Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone's burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?
Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.
There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, "Sometime I'll try,"
But go and do something today.
‘Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love's labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.
Text and music: Will L. Thompson, 1847-1909, alt
Consider Your Trustee Carefully: It Makes a DifferenceHaving a trust is just one important piece of the puzzle when planning for your financial legacy. Another piece: your trustee.
By MICHAEL S. FARRELL | SEI Private Wealth Management
You’ve made it to a place in your estate planning where it’s been determined that setting up a trust will help accomplish the many goals you have for your family.
You’ve done extensive research and worked with your adviser to select the type of trust that best suits your needs. Whether a trust for your grandchildren or a charitable trust, it’s time now to do what some may consider the easier part of the process — choosing your trustee.
Who do you “trust” to ensure your financial legacy lives on? Do you choose someone close to you? Someone you know respects your wishes, goals and family? Or do you choose someone without a personal connection to you or your family?
Keep in mind that choosing a trustee should be considered more of a business decision and less of a personal one. Although a trust can be perfectly designed for success, the trust’s goals may not be fully carried out when a trustee lacks knowledge, dedication or objectivity.
ADVERTISEMENTPersonal Connections and Emotional InvestmentsIt’s critical to understand the trustee's fiduciary responsibilities in order to make a wise choice when selecting someone to perform the duties.
Someone who is sensitive to your motivations and your beneficiaries’ well-being doesn’t necessarily possess all the essential qualities. When thinking about a trustee’s responsibilities, you should consider more than her understanding and respect for your financial goals and values.
A trustee must also play a keen part in investment management; tax planning and filing; making appropriate distributions to beneficiaries or for their benefit; and protecting the trust’s assets. On a day-to-day basis, the trustee must review beneficiaries' requests for funds and decide when to approve or deny distributions in accordance with the trust’s terms. Making this call can be difficult and stressful for someone with a personal connection to the beneficiary.
Imagine a situation where your loved one becomes less capable of handling his financial situation. Perhaps his “friends” are a negative influence. If the trustee is someone close to the beneficiary, she may want to maintain her relationship with him and be unable to tell him “no.” Relationship dynamics may play a bigger role in the individual trustee’s decisions, as opposed to what your intent was in setting up the trust.
Multiple Trustees: Too Much Tension or the Perfect Balance?It can be difficult to choose between a personal connection and someone with many years of experience managing trusts. What if you could have both?
A corporate trustee, such as a trust company or bank trust department, provides an objective, third-party opinion solely focused on the long-term goals that you set out for your trust. A corporate trustee can serve as either the sole trustee or co-trustee of your trust. Naming a professional trustee along with a trusted friend or family member may be your answer.
In the above scenario, in which a beneficiary becomes financially irresponsible, an effective corporate trustee can employ a disciplined and unbiased approach, while also receiving the co-trustee’s direct input and personal opinion. Not only can enlisting a corporate trustee's help potentially diminish unanticipated family tension, but it also enables a sharing of fiduciary responsibilities with the co-trustee. The co-trustees must act in collaborative consultation unless the trust allows one co-trustee to act alone. It also may allow the corporate trustee to make the necessary tough decisions in this situation without doing further harm to the relationship of the personal co-trustee and beneficiary.
It is vital that you take all things into consideration when establishing the “trust.” Choosing the right trustee(s) can help ensure that not only your financial legacy and intentions will be carried out, but it will be done so professionally and objectively for your heirs’ benefit.
Michael S. Farrell is Managing Director for SEI Private Wealth Management, a business unit of SEI that provides private wealth management solutions, serving high-net-worth individuals and families.
Nova ScotiaA family's quest to find the right home for dad's 8,000 country music recordsAmanda Jackson is selling the collection it took her dad 6 decades to amass — but she won't break it upEmma Smith · CBC News · Posted: Oct 12, 2019 6:00 AM AT | Last Updated: October 12, 2019
The collection of approximately 8,000 records spans music from the '40s right up until the 2000s. (Submitted by Amanda Jackson)
Amanda Jackson's dad might have gotten carried away.
What began as a Nova Scotia teenager's modest library of 20 or so country music records grew over the next six decades to roughly 8,000.
The family of the late Murray Deal was left with one question: what to do with their dad's impressive collection?
"It was his life. It was his passion," Jackson told CBC's Mainstreet. "What our goal is, is just to find somebody that maybe doesn't have an equal passion for it like he did, but would certainly appreciate the collection and use it and listen to it."
It wasn't easy to decide to sell the eclectic collection, which contains music from as early as the '40s right up to the 2000s, Jackson said, noting her dad's favourite artist was Hank Williams. The collection also includes artists such as Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash.
Amanda Jackson is selling the collection whole. (Emma Smith/CBC)Jackson is asking for $5,000 for the entire collection and isn't willing to see it torn apart.
Deal, who grew up in Fairview, N.S., started playing music when he was a kid. By the time Jackson was born, her dad could most often be found in his music room, where he jammed with friends or recorded songs and interviews on cassette.
He hardly ever missed a chance to sing folk and gospel songs at church on Sunday.
"He taught himself how to play the guitar at a young age, and his love for the music carried right through his entire life, and basically every facet of what he did his entire life," Jackson said.
Deal died in the summer of 2018.
Jackson, who used to sing in one of her dad's bands, wouldn't call herself a musician — or even a country music fan, for that matter.
Jackson says her dad could most often be found in his music room. (Submitted by Amanda Jackson )"I think I rebelled a little bit away from the country music, but I love all music, so I think that comes from my dad," she said.
Deal's love affair with country music couldn't be contained.
Back when he was a teen buying up records, his mom, who grew up in the Depression, advised him that he probably had enough.
Jackson is glad her dad didn't listen.
"To us, it's priceless, really," she said. "The most important thing is that it goes to somebody that will love it and appreciate it."
At Va. facility where virus killed 40, doctor blames society’s willingness to ‘warehouse’ elders
Dr. James Wright, medical director at Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center, speaks at a news conference on Friday in Richmond. (Steve Helber/AP)
April 11, 2020 at 7:00 a.m. EDTRICHMOND — The doctor in charge of a Richmond-area nursing home with one of the nation's highest numbers of coronavirus deaths says society is partly to blame because of its willingness to "warehouse" the elderly in underfunded public facilities.
James Wright, medical director at Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center, was asked at a news briefing Friday what he might have done to better stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has infected 148 residents and staff, killing 40.
“If I were to do something different, I would have a nursing home that had enough staff around-the-clock, around all the time,” he said. “I would have a nursing home where everyone had private rooms. I would have a nursing home where there was greater access to the outdoors. In other words, I would have a nursing home funded by a society that puts more emphasis on treating our elders the way they should be treated.”
ADVERTISINGWright acknowledged the need to look back and consider how he and the Henrico County facility responded to the outbreak that began about a month ago. But he said the examination can’t stop there.
“It’s also important to see what we, as a society, could do differently, because this will not be the last untreatable virus to decimate our elders,” he said. “When we, as a society, see that it’s appropriate to warehouse our elders, and to put them in small spaces, to underpay their staff so that there are chronic staffing shortages — I think if we see that as an adequate treatment of our elders, then we’re going to have a bad time. We are going to see this over and over again. We all opted for this type of environment for our elders. And as a result, this virus spread through a publicly funded nursing home . . . like wildfire.”
Without improvements, he warned, “a publicly funded nursing home is a virus’s dream.”
ADWright called it “ridiculous” and “stupid” that the Washington state nursing home with the nation’s first major outbreak of the novel coronavirus faces a potential $611,000 fine for deficiencies that contributed to the spread. Forty-three deaths have been associated with that Seattle-area home, Life Care Center of Kirkland.
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Washington state nursing home faces $611,000 fine over lapses during fatal coronavirus outbreak
Wright said federal health officials should “mentor” facilities with problems and supply additional staff, not fine them.
“We need to do something different than just punish,” he said.
Canterbury temporarily lost much of its staff — to illness, fear and economic necessity — at the start of the outbreak. Many low-paid health care workers hold down jobs at multiple nursing homes. Some had to quit Canterbury because their other employers stopped accepting anyone who was pulling shifts at Canterbury.
ADWright declined to specify just how much his staff shrank but said he wound up on the front lines. “I was changing patients, cleaning beds,” he said. His wife, a palliative care doctor at an area hospital, took a week and a half of leave to volunteer at Canterbury.
“My wife was in there, much to her delight at times and much to her chagrin,” he said. “Glad I married her.”
Wright indicated that Canterbury may be turning a corner in the crisis, despite stubborn shortages in protective gear. He said about 85 infected patients were recovering well enough that they could soon resume some group activities, such as eating meals together. They will remain separated from the rest of Canterbury’s population. Thirty-five residents have tested negative.
At care facility linked to three coronavirus deaths, official says staff need more protective equipment to halt spread
Some of the 25 staff members who tested positive for the virus are back on the job. Some were ill but have recovered. Others tested positive but never showed signs of illness; those employees are working exclusively with residents with covid-19, so there is no chance of infecting those who are negative.
ADCanterbury is exploring whether it can use those workers, who are “theoretically immune” because of their prior exposure to the virus, to specialize in caring for covid-19 patients, Wright said. The facility is working with a lab to see if testing can be developed to demonstrate immunity.
“We feel like we’re the experts in treating covid-positive patients now,” he said. “It’s not a great niche to be in, but it’s the niche we’re in.”
Many people have concerns about their personal health and what would happen if they were to catch a serious disease, particularly COVID-19. You should review your documents to make sure your power of attorney, advance directive, Last Will and Testament, and trust(s) are updated.
Although many may feel the need to update their documents, I caution people about using online forms and programs. There are very specific requirements for each document as it pertains to capacity, contents, and execution.
Most document preparation services or form providers often have a disclaimer that states they (i) do not review documents or provide advice regarding the sufficiency of such documents, (ii) are not a law firm and do not perform services performed by an attorney, and (iii) that their services are not intended to be a substitute for the advice and services of an attorney. Most also state that they cannot guarantee the information and content of their documents.
The takeaway – an estate plan is more than just a set of documents, it is a financial and legal plan that utilizes documents as a tool. There is enough chaos in the world right now; your estate plan should not add to it. My virtual office is OPEN and I am meeting with clients in person (if absolutely necessary), by telephone, or by video to discuss your estate, long-term care, and financial planning needs.
Report: Cities are 'ground zero' for seniors, but lack accommodations
Oct. 29, 2019
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Subscribe NowDive Insight:The report says that many American cities aren’t doing enough to prepare for the needs of an aging population, including a failure to acknowledge "the interconnection between their aging communities and their cities’ economic health and sustainability." That, said report co-author and Center for the Future of Aging Associate Director Caroline Servat, leaves governments at risk for older Americans falling behind and neglecting policies that can help all residents.
"From local workforce policies that enable flexible work arrangements, to home sharing models that offer creative solutions to the affordability crunch in housing markets across the country, Age-Forward solutions hinge on a multigenerational approach to inform how cities grow, build, and care in the future," Servat said in an email. An Age-Forward perspective, she added, "fosters intergenerational engagement and opportunities."
There is some progress being made. Several cities have passed age-friendly strategic plans, or enacted policies aimed at housing affordability (by age 65, approximately 40% of middle-class people fall into poverty or near-poverty, according to the report). Washington, DC, for example, has permitted accessory dwelling units to allow older people to stay in small homes on family’s property and has constructed below-market-rate housing for older residents. The Gensler Research Institute has proposed a “BoomTown” model that would convert entire neighborhoods to age-friendly communities as an alternative to retirement communities.
And trends like new urbanism, complete streets and Vision Zero programs are also strategies that will help seniors, the report finds. One area that could require more attention, Servat said, is technology, as cities integrate more connected infrastructure and digital tools.
Even though such strategies can help older Americans, Servat noted that it is "critical for cities to cultivate cross-sector programs to bridge the digital literacy gap for lower-income older adults and invest in the development of open data tools to help older adults navigate tech-based challenges."
Jeff Sodoma, MPA, Esq. is a lawyer based in Virginia Beach, Virginia
Hello, there! Welcome to my blog. I will use this blog as a platform for my writing. I will write about topics in the legal world, certainly, as well as everything else under the sun, because I have many interests (and viewpoints). All views expressed in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are mine alone. One of my interests is music--my wife believes that I should go on "Beat Shazam" because I know so many songs--and I will be, from time to time, analyzing song lyrics and how they relate to the legal world.