Trying to plan your North Carolina estate? Get the answers you need to protect your family.

Jackie Bedard has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions in response those who need help protecting their families with North Carolina estate plans.
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  • What is a Vision Meeting?

    A Vision Meeting is just that. It is an opportunity for you to discuss your estate planning vision and goals. It is a complimentary meeting we offer to you for attending one of our estate planning seminars! It is our way of saying ‘thank you’ for taking the time to educate yourself.

     

    What Can I Expect at my Vision Meeting?

    After attending a Carolina Family Estate Planning seminar you will learn about different planning options for you and your family. You may already have a will or a trust or you may not. You will gain insight if you old documents should be updated or reviewed. If you have old estate planning documents (will, trust, POAs), we will review them for you prior to the Vision meeting. At your Vision meeting we will let you know if they should be updated or if you should start over with new documents. Many times we see out-of-state documents that need to be updated to North Carolina standards.

     

    We will also learn about your family. We will learn about  your health and the health of your loved ones. After learning more about you, your family, and your goals, we will make a couple of estate planning recommendations to you. We will give you a chance to decide which plan you feel best suits your goals and budget.

     

    If you have prior estate planning documents, please either make a copy and send them to us or you can bring them by our office and we will make a copy for you. You may also bring them to the seminar with you. We can copy them while you attend the seminar and give them back to you before you leave.

     

    What Should I do to Prepare for my Vision Meeting?

    You will also need to complete our Estate Planning Worksheet. This will give us an overview of your current financial situation and help us determine which plan is best for you. We do not need birthdates or social security numbers, but an overall snapshot of your accounts, mortgage(s), retirement accounts, etc. We will review the worksheets in preparation for your Vision meeting in order to identify potential probate issues, income tax or estate tax concerns, or long-term care planning options. In order for us to adequately prepare for your Vision meeting, we require that your completed worksheets be returned to our office one week prior to your Vision meeting.

     

  • What documents do I need to make medical and financial decisions for my child once they turn 18?

    The three documents you need are: Advance Health Care Directive, Financial Power of Attorney, HIPAA Forms. Call our office to find out how to get these documents at 919-443-3035.

  • Is there anything I need to do before my first appointment?

    Yes. You will need to fill out and return the Estate Planning Worksheet and the Estate Planning Family Worksheet. Please be sure to return the worksheets to our office one week prior to meeting so that we can prepare for your appointment. Instructions on how to return the worksheets to us are printed on the Worksheet. Fillable PDF Worksheets can be found under the Getting Started tab on our website.

  • What is 'the sandwich generation'?

    “Get Ahead of the Curve: 1 in 10 Americans is called “sandwiched” because they’re caring for aging parents and their youngsters.  But they’re not planning ahead”
     

  • What are the major differences between Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid?

    Social Security 

    Social Security is a federal program providing retirement, disability, and survivor benefits to wage earners and their spouses, former spouses, widows, widowers and children.  Eligibility for benefits under the program are based up on the wage earner’s work history.  The amount of the monthly Social Security benefit is based upon a number of factors including the number of years worked and the amount of earnings during those years.

    Medicare

    Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides health care benefits to the following: (1) persons age 65 and older; (2) individuals with certain disabilities that are under the age of 65 years; (3) disabled children of certain wage earners; (4) individuals with permanent kidney failure. 

    There are different parts of Medicare to help cover specific services:

    Medicare Part A

    Part A provides coverage for inpatient hospital stays, limited coverage for rehabilitation in a skilled nursing facility after a hospital stay, hospice care, and some home health care. For most Medicare beneficiaries, there is no monthly premium for Part A

    Medicare Part A does not cover your full bill.  Here is what you are responsible for out-of-pocket for a hospital stay (as of 2017):
    Deductible of $1,316 for each benefit period
    Days 1-60: $0 coinsurance
    Days 61-90: $329 coinsurance per day
    Days 91+: $658 coinsurance per each "lifetime reserve day" after day 90 (up to 60 days over your lifetime)
    After lifetime reserve days have been used: All costs

    For Medicare Part A to cover skilled nursing care, you must first have a qualifying hospital stay of at least 3 days in inpatient status prior to being discharge to the skilled nursing facility for care. If you had a qualifying hospital stay before ending the skilled nursing facility, then here is what you are responsible for out-of-pocket (as of 2017):
    Days 1-20: $0 for each benefit period
    Days 21-100: $164.50 coinsurance per day of each benefit period
    Days 100+: All costs

    Common Mistake: 
    Do not make the mistake of assuming that Medicare will pay for your nursing home care. Medicare covers very little if any, of the nursing home bills of most seniors. If your nursing home stay is not preceded by a 3-day inpatient stay, then Medicare will not cover any of the nursing home bill. Even if your nursing home stay was preceded by a qualifying hospital stay, as you'll see from the figures above, coverage is for a very limited period of time.

    Medicare Part B

    Part B provides coverage for certain doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventative care. Most Medicare Part B beneficiaries pay for the Part B coverage via a monthly premium that is deducted from their monthly Social Security benefits. For 2017, the standard part B premium amount is $134. However, some will pay less than this because a cap on the premium since it increased more than the Social Security cost-of-living-adjustment, while others may pay a higher amount if they have higher income.

    For Part B, you pay a deductible of $183 per year. After you have met your deductible, then you generally will pay 20% of all Medicare-approved services covered by Part B.

    Medicare Part C

    Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage Plans, is a type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that has a contract with Medicare to provide your Medicare Part A and Part B services. Most Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription coverage. While there are certain benefits that must be included, each Medicare Advantage plan can charge different out-of-pocket costs and have different rules for you get your health care services.

    Medicare Part D

    Part D adds prescription drug coverage. To get coverage, you must join a plan run by an insurance company or a private company approved by Medicare. The plans can vary in cost and which drugs are covered.
     

    Medicaid

    Medicaid is program for low-income and needy people. It provides coverage to children, the aged, and/or disabled, and others who are eligible to receive assistance. It is derived from federal law, but is administered by the each respective state, thus the rules for North Carolina may vary a bit from rules in other states.  The program is funded by both federal and state funds.  There are various Medicaid coverage programs for different populations. The most common coverages that we see in our office are for seniors needing help with their nursing home care or individuals with special needs that need assistance.

    To read more about Medicaid coverage for nursing home care in North Carolina, check out The Ultimate Guide to Paying for Nursing Home Care in North Carolina authored by Cary elder law attorney, Jackie Bedard.

  • How much does the workshop cost? How long does it last? Do I need to bring anything?

    It is free! We think it is very important to educate our community and this is one of the many ways that we do this. Feel free to browse our free materials and information on our website or at our Learning Center while you are in our office.

     

    The workshop last two hours. Don't worry, the time flies by! You do not need to bring anything with you. We provide everything you need, plus light refreshments.

  • What's next after I attend a workshop?

    Once you have attended the workshop, our office will follow up with you to discuss your initial consultation with Jackie and see if it is appropriate to schedule an appointment to explore how we can assist you.

  • Can I bring a friend and/or family member with me to a workshop?

    Yes, of course! We encourage you to bring along anyone on your team. Due to limited seating, we just ask that you register each attendee so we can ensure enough seats for all attendees.

  • Does my spouse have to attend the workshop with me or can I just relay the information that I learn?

    There is a lot of information packed into the workshop! We find that it is difficult for clients to relay the stories and their importance once they leave our office. In the past, when we've worked with clients where only one spouse attended the workshop, we found that the non-attending spouse was at a disadvantage during the planning process and were more likely to feet a bit overwhelmed.

  • Why should I attend a workshop prior to meeting with Jackie?

    We find that when people attend a workshop before their initial meeting, it's a much less overwhelming process. Rather than Jackie trying to teach you a lot of information during the meeting, she can instead focus on helping you uncover your planning goals. We feel so strongly about workshop attendance that we waive the initial consultation fee if you attend a workshop first.