Keystone Law Firm - October 2018

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Trust Matters

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Costumes and Candy What Halloween Means to Me

Nothing makes you more nostalgic for childhood than Halloween. Back in those days, kids had to be strategic with their trick-or-treating. We didn’t have GPS or cellphones to help us navigate from place to place, and our parents weren’t exactly willing to drive us to the most well-to- do neighborhoods. I spent more time planning my route than I spent planning my outfit. In fact, my most memorable costume from my childhood wasn’t even used for Halloween, but for the day after. When I was young, my family used to celebrate All Saints’ Day rather than Halloween. I was too little to remember if we followed all the traditions or not, but one thing we did was dress up as different saints. One year, when I was 6 or 7, I went as St. Francis, a mustached man and also my namesake. I don’t know where in the scriptures it says that the patron saint of nature had a big mustache, but someone in the family got the idea of painting one on me.

candy is still fun for them, but

they have little intention of eating it. Let’s just say complimentary bowls of candy will be available at our office by the time November rolls around.

“I never imagined when I was younger that Halloween could be even more magical as a parent than as a child.”

The adults in our family aren’t left out of the fun. We have an aunt who lives nearby, and she started bringing her golf cart to the festivities. That way, we parents can cruise along and chat while keeping an eye on the kids. Sometimes we’ll even ferry them between neighborhoods. I never imagined when I was younger that Halloween could be even more magical as a parent than as a child. But getting to experience the holiday through my children’s eyes has been an absolute blast. More than candy or costumes, it’s a day for having fun and creating memories with your family. I can’t wait to see what costumes the kids come up with this year.

None of my subsequent Halloween costumes got nearly as many laughs as my St. Francis ‘stache, but that was okay with me. I was far more interested in filling my pillowcase with candy than wowing people with my costume. I used to think I was the master at trick-or-treating until I met my nephew. If you think using a pillowcase sounds like a bit much, you should know that my nephew had the inspired idea of using a garbage bag! There was no way he was going to eat all the candy he managed to collect, but I have to say I admire his enthusiasm. As for my own kids, they’re sort of the inverse of me. They aren’t much for sweets, and Halloween is more about the fun of getting dressed up. One year, they went as zombies, with fake blood and gruesome face paint. It was strangely cute and creepy at the same time. Getting

From our family to yours, have a safe and happy Halloween!



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The Real Cost of Assisted Living


A ccording to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of seniors is growing. Projections indicate that 56 million seniors will inhabit the country by 2020 and 74 million by 2030. As the number of seniors increases, so does the need for senior living facilities. While you can still find plenty of traditional nursing homes, assisted living facilities have soared in popularity over the years. While this type of community has many benefits for seniors and their families, it can be difficult to parse exactly what you’ll be paying for. The pricing structure and contract details require careful consideration before you decide on an appropriate facility for your loved one. Prices for assisted living facilities vary significantly. Because they offer a slew of services, you need to be fully aware of what you’re paying for. The base price you are quoted will usually include rent, meals, and activities offered on the premises. Some companies may offer a few additional basic services included in this cost, but as a rule, you can expect that any extra services will increase the price. Beware the Dead Plans Our firm gets called in to deal with nightmare situations all the time. Someone’s assets have gotten tangled up in an ugly probate dispute, and we’re brought in at the last minute to sort out the mess. Are these outside cases so tough because the deceased didn’t have a will or trust? No. The messiest probate cases often stem from a plan that didn’t fit an individual’s goals. This is the scariest trend in estate planning: firms offering bottom-dollar wills that only serve to give people a false sense of security. These one-size-fits-all plans are pumped out by large online firms and estate planners fresh out of law school looking to build a large client list quickly. While it’s good short-term business for these companies, the results can be catastrophic for the families they are supposed to help. Wills that are too generic, broad in scope, or out-of-date end up creating more disputes in probate, not less. Sorting out the ownership of cherished heirlooms and valuable property should not be ignored. No matter what your income bracket or estate planning goals are, you need a plan that fits your assets and your family’s needs. Beyond just having a specific plan, you need to also have the assurance it will be implemented correctly. Estate planning is one of the few areas of law where some firms will leave you alone in completing this critical step. Our team here at Keystone believes in actually using our law school education. We wouldn’t expect your family to know how to implement these complex legal documents; that’s what we’re here for. Add-ons for assisted living services can range from basic hygiene needs to medical costs. If your loved one needs help dressing, you can expect an

additional fee. The same goes for medication reminders, escorts to meals, incontinence care, and many other services. On-site

activities are usually folded into the base rate, but be sure of that before signing. Access to a gym, pool, or pharmacy, for example, may incur extra charges. One advantage of the pricing model of assisted living facilities is that you can add services at any time. Many care facilities house seniors of varying health and ability levels. In the event that your loved one needs more services, they are easy to add to your payment package. However, it’s important that you read the terms and conditions detailing any services you decide to include. Otherwise, you may end up paying for a service your loved one doesn’t need. The most important piece of advice when it comes to the hidden costs of assisted living is to read your contract thoroughly. You can also consult an estate planning or elder law attorney to ensure that you’re fully aware of all charges and possible future costs.


So if you were to ask us what keeps us up at night, it’s the countless people being misled by plans that do more harm than good. If you have not updated your will or are curious

about the advantages of a living trust, give us a call. We’ll work to understand your unique needs and goals and help you craft a plan that you and your family can be proud of.

(480) 418-1776 2






‘Headless’ Apples on Horseback

No one likes to think about developing dementia. It’s not a pleasant or predicable condition to anticipate, but for millions of American seniors, it is a fact of life and needs to be accounted for in any serious estate plan. The health care costs of life with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders can be an enormous drain on you and your family’s personal and financial well-being. It’s best to know the facts about

A take on the classic “devils on horseback” hors d’oeuvres, this recipe

dementia and plan ahead. Dementia Costs

requires only three ingredients. These little bundles of flavor are the perfect finger food for your next get-together.

The kind of sustained, intensive care it takes to keep someone with dementia living a happy and healthy life can be astronomically expensive. Here in Maricopa County, it’s not uncommon for long-term care associated with dementia to reach upward of $7,100 a month. With such high costs, families can feel trapped between sinking into debt and getting their aging relative the care they need. Medicare Won’t Help Making matters worse, long-term care for dementia is not covered under standard Medicare plans. This means that the average retiree has little or no insurance support should dementia set in. There is an avenue to get coverage, but it requires being proactive to ensure your future. Medicaid Can Medicaid does offer long-term care coverage and can be a huge pillar of support for you and your family in a time of need. Medicaid is often seen as being solely for the destitute, but this is a harmful myth. Anyone whose asset allocations meet the requirements for Medicaid can qualify. You do not have to lose everything to ensure you have quality care well into old age. Planning for dementia and the long-term care associated with it takes careful planning and a deep understanding of state and federal laws. If you have a history of Alzheimer’s in your family or simply want to do all you can to protect your legacy, please consider giving our estate planning experts a call.


16 very thin slices of pancetta (or cured, unsmoked bacon)

3 ounces manchego cheese, 1/4 inch thick

Toothpicks for skewering

2 pink lady apples


1. Core apples and cut each into 8 wedges. Remove rind of manchego cheese and cut into 2-inch sticks. 2. Heat a grill pan or skillet to medium-high. 3. On a cutting board, lay pancetta or bacon slices flat and place an apple wedge and piece of cheese in the center of each. 4. Roll pancetta tightly and skewer with toothpick. 5. Grill until cheese is melted and pancetta or bacon is golden and crispy, about 5 minutes. 6. Drain excess grease on a paper towel and serve hot.

Inspired by Food & Wine magazine.


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Why There Are Kids on Your PorchAsking for Candy


As Halloween looms and you load up your grocery cart with candy, you may ask yourself, “Why do I provide these spooky gremlins with a sugar high every Oct. 31, anyway?” Well, when your doorbell starts ringing around 6 p.m. this All Hallows’ Eve, you can thank the Celts for this tradition of candy and costumes. Halloween itself is a kind of mishmash of four different cultural festivals of old: two Roman fêtes, which commemorated the dead and the goddess of fruit and trees (not at the same time); the Celtic Samuin or Samhain, a new year’s party thrown at the end of our summer; and the Catholic All Saint’s Day, designed to replace Samuin and divorce it from its pagan origins. Long before there were young’uns on your porch dressed as Thanos with candy-filled pillowcases in hand, the Celts believed that Samuin marked an overlapping of the realms of the living and the dead. To trick the spirits leaking into our world, young men donned flowing white costumes and black masks — a great disguise when ghosts were about. The Catholic Church was never a big fan of these pagan traditions, so they renamed it “All Saints’ Day” and gussied it up in religious garb. By the 11th century, people were dressing up as saints, angels, and

the occasional demon instead of spirits. Eventually, costumed children

started tearing through town

begging for food and money and singing a song or prayer in return — a practice called “souling.”

But when did they start dressing up as Minions? Starting in the 19th century, souling turned to

“guising,” which gave way to trick-or-treating in mid-20th-century America, and the costumes diversified. So put on some clown makeup and a big smile, scoop up a handful of sweets, and scare the living daylights out of ‘em — ‘tis the season!

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