Michigan Elder Law Attorney Chris Berry on the Law Power Hour

Michigan Elder Law Attorney Christopher Berry was a special guest on the Law Power Hour with Barry Keller. Below is a transcript of the interview.  To interview Attorney Chris Berry or to have him on your show or podcast, please contact the office at (888) 390-4360 for any media appearances.

On The Law Power Hour, Attorney Berry discussed estate planning, avoiding probate and the devastating cost of long-term care.

Barry Keller: Good morning. Welcome to Law Power Hour. Good morning, Mr. Berry.

Christopher Berry.: Hey, great to see you.

Barry Keller: Today, we have the pleasure of an elder care law, Atty. Christopher Berry, coming on. Thank you for joining me.

Christopher Berry: No, it’s my pleasure.

Barry Keller: Tell our listeners a little bit about yourself. Where is your office located?

Christopher Berry: Sure. Yeah. So, our main office is in Brighton, Michigan and then we have offices in Livonia and Novi, as well as Bloomfield Hills.

Barry Keller: As an elder care law lawyer, what do you do?

Christopher Berry: Well, it’s important to define what elder care means. So, a lot of people are familiar with what estate planning is. Estate planning would be planning for what happens if you pass away. We do that but elder care and elder law is not just planning for what happens if you pass away, but also planning for what happens if you don’t, and you face all the issues that go along with aging. Not only are we planning for what happens upon death, where does your stuff go, but also we’re planning for what happens if you continue to age, you’re diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you’re facing long-term care costs, all the things that go along with that.

Barry Keller: So, it’s preparing in advance to ensure that the right decisions are made if you become ill, disabled, impaired, infirmed or unfortunately if you die.

Christopher Berry: You’re correct, in the sense that it’s really about developing a plan, having a plan for life as well as when you pass away.

Barry Keller: My big question of the day is if I die tomorrow and I don’t have a will and I have three children, and one says, “Well, let’s save money. Let’s cremate dad. That way we don’t have to spend $20,000 for a funeral,” and the other two children want a funeral, who’s going to win?

Christopher Berry: Well, the answer that is what I learned in my first year of law school, to answer any question with “it depends” because it makes us sound smart as lawyers. So, it does depends, but basically what would happen is, ideally, the family is able to work it out amongst themselves. So, you might have a majority rule. But worst case scenario, and you probably know this, is that if there’s not a plan in place and there ends up being a conflict, then it’s going to end up going into court, and the courts going to decide that. Typically, what they would probably do in that situation is go with the majority.

Barry Keller: Okay. So, it wouldn’t be three earns. The majority would win and there’d be an internment.

Christopher Berry: Most likely yes, but again once you get into court you never know what’s going to happen with regards to those types of things.

Barry Keller: I know I run into so many questions about probate, and I hope our listeners call in while the show is on, for example, a widow has a house and she said, “I’ve got three daughters and I want to give the house to all three my daughters, and any one of them can live in the house.” I explained to them that this is really a problem, because if you have one living in the house, you give it to all three children, you can never sell it.

Christopher Berry: Right. Yeah. Again, it’s all about having a good plan so things don’t end up going into probate. A lot of times the biggest issues, you hit the nail on the head with that, is with regards to real estate. Like you said, if you have three daughters, you want one of them to live there. What happens if the other kids want to end up selling that property? So, by setting things up properly ahead of time, you can answer all of those questions so that when we’re talking about leaving a legacy we’re not always talking about leaving lots of money, but we’re just leaving things to the next generation so that it’s not a mess, so that there’s not any type of family conflict.

I remember growing up, I was about 12, and I had three cousins from my uncle, and my uncle passed away. And he didn’t have a lot of money, but he did have a $10,000 life insurance policy. He had a will that said it should go to one-third, to each one of his sons, which makes sense. He loves them equally. But this life insurance policy said it goes out right to the youngest child. So, it caused this family conflict because the three brothers thought it should … or the two of the brothers thought it should be split up three ways, while the life insurance policy going to that youngest son said, “Hey, no. I should get that life insurance policy.” It really split up our family just because my uncle didn’t have a proper estate plan in place.

Barry Keller: The same thing holds true with personal effects. You’re wearing a watch every day and your son says, “Dad, if something happens, I want your watch.” Your daughter says, “Dad, if something happens I’d like to have your signet ring from law school.”

Christopher Berry: Right.

Barry Keller: How do you handle these issues? They sound like really unimportant issues, but they’re very important issues because they go to the very heart of the relationship that exists in the family unit, because this is family treasure. This is the kind of object that you want to keep within the family. You don’t want it to go to the pawnshop. You don’t want it to go and be sold for gold or the watch is sold, or whatever. How do you handle these issues?

The reason I’m asking this is because I come from old-school. I believe everybody needs a will. They don’t need to have a big fancy will, but everybody needs a will. Do you agree with me?

Christopher Berry: Well, yeah, and I think there’s two parts to that question. The first part is how do you handle the things like watches and personal property. And you’re right in the sense that, typically, people aren’t just fighting over the money. What they fight moreover is what mom’s served Thanksgiving dinner on or mom’s wedding ring or jewelry. So, again, it’s all about having a proper plan in place.

One of the things that we incorporate in any type of comprehensive estate plan is what we call a personal property memorandum so that you can decide where you want your hunting rifle to go, where you want your jewelry to go, things like that, so that there’s not a fight once you pass away, because once you’re gone, no one can ask you questions, no one can figure out where stuff was supposed to go. Then the second piece of that is the comment that everyone needs a will, and I certainly agree with that, because understand that everyone has an estate plan, whether they like it or not. If you haven’t put anything, any pen to paper, then it’s going to be the state coming up with an estate plan for you. And that’s called dying intestate.

Most people don’t want to leave it up to the courts and judges to decide things. So, they should take matters into their own hand and create a plan, whether that’s a will-based to stay plan or maybe looking at a trust as a way to avoid probate, because one of the big things that people need to understand is that all a will does is it gives instructions to probate court on how to administer your estate. If you want to keep things out of probate, you might want to do more than just a will.

Then, also there’s the elder care component of what we do of, we’re not just deciding where your stuff goes when you pass away. But the bigger issue that I’m worried about is what happens if you don’t pass away, what happens if you get a knock on your head and you’re unable to make financial or medical decisions? So, in addition to the will we think that at least a financial power of attorney and a medical power of attorney are key ingredients to making sure that you have at least the basics in place.

Barry Keller: Okay. We’re going to talk about those in one second.

Christopher Berry: Sure.

Barry Keller: What’s really important to understand, are these services that you provide expensive? Let’s talk about this.

Christopher Berry: Sure.

Barry Keller: We hear stories about estates and trusts costing thousands of dollars. Is it expensive to have a simple will?

Christopher Berry: Well, the answer to that is, like I said, that first year in law school, the answer is it depends. It really depends on what you’re looking at doing. But just putting together a very simple estate plan like a will and powers of attorney, that can be done for less than a thousand dollars. So, a couple hundred dollars can get you a powers of attorney, a will. Worst case, you can even go online. Sometimes having something is better than having nothing. Even at a library, they have examples that can you can use, or you can even write out your own will.

In Michigan we have what we call a statute called holographic will. So, as long as you write something out in your own handwriting and you sign and date it, that’s a will. Sometimes having that is better than having nothing at all.

Barry Keller: Well, before we get to the holographic will, we’re going to talk about these other documents that are really necessary. Is it more important to have a will than a power of attorney, for example?

Christopher Berry: Sure. That’s a great question. I think my answer would be, specifically, as a elder care attorney, I’m more concerned about your life while you’re living. My first concern is to make sure that you’re taken care of. So, I think a financial and medical power of attorney so that if you do get a knock in your head, someone can take care of you if you become incapacitated. That should be the starting point.

Barry Keller: Now, listeners out there, if you’re not calling in, I expect you to call in, because I want to tell you a horrible story right now. And if that phone doesn’t ring after the story I’m going to be ticked off. I have a client who had open-heart surgery. He was in the hospital and then he got sick, and he had to stay in the hospital for about four months. He allowed his 17-year-old daughter to take a Social Security check every month, supposedly, to pay the mortgage. He got out of the hospital, he came home. He was in foreclosure.

It’s a real life story. He was on a month-to-month Social Security retirement check of $1,800 a month, budgeted $900 a month to pay the mortgage. This is a real life problem. If he had a power of attorney, would that happen?

Christopher Berry: No, because with that power of attorney, you’re appointing someone to make these decisions for you, but most importantly, they owe you a fiduciary duty to act on your behalf. They can’t use that money and go buy themselves a car, or something like that. They always have to act on your behalf. That’s why a power of attorney is so powerful versus just doing joint ownership or, like you said, just taking that check.

Barry Keller: You can designate in the power of attorney with specificity, with specific straightforward language what powers you give the individual, can’t you?

Christopher Berry: Right. And that’s important because understand that not all powers of attorney are created equal. Some powers of attorney are very general that just give general authority, but a lot of times, in these days, banks want to see very specific language listed out. So, our powers of attorney in our office, we include expanded powers so that if we need to move money around to help qualify for governmental benefits like the VA benefit or Medicaid, that financial power of attorney allows us to move that money around.

Barry Keller: Tell our listeners how they can get a hold of you.

Christopher B.: Sure. Yeah. There’s two ways to get a hold of us. One via phone where you can call us at anytime at 888-390-4360. Then, also, you can visit us online at MichiganEstatePlanning.com.

Barry Keller: Now, one of the big issues that I have people call me about all the time is, when they get older and they’re receiving Medicare and Medicaid supplement, and they get sick and they own a home, and it’s in their name, and they want to transfer it, but there’s a time limit, isn’t there, when they can do this?

Christopher Berry: Sure. Yeah. This is what we call going through the elder care journey. So, people aren’t just living at home and then passing away, or going from healthy to passing away. They’re going through this elder care journey where now they may need home care or assisted living or a nursing home care. We have different governmental benefits like Medicaid that can help pay that cost of care, but there’s an asset test associated with Medicaid, where a single individual can only have $2,000 worth accountable assets.

You mentioned the home and the home is an exempt asset, but since 2011, Michigan has had estate recovery where they can place a lien on the home for whatever the state of Michigan paid out in benefits. We …

Barry Keller: Okay. Wait a second. Let’s explain this very carefully.

Christopher Berry: Sure.

Barry Keller: I have $60,000 equity in my house.

Christopher Berry: Right.

Barry Keller: I go on a nursing home. The house is in my name. I’m just making this as real as possible for the listeners. The house is in my name. That house of mine is free and clear. $!20,000 is spent taking care of me, I die, that house doesn’t go to my estate, does it?

Christopher Berry: No. Well, what’s going to happen is they’re going to place a lien on the home for $120,000. Now, the state of Michigan will take that home away from you. Now, there’s things that we can do to avoid this. One of the things that we can do right now is a special type of deed. It’s called a lady bird deed. What it says is that, the home is in your name while you’re alive. So, it’s exempt from Medicaid while you’re alive. Then, when you pass away, it avoids estate recovery as well as avoiding probate, so it can go directly to your loved ones. That’s a way that we can avoid that Medicaid lien.

Barry Keller: With the lady bird deed, is there a time limit? This is what’s really important. If you’re out there listening, I want you to hear about this lady bird deed because it’s really important. Is there time limit that I have to prepare that deed?

Christopher Berry: The great thing about the lady bird deed and estate recovery as we have it now is that you can do that at any time. Meaning, there’s no time limit, okay? Because Medicaid does have a five-year lookback period, where they look to see if you’ve made any gifts. But the great thing about the lady bird deed is it’s something that you can do now if you have a loved one in a nursing home. It avoids that whole five-year lookback period, because it’s not a gift.

What it’s saying is the house is in your name while you’re alive and then it’s like a beneficiary designation where it goes to your loved ones, thereby avoiding probate and avoiding estate recovery upon death. That’s one of the few things that we can do at the last minute to help avoid that Medicaid or nursing home spend down.

Barry Keller: Now, if I just transferred the house to my son and didn’t use a lady bird deed, that would be considered a gift, wouldn’t it?

Christopher Berry: Yeah. Not only would it be considered a gift, but it also would be considered a divestment. That would penalize you for Medicaid purposes where now the state of Michigan will not pay you any benefits, with the idea that whoever you gifted that asset to, gifted that house to is now going to pay your nursing home care for a period of time. So, it’s very draconian the way these rules are set up.

Barry Keller: Hold on for a second here. Good morning.

Listener: Good morning.

Barry Keller: How’re you doing?

Listener: I’d like to know what sort of expenses would one incur from Medicaid at the time of death?

Christopher Berry: The question is what type of expenses would you incur from Medicaid at the time of death?

Listener: Would Medicaid go after it? What type of expenses would they go after?

Christopher Berry: What Medicaid is going to go after with estate recovery, the way the law is set up now is that, they can only go after assets that end up going into probate. If there’s any assets that end up going into probate, for example, your home, if it’s just in your name or if there’s any type of accounts that are just in your name when you pass away and they end up going through probate, they can actually place a lien and become a creditor, where now they have to be paid off first before any of the beneficiaries of that estate would receive any assets. One of the keys to avoiding estate recovery and avoiding this Medicaid lien or avoiding Medicaid going after any of your assets upon death is, as of right now, the way the laws are written is to just avoid probate.

Now Michigan may pass enhanced estate recovery in the future, they’ve tried to do this already, where they go after more than just the assets in probate. But as of right now, Medicaid can only go after assets that end up in probate. So, if you want to avoid those Medicaid liens, then you need to ensure that you avoid probate.

Barry Keller: You see the thing about Medicaid …

Listener: what I want to know what services that Medicaid provides that they would charge you for. What type of services?

Christopher Berry: Sure. The question is what type of services that Medicaid would provide. The one that I focus on as an elder law attorney …

Listener: That do come back and charge you for, yeah.

Christopher Berry: Yeah. The one that I focus on as a elder law attorney would be Medicaid in the nursing home. If you have a loved one that needs nursing home level care and spends any time in a nursing home, and medicaid pays out any benefits, that’s the services they’re looking to recoup.

Barry Keller: We’re not talking about the ordinary daily …

Listener: [crosstalk 00:17:59] I’m sorry.

Barry Keller: Hey, we’re not talking …

Listener: She wasn’t on any type of nursing home on Medicaid, but she did own my house that she owned out clear, and my sister take it over. So, would we have a problem with probate court even though she has no issues with Medicaid?

Christopher B.: Well, the answer, you say that your sister has kind of taken over the house where she named joint owners to that house?

Listener: Yes.

Christopher Berry: Okay. Then what happens with that is that because the house avoids probate, most likely you’re not going to run into any issues.

Barry Keller: Thank you. Good morning.

Listener: Good morning. Yes, I have a question about a loved one has passed and they have bills from credit cards or such, and they have a will and make you the beneficiary. Are you responsible to pay the loved ones’ bills when they don’t have the assets to fully pay those bills? Is it [inaudible 00:19:11] and all when that might expire if it is in effect?

Barry Keller: Yeah. That’s a very good question because it happens quite often. If you’d like to give the answer. I have an answer, but you may not agree with my answers. I’d like to hear yours first.

Christopher Berry: Well, I think there’s a legal answer and a real-world answer. The legal answer is that if there are known creditors and there’s a probate estate, those known creditors have to be paid off before any assets could be distributed of beneficiaries. If there’s no assets, then basically those creditors don’t have anything necessarily to attach to. That’s the legal answer and maybe …

Barry Keller: My real answer is go to an attorney have an attorney write a letter to them and tell them it’s a zero asset estate. That means you don’t have any money and then if they want to go check with a probate court, and the estate has not been open, it’s a non-issue. If an estate has been issued, they can file a claim in the probate court and if there are any assets that are transferred, then they’re going to have a claim.

Listener: I have one more question. The estate is quiet to be able to I guess get property in your name and if there is any assets, there is [inaudible 00:20:37] I guess a quick transfer of beneficiary’s estate can be done and do you ask a lawyer for it?

Christopher Berry: Yeah. If I can restate the question. How do assets kind of pass upon death? Do you have to use a lawyer? Do you have to use in this to go through estate or probate? To answer that, there’s basically four ways that assets pass out of your name when you pass away, and the first way is through joint ownership. So, I think a previous caller mentioned how home passed from mom to sister because it was joint owners, where mom passed away, it passed to the sister. So, that’s the first way. If you have a husband and wife, joint owners on a checking account, husband passes away, it goes to the wife.

Second way would be through beneficiary designations. Maybe you have a life insurance policy. It pays out to whoever is named as a beneficiary, thereby avoiding probate. The third option would be through a trust, and there’s different types of trusts. There’s living trust. There’s asset protection trusts. But if it’s in a trust, it’s going to avoid probate. If an asset doesn’t pass through joint ownership beneficiary designation or trust, then it ends up going through probate and an estate needs to be set up.

In addition to that there’s certain exemptions. For example, with automobiles, you can go to a secretary of state with a death certificate and they’ll transfer it next to kin. That’s not something that you necessarily need an attorney for.

Barry Keller: You also have small estate division where you can handle these matters.

Christopher Berry: Right. Also, if there’s less than basically $20,000 in assets, you can do a small estate affidavit where you walk into probate court and it can be wrapped up within a day versus going through a full five-month probate estate.

Listener: You say it’s a small asset recovery?

Christopher Berry: Yeah. There’s a small estate affidavit procedure where basically you fill out a form to say that you paid off the funeral expenses of your loved one. They’ll issue a letter of authority that allow you to transfer the assets out of their name without having to go through the full five-month probate process.

Barry Keller: But you have to bring the receipts. Now, listen.

Listener: The secretary of state?

Barry Keller: Well, the secretary of state would be to transfer …

Listener: No, I was saying executor of estate.

Barry Keller: The executor of the estate would be somebody designated in a will. If you don’t have a personal representative or an executor, then you can go down there and do it on the small estate. But if you have an executor, you’re not going to be able to go down on the small estate and do it.

Listener: No. I was just designated beneficiary and I’m here because I need to be the executor of state for the properties that my mother did own that I’m paying a mortgage on.

Christopher Berry: Okay. Yeah. If your mom passed away and there’s assets that are left in her name, then most likely what has to happen is that someone, maybe you as the beneficiary, needs to petition a probate court to open up an estate. They’ll appoint you as the executor or personal representative to then have the legal authority to transfer the assets out of your deceased mother’s estate into your name.

Barry Keller: Thanks for calling. Good morning.

Listener: Good morning.

Barry Keller: How are you doing?

Listener: I’m good. How are you?

Barry Keller: Okay.

Listener: Good. I’m calling to see how can you leave grandchildren under 18 something in your will?

Christopher Berry: So, the question is how do we leave things for our grandchildren or minors under a will.

Listener: Yes.

Christopher Berry: Yeah. One of the things I’d recommend is looking at either a will or setting up a living trust, but basically what you’re doing is you’re leaving those assets in trust for minors. For example, I have young children I have a seven-year-old and a four-and-three-quarter-year-old, and my daughter won’t let anyone forget the four-and-three-quarter-part. God forbid, myself and my wife pass away, we don’t want that going out right to those young children because they’d spend that money on Legos, which I think would be kind of fun, but probably not the best use of the money.

Instead, what we’ve done is we’ve set it up so that the assets don’t go directly to those minor children, but instead they’re held in trust. So, think of it kind of like a suitcase. Instead of giving the assets directly to those young grandchildren, you put these assets into a suitcase, whether it’s a living trust or a testamentary trust that springs into being out of probate, and you hand that suitcase to someone else that you’ve appointed as a trustee, and they’ll manage the money for the benefit of those young grandchildren. That could be a family member. That could be their parents. That could be any one of your choice.

Barry Keller: Thank you. Good morning.

Listener: Yes. Good morning.

Barry Keller: How are you doing?

Listener: Hello? Yes. Okay. Let’s say if you have four children and you leave all of them in your will, can two of the kids retrieve everything you have to leave the other two kids out?

Christopher Berry: Yes. The question is you put together a will that says it’s supposed to be split four ways and then can two of those kids just take everything and cut out the other two children? Yes. The answer that would be legally no. Also, one of the things that you could build into your will is what’s called a no-contest clause. This is something that we build into our wills and trusts so that if one of the kids were to kind of challenge this and, for example, in your situation if two of the kids were to try to take all the money and leaving two other two kids kind of in a lurch, they could be stricken from receiving anything at the end of the day.

What those two children that are in the right where they’re trying to have kind of their share taken away from them, what they would have to do is petition the court to basically stop that. Then, if there’s a no-contest provision inside of that trust or will, then those two kind of bad actor children would not receive anything at the end of the day.

Barry Keller: Now I think you’ve just brought up an important subject though. Let’s say one of those children had special needs. How do you handle that?

Christopher Berry: Well, yeah, if one of the children have special needs or receiving governmental benefits that we don’t want to disqualify them for, then it’s very important that we plan for this ahead of time. What we would do is build in a supplemental needs trust or special needs trust in the trust or will that the mom or dad is setting up. That gets around that situation of if you do have a child that has special needs in the past we saw them disinherited a lot of times, and you don’t need to do that. All you need to do is build in the special needs language inside the trust so that you don’t disinherit that child who may have more needs than anyone else.

Barry Keller: You have to be real particular when you do this to make sure that that child who has a special needs isn’t passed around the family so the family can siphon off the benefits at the expense of the child. I’m very serious about this.

Christopher Berry: Right. Yeah. That’s why picking that role of a trustee or the person who’s holding onto the suitcase or managing the money is so important, because they really are in a lot of control and it would be up to one of the other beneficiaries to kind of throw a flag on them to say that they’re acting badly in a situation like you just mentioned.

Barry Keller: Tell our listeners how to reach you and your associates, because what you’re doing is really important. You’re fielding a lot of questions this morning. You’re opening minds up so people understand what they have to do, and I want them to be able to reach out to you.

Christopher Berry: Sure. Yeah, you can give our office a call anytime at 888-390-4360, or you can reach out to us online, ask us any questions, by going to MichiganEstatePlanning.com. And there’s a box where if you do have any questions you can fill out that questionnaire and we’ll get back to you.

Barry Keller: Now you brought a couple books along with you today.

Christopher Berry: Sure.

Barry Keller: The first one piqued my interest. It’s called Tax Free Money. We’ll all take that.

Christopher Berry: Yeah. Well, continuing on, it’s actually called Tax Free Money for Long Term Care. What it is, is a book that I co-wrote with a colleague of mine out of St. Louis, where a lot of my clients are concerned about long-term care costs in the future. So, we go over different ways that they can help pay that cost of long-term care whether it’s home care, assisted living, or nursing home care, and in addition receive tax-free money whether it’s from the VA benefit or from asset-based long-term care strategies to help pay that devastating cost of long-term care.

Barry Keller: Well, long-term care is going to become a way of life in this country, because President Trump is going to completely annihilate Obamacare. So, if someone gets sick you’re going to have to add a room on the house and have 24-hour attendant care in the house. That’s a fact of life, isn’t it?

Christopher Berry: Right, yeah. You couple that with the fact that again people aren’t just going from healthy to passing away. When I started my practice I started doing just straight estate planning, which is planning for death. But very quickly, I was getting calls that mom didn’t pass away, but she fell broke her hip and now needs nursing home care. So, it’s going to be a fact of life. That’s for sure.

Barry Keller: Well, my rule is prepared to live, not to die. So, in preparing to live, and long-term care is part of preparing to live.

Christopher Berry: Right. Yeah. We want to make sure that we have the best quality of life possible. So, that’s why we try to keep as many options open in terms of what our future looks like.

Barry Keller: See, one of the problems with American society today is that there are a lot of elder care facilities, senior facilities, nursing homes. A lot of people want to wash their hands of their parents when they get older. They want their money, but they don’t want their parents around because their parents have needs. But in the real world, their parents are going to be around and they’re going to be taking care of them. So, what can people do to take care of their parents so that they can stay at home? This is the right thing to do. The wrong thing to do is put them in the hands of someone who’s going to attend to them in a nursing home, look at them every four hours, if they’re lucky.

Christopher Berry: Right. Yeah. That’s why we need to understand just how this elder care or long-term care journey works, is that we only have certain ways that we can pay for it, especially if we’re trying to keep people at home as long as possible, which is always number one in terms of our goals. And there’s different things we can do where I have a lot of my families where the son or daughter, they basically put their life on hold to become a full-time caregiver for mom or dad.

One of the things that we can do, especially if mom or dad was a veteran or surviving spouse of a veteran, is we can bring in additional money from the VA to help pay even a family member to help provide care for mom or dad, where we can bring in a extra 1,000 to $2,000 a month to help pay that family caregiver. So, our goal is always to keep people in the least restrictive type of care possible. If that means living at home with assistance, then then that’s the number one goal.

Barry Keller: The goal is to keep the family unit together and the goal is when you’re doing probate is to prevent the dissension, like you started out your discussion about your cousins.

Christopher Berry: Right. Yeah. A lot of it comes down to just having a plan in place, having a plan for what happens if you age, and if you want to age in home, and then also having a plan for what happens when you pass away to make sure that you don’t cause any family disharmony.

Barry Keller: Now you brought one other book with you. I want to go over that very quickly so we know what’s going on here today.

Christopher B.: Sure. Yeah. The other book I have is a book that I had published in 2014 and it’s called the Caregiver’s Legal Guide to Planning for a Loved One with Chronic Illness. What we do in the book is we go through that whole elder care journey of what happens if you start to need assistance, whether it’s because of dementia or Alzheimer’s or just the frailties of aging.

I tell the story of a family that I worked with. Obviously, we had to change the names for attorney-client privilege, but of Bill and Judy and how Judy had been taking care of her husband, Bill, for a number of years with Alzheimer’s dementia. Then I got to the point where Judy just could not physically take care of him anymore. It walks them through the journey of discovering how the long-term care system works and how the system is broken, and how to try to use that system to make sure that Bill and Judy have the best quality of life possible.

Barry Keller: You don’t need a lot of money to do this, do you?

Christopher Berry: Well, the long-term care journey certainly can be expensive. That’s why we wrote the book to try to figure out how to get different resources to help pay for long-term care.

Barry Keller: Okay. Thanks for coming.

Christopher Berry: No. My pleasure. Thank you.

Barry Keller: Come back again, please.

Christopher Berry: Thank you.

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