July 12, 2016
The Five at Fifty Five- Legal Tools for Mid-Life Planning
THE ELDER CARE FIRM OF CHRISTOPHER J. BERRY, CELA JOINS 5@55 CAMPAIGN
AIM IS TO EDUCATE AMERICANS ON 5 VITAL LEGAL DOCUMENTS NEEDED BY AGE 55 A Campaign to Educate Clients in Their Mid 50s of the Need for Estate Planning
A majority of adult Americans lack the legal documents that would protect them and their families from the serious legal complications that can arise in a health or other emergency or death. The Elder Care Firm of Christopher J. Berry, CELA has joined the 5@55 campaign which is being launched to get the message out that neglecting to get one’s legal paperwork in order can have unforeseen and serious consequences. Elder Law firms around the country are leading this effort to inform the public of the importance of obtaining legal protection no later than the age of 55. The 5@55 Campaign offers a solution to this failure to plan with the following essential legal documents which everyone should complete by age 55.
The 5@55 basic documents are:
The Health Care Proxy
The Living Will
The Power of Attorney
The Cyber Will/Digital Dairy
To support this campaign Elder Law attorneys, Judith Grimaldi and Joanne Seminara have written a simple guide called , 5@55 : The Five Essential Legal Documents You Need by Age 55 (Quill Driver Books) The book which will be available in June 2015 offers the reader enlightening and often surprising case histories that illustrate the pitfalls that can arise when one has not effectively planned for such life emergencies and is not protected by these five legal documents.
Age 55 has been determined to be the optimum time to begin estate planning. Most individual family responsibilities to support children have decreased. The focus can now turn to establishing a life plan for the individual’s later years. The need to plan for the future and take precautionary steps, to make decisions affecting possible retirement and, unfortunately, provide for the possibility of major health changes reaches a higher level of urgency in people reaching their mid fifties. The 5@55 campaign chose 55 as the age marker to enter this important planning phase similar to the way 65 is accepted as the age to retire.
Every day lawyers see clients who need to spend their hard-earned savings to repair the damage caused by being unprepared to face the challenges that life can unexpectedly deliver. We have come to accept using insurance to protect against fires, automobile crashes, health emergencies The 5@55 campaign offers a kind of legal insurance to protect against other potential personal emergencies such as a health emergency, a family crisis or even death, . Most people hold their financial lives close to the vest, therefore the consequences that arise because of poor legal planning usually play out behind closed doors. We are trained not to speak about our money. This is to be kept private. This “secrecy” has lead to family problems. As a result, families are forced to scramble to learn about their loved ones legal and financial needs when an emergency hits. Bills need to be paid, decisions need to be made and assets need to be protected. Life continues and the needed resources may be frozen. The campaign will bring out into the open the risks that exist and need to be addressed, in the face of such crisis especially as one grows older and the risks multiply.
The Forward to 5@55 : The Five Essential Legal Documents You Need by Age 55 was written by a retired and noted New York City Surrogates Judge who for many years oversaw the trials and tribulations of people who had not adequately protected themselves. The ultimate irony is that this 72 year old jurist admits in her Forward that she does not have this necessary paperwork! This demonstrates both the level of unpreparedness of the public and how vital this campaign is in overcoming this failure of individuals to get their legal house in order. The resistance is surprisingly strong even among people who know the risks, Media coverage about the 5@55 campaign will hopefully play an important role in awakening the public to the legal and health dangers they face.
For more information or to arrange an interview with 5@55 attorney Christopher J. Berry, CELA about 5@55 or to receive information about this easy to read guide contact The Elder Care Firm of Christopher J. Berry, CELA at 888-390-4360.