Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Tips for Protecting Your College Student in a New Semester Through Estate Planning

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Fri, Feb 01, 2019

 

Even young people need estate planning

 

Whether your child is just beginning to receive college acceptance letters or is preparing to leave home for the upcoming semester, your child is planning ahead for his or her future. As a parent, protecting your child does not stop when he or she leaves for college. Your role in their life, however, may have changed. Once your child turns 18, he or she is considered an adult in the eyes of the law. Accordingly, your ability to help him or her with their finances or medical decisions may be limited. We know this can be a challenging and emotional time, which is why we want to share a few ways to use estate planning to protect your child when they are not with you.

The first step, and perhaps the most important one, is to talk to your child about their planning options. As a parent, it is important to express any concerns you may have about their safety and well-being. Try to remember that your child is now an adult and may be hesitant to allow you access to their bank account or medical records. Talking to them about the importance of creating planning documents, however, and sharing examples of scenarios where you would use your decision-making authority may help make this conversation easier.

After you have had this discussion with your child, we encourage you to think about your goals for your child’s protection and the types of planning documents you need. A durable power of attorney is a document that provides you with the authority to make decisions if a legal or financial situation arises while your child is away at college. This can be for simple matters, for example, if there are issues with your child’s lease or if you would like access to your child’s grades. It is important to keep in mind that if you do not have an established durable power of attorney, your child’s bank, college, or rental company is within their rights to refuse sharing your child’s information with you, even as their parent.

Finally, health care documents are a crucial part to any estate plan, particularly when it comes to your college student. If you do not have HIPAA authorization, for example, or a health care power of attorney set up, medical professionals could refuse to allow you access to your child’s medical records. Designating a health care power of attorney before your child leaves for college can help combat this issue from arising.

College is an exciting time for both you and your child. No matter where your child lives, however, accidents and unexpected situations can arise. By planning ahead and creating planning documents for your child’s protection, you can feel confident handling any circumstance that comes up. If you have any questions or are ready to begin planning, do not wait to contact our office or attend a free seminar to learn more.

 

Tags: 2019, grandchildren, heir, doctor, children, Single, college planning, New Year's Resolutions, health, Estate Planning Recommendations, living will

Have You Received Your Flu Shot Yet?

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Mon, Oct 20, 2014

Have You Received Your Flu Shot Yet?
Vaccination

You Want To Give Me A What?

Yesterday I stopped by my doctor’s office to get my yearly flu shot. I was surprised when I was asked whether I wanted a “High-Dose” shot. This was something new to me, I had never heard of a “High-Dose” shot before and I didn’t know what the difference was, so like anything the doctor wants to give me, I made him explain just what a “High-Dose” shot is and why I needed it. Since I expect that many seniors are also unfamiliar with “High-Dose” shots, I thought I would post this brief article on the subject.

Warning: I am a lawyer, not a medical professional. This post is only for informational purposes and I strongly recommend speaking to your doctor before requesting any change in you medication. 

So What Did He Say?

My doctor told me that the “High-Dose” shot is simply a more powerful version of the same flu shot that I have been getting every year. When I asked for more detail he told me to look at the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the government’s health protection agency, to see what it says about whether seniors should be getting the high-dose shot.

Here is what the CDC says: “Fluzone High-Dose vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibodies) contained in regular flu shots. The additional antigen is intended to create a stronger immune response (more antibodies) in the person getting the vaccine.”

The CDC then goes on to try to answer some of the questions older adults may have which I have re-posted below. 

Why is a higher dose vaccine available for adults 65 and older?

Human immune defenses become weaker with age, which places older people at greater risk of severe illness from influenza. Also, ageing decreases the body's ability to have a good immune response after getting influenza vaccine. A higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is supposed to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu. 

Does the higher dose vaccine produce a better immune response in adults 65 years and older?

Data from clinical trials comparing Fluzone to Fluzone High-Dose among persons aged 65 years or older indicate that a stronger immune response (i.e., higher antibody levels) occurs after vaccination with Fluzone High-Dose. Whether or not the improved immune response leads to greater protection has been the topic on ongoing research. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that the high-dose vaccine was 24.2% more effective in preventing flu in adults 65 years of age and older relative to a standard-dose vaccine. The confidence interval for this result was 9.7% to 36.5%). 

Is Fluzone High-Dose safe?

The safety profile of Fluzone High-Dose vaccine is similar to that of regular flu vaccines, although some adverse events (which are also reported after regular flu vaccines) were reported more frequently after vaccination with Fluzone High-Dose. The most common adverse events experienced during clinical studies were mild and temporary, and included pain, redness and swelling at the injection site, headache, muscle aches, fever and malaise. Most people had minimal or no adverse events after receiving the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine. 

Who can get this vaccine?

Fluzone High-Dose is approved for use in people 65 years of age and older. As with all flu vaccines, Fluzone High-Dose is not recommended for people who have had a severe reaction to the flu vaccine in the past

Does the CDC recommend one vaccine above another for people 65 and older?

The CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices have not expressed a preference for any flu vaccine indicated for people 65 and older. CDC recommends flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu.

Based on this information, I personally decided to get the high dose shot. It's covered by Medicare. 

I hope the information above helps you be better informed when you get your flu shot this year. As always we agree with the vast majority of medical professionals who think that an annual flu shot is a safe and smart thing to do. Once again though I must remind you I am not personally a medical professional and advise you to speak to your doctor before receiving any medication.

 

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we provide a unique education and counseling process which includes our unique 19 Point Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Review to help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones, click here for more information. We provide clients with a unique approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

 

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: 2014, Flu Shot, high-dose, doctor, fluzone

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