Communication is Key

Communication is Key

imagesI was recently mentioned in Chris Brocks article on the importance of communication for the Watertown Daily Times. When a spouse dies, there are unfortunately other pressing issues that coincide with grief. There is an emphasis on the legalities on next steps. In the article, Mr. Brock mentioned a few examples of individuals who testify their experiences to the unfortunate legal circumstances that occurred after losing their spouses. These experiences can fiercely open old wounds, and while some legal issues and battles are unavoidable, planning ahead and transparent communication can ease the burden. There is enough to worry about when a spouse or loved one dies. I, and other elder law and estate planning attorneys, aim to facilitate the easiest financial and legal transition after a tragedy such as this occurs.


Some important tips that Mr. Brock highlighted in his article include:


  1. Have a joint or individual bank account.


Social Security notifies the banks when individuals die. Banks will then shut down accounts of those members. If your husband or wife is the sole name on a bank account, especially with a credit card associated, you could wind up losing access to that account. Rather than having to handle that situation, it is best to have a joint or individual bank account.


  1. If youre going to use a bank safe deposit box, make it a joint titled one.


If people are storing cash or bonds in their safe deposit boxes in a bank, that can be OK. But I like to have a jointly titled safe deposit box, so at least when one spouse passes away, the other one can still access it. I am a much bigger proponent of fireproof strong boxes in the house for important documents. If a bank safe deposit box is only in the name of one individual, their spouse will not be able to access it without a court order in the tragedy of their passing.


  1. Joint vehicle titles


Can we see a trend here? In order to ease these legal battles after a spouse dies, joint ownership on titles, whether its a car, boat, trailer, etc., will prevent losing these items. Registration and insurance are not the things that are going to cause problems when you go to the DMV. Its going to be the title.


Grieving is a terribly challenging process. But planning ahead and openly communicating with your spouse or loved one will give you one less thing to worry about in times of need. If you or anyone you know has any questions or concerns or would like to schedule a free consultation, you can call or visit the Marrone Law Firm in Watertown and Syracuse, New York at (315) 728-9433.

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The Art of Aging

The Art of Aging




It seems like every time I turn on the TV some sort of anti-aging product is aggressively advertised. Whether it is an anti-aging moisturizer, an anti-aging vitamin supplement or what have you. While these products may help older generations feel young and revitalized, there is something that feels very corporate to these developments.




It feels like companies and consumers are looking for a cure to aging.


Age is more than a number. Age is experience, age is wisdom, age is lessons learned, had and felt. But to say that number does not matter would be wrong. Denying the aging process of our bodies and hiding behind skin-care and beauty products to look 20 years younger does not necessarily mean that 70-year-old you will be able to do the things you once did when you were 50. It can actually be somewhat dangerous. While our bodies may feel much younger than our actual age, if we are pushing them too far past their limits it could cause major damage.


Even more, it upholds ridiculous standards for people to follow. Aging does not have to be the dreaded process it is made out to be. And it isnt the ugly process people make it seem. To pretend that aging is avoidable would be unrealistic and that is why it is extremely frustrating that anti-aging has become the norm. We dont need to find a cure for aging! Aging can and should be appreciated as the beautiful process that it naturally is.


To feel younger is a different story. As our life expectancies increase, the desire to feel the vigor of youth is attractive. Scientists say the first person to live to be 150 years old has already been born, and if that becomes the new normal, developing strategies to feel good as we age will become of vital importance. Aging can be scary if it means feeling less than your younger self. But there are some natural ways to feel your 100% self.

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We always ask our clients what their secrets are to a long life and weve distilled many of the hilarious but impractical tips (whiskey everyday, steak three times a week) and developed these three easy steps:


1. Drink a lot of water

Drinking water is a natural way to stay hydrated and keep your body as healthy as possible. No matter what age you are, drinking more water is the first step to maintaining overall health. Drinking water can temporarily boost metabolism by 24-30%,can increase energy expenditure by about 96 calories per day and more.


2. Exercise

Getting out of bed or off the couch is an easy way to keep your body in its most functional form no matter your age. Yoga and aerobics challenge people physically and mentally and allow the mind and body to stay in its best shape. Research has shown that people who are physically active for about 7 hours a week have a 40%lower risk of dying early than those who are active for less than 30 minutes a week.


3. Stress less


Many studies show that the constant fight-or-flight physical reaction is very harmful to the human body. Practicing meditation or simple breathing exercises will keep your mind at ease and your body feeling up to par.



Aging isnt ugly. You dont need to look like you are in your 20s to feel like you are. Taking care of your body to feel healthy is the new anti-aging. Financially and emotionally investing into anti-aging beauty products is not.

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