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Elder Law Questions Answered at Recent Crane’s Mill Program

Crane’s Mill recently welcomed Thomas Murphy, Esq., for a special presentation on Elder Law, including answers to top questions he receives in the field.

The following is a recap of this particular presentation and is for informational purposes only. This post does not constitute legal advice. For your personal situation and planning, it is best to contact an attorney.

The main topics from Tom’s presentation included the following:


We learned the importance of key planning documents.

Key Planning Documents
Ownership of Assets
Estate Planning

Key Planning Documents

We are all faced with a number of financial and medical decisions throughout our lives. As Tom notes, “we will all have a period of time in which we are disabled and cannot make our own decisions…the only question is will this last one minute or one year?”

In order to make sure our wishes are carried out, it’s important to have documents clearly stating our intentions. It’s equally important that our designees know where to find said documents, as they are not useful if no one knows where to find them.

In general, Tom suggests three key documents for planning: a financial power of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney, and a living will. Contact an attorney to find out which documents are needed for your personal situation.

Ownership of Assets

Tom presented a lively discussion on asset ownership that involved many questions from the audience. What kind of assets are considered “highly appreciated” assets? What do they mean for your future and your estate? How are your bank accounts set up—individual, joint, P.O.D., P.O.A.? The description is important depending on what you specifically want to achieve.

Estate Planning

The third portion of the presentation focused on estate planning. There was a discussion on inheritance tax, and state and federal estate taxes. We learned that the inheritance tax is not applicable to spouses, children, and grandchildren. We also learned that taxes can be paid by the estate or by the person receiving the inheritance, so it’s important to spell out your personal wishes in writing as to how you would like your estate handled.

All in all, it was quite an eye-opening presentation. It got us thinking about our own documents and affairs, and how having everything in order, and continuing to ensure things are in order, can take a real burden off ourselves and our loved ones.