep prying eyes out of our business.

The key is to be selective. When you plan for the future, you don't necessarily want to show the records of your financial holdings to your hairdresser, or the guy who mows your lawn. But it would be a good idea to come clean with the IRS on an annual basis. And although it may seem counter-intuitive, the best way to maintain control of your wealth and property over the long haul is to have an open, honest discussion of your plans with a legal professional who has your best interest at heart. Whether you are buying a home, building a business, filing for bankruptcy protection, or planning for the handling of your estate, you want to be the person in control - and you want the decisions you make to be based on solid legal grounds, not a gut feeling that may or may not stand up when you need it to.

Keep in mind that you are the customer, and the law is in a very real sense, a service industry.

So rest easy when you think about laying open your books, and your plans to a lawyer. The Bar Association holds lawyers to a very high ethical standard. Like your doctor, your lawyer is required by law to keep your confidence. A responsibility that we take very seriously, and one that I find comforting whenever I sit with a client who indicates the slightest concern for the security of their personal information.

When serving as your legal counsel, it is my responsibility to act with your best interests at heart. This posting by Suzann Beckett is a concise reminder that my counsel to you is for you and in your best interest. When offering counsel in my professional capacity, it is always confidential and it is specific to your needs.



Category: General

5/15/2010
Richard J. Habiger, J.D.
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Take your Medicine…it’s Good for You and Your Loved Ones

Many do not like to discuss estate planning. When they do, many parents want to treat children "equally." But there may not be enough to go around. Parents must first plan for their own care, then consider being "fair" rather than "equal" to their children. Its important to have a conversation with your family and to be open. It will save family relationships.

Category: General

5/8/2010
Richard J. Habiger, J.D.
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Buying Tires vs. Legal Services

Build a relationship with an attorney who is ethical, honest, can be trusted, and is both knowledgeable and experienced. Follow this blog for free information.

Category: General

5/2/2010
Richard J. Habiger, J.D.
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Take a A Positive Step

Don't stress about long-term care or estate protection planning. Take a positive step toward your estate or retirement planning.

Category: General

4/18/2010
Richard J. Habiger, J.D.
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LegalZoom is Not the Answer

There are good alternatives to LegalZoom. Documents are simple. Wisdom is harder to come. Consult with a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning or elder law attorney. Or consult with the either the Elderly Clinic or Self-Help Center at the Southern Illinois University School of Law.

Category: General

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Phone: (618) 985-4529