Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Future Planning Part 1-Cautionery Tale

 Planning for the future.   Most of us are guilty of slacking off on this. We were no exception.

Over the years, we asked a number of times "what about bil"?  And my father in law responded "everything is taken care of".   He really didn't want to discuss it.  He didn't tell....and we didn't pursue the asking part.  Shame on us.

My father in law died 2 weeks after retiring.   He left a handwritten will and a small amount of life insurance.  (what did he do for a living?  Well, he was in the insurance industry.  So never "assume".)  He had a company pension.  But he had not taken the pension option that would have given my mother in law a survivor benefit because he wanted the higher pension while he was alive.  Too bad he didn't live to see it.

But worse:  He had never made any attempt to get bil on Medicaid.  Why?  Because he didn't believe in big government.   (As an aside, you the reader may be asking why it was so important that bil had gotten on Medicaid.  Well, he would have become eligible for quite a number of services here in our home state of NY where being on Medicaid was a requirement for eligibility.  This situation may exist in other states too, but I only know about NY.)

When we met with the local ARC, where bil had been at a sheltered workshop all those years, we found out that he was the only client at that job that wasn't on Medicaid. 

It would have helped my mother in law too, because by that time she was struggling to pay for her medications, and for his.  She and Dad had worked hard all their lives. They didn't turn down Social Security or Medicare, why was this different?

We finally got bil on Medicaid, but it took years.  And he isn't out of the woods, with all the NY budget cuts. Who know what the future will bring-because of lack of planning, and us not being assertive enough about our concerns.

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