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Identifying the Influencers for the Aging and Future Generations

  • By Ruthann P. Lacey, P.C.
  • |
  • June 28, 2016

InvestmentNews Data reports that 66% of children fire their parent’s financial advisor after they receive an inheritance. This seems ironic because these same children receive the benefit of the planning that the advisors provided to their parents. What is wrong with this picture?

To work with aging individuals and never develop a relationship with their children or their other planners is a wasted opportunity. In the next 30 years a financial legacy of some 30 trillion dollars will pass from the Baby Boomers to Generation X and the Millennials.

elder abuse

Remember the old phrase in the guessing game – ‘What are you: Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief?’ Let’s identify the main influencers in your client’s life.


How do they influence planning for a client?

  • They have a close relationship with the aging individual because they address personal care needs
  • They are strong influencers with opinions highly valued by their patient, family members and caregivers
  • They serve a medical role but often call for some type of legal intervention to accomplish the medical care of the aging individual

Can they enable the Doctors and Financial Planners to better do their jobs?

  • They often have existing relationships with the client as they age
  • They often have experience with family members through the client’s accounts or personal interaction
  • They advise their client and create appropriate legal documentation for medical and financial options to be legally carried out
Wealth Builders and Financial Planners

Can they work with the Lawyers to help provide funds to finance medical care and an inheritance to the next generation?

  • Like laywers, wealth managers often have existing relationships with the client as they age
  • They often have experience with their family through client’s accounts or thru personal interaction
  • They have a role to advise their client and manage their money which has been entrusted to them for their future care needs and their desired lifestyle
Indian Chiefs

Can this be where the rubber hits the road – as far as a plan that can stand the test?

  • This group is where the white noise is really created and it gets loud for the client and their family
  • Consists of inadvertent planners – the banker adds another name to the bank account – but unbeknownst to him is that someone has a diagnosis of beginning dementia and all the legal and financial planning to protect that person’s choices and assets has just been undone
  • May be well meaning friends – a friend of a friend, golfing buddies, ladies at the club, family members around the holiday table and even Bob at the gas station. Everyone has a story they want to tell about how they did well for themselves. As these inspirational stories continue they often evolve into “advice” causing agonizing questions and nagging doubts to be raised for your client and their family about the planning options you have suggested.
Conclusion: Left Hand Must Talk to Right Hand

It is important to be aware that all these players are important influences in your client’s life as they age and become less independent. You must also be aware of the intricate interactions and potential conflicts in advice given by the planners.

A total view approach is needed so that all of the planners are on the same page and that the client and his family are aware and comfortable with that fact.

While working with aging clients and their family members can be challenging, remember that we work hard all our lives so that we and our children (enter the Gen Xers and the Millennials) can have better lives. We rely heavily on those trusted individuals that help us maintain our desired lifestyle and look forward to helping the next generation have a better life, too!

Are you just getting by or are you getting better? Get started today!

Author Bio

Ruthann Lacey is an alumna of Trinity College and Emory University School of Law, is licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia and Washington, D.C., and is a Certified Elder Law Attorney. Her practice concentrates on planning for the unique and complex concerns of the elder population, and of children and adults with special needs. Ruthann is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the Special Needs Alliance, a charter member of the Council of Advanced Practitioners, and a member of the District of Columbia Bar, the Georgia Bar Association, and the Atlanta Bar Association. Ruthann has been selected as a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2006; was named one of the Top 50 Women Attorneys in Georgia in 2007, 2009, and 2010; and was included in the “Georgia Trend” selection of Georgia’s Top Attorneys in 2012, all based on surveys of her peers. Ms. Lacey has an AV rating in Martindale-Hubbell, and was included in the 2013 Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers. Ruthann is past chair of the Elder Law Section of the Georgia Bar, serves on the Continuity of Law Practice Committee of the Georgia Bar, belongs to the Fiduciary Law Section of the Georgia Bar Association, and is a Life Fellow with the Lawyers Foundation of Georgia. She is a member of the Elder Law and Small Firm Sections of the Atlanta Bar Association. Ruthann belongs to the DeKalb Estate Planning Council, is a member of the board of Family Initiative Residences, Inc., and is actively involved with several volunteer and charitable organizations. She is a past Director of the National Elder Law Foundation. Ruthann is an active speaker on the local, state and national levels, to both professional and public groups and organizations. Recent engagements include serving as Program Chair for the fifteenth annual Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia Special Needs Trust program; presenting at the 2015 Missouri NAELA Annual Elder Law Symposium; presenting at the 2015 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association Annual Convention; presenting with the ICLE Webinar Series; presenting at the 8th Annual Utah Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Medicaid Planning 2011 program; presenting at the 9th Annual Utah Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Medicaid Planning 2012 program; presenting at the Stetson University 2011 Special Needs Trusts - The National Conference; serving as a guest Professor of Law at John Marshall Law School; serving on the faculty of Southern Trust School; presenting at the NAELA Symposium and at NAELA Fundamentals Day; facilitating at the NAELA Advanced Practitioner’s Program; presenting to the Alabama Bar Institute for Continuing Legal Education; the Tennessee Bar Association; Medicaid Irrevocable Qualified Income Trust Training; The Coca-Cola Company; the Financial Planning Association; the Cobb County Bar Association Elder Law Section; Emory University's Senior University; Delta Employees Credit Union; the People’s Law School; the Atlanta Bar Association’s Legal Eagles CLE Series; the Atlanta Special Needs Trust Discussion Group; Georgia State University; the Joint Conference on Law and Aging; the Georgia Chapter of the Huntington’s Disease Society; Church groups; Civic groups; Alzheimer’s Support Groups; and AARP Chapters. She also has been an Instructor of Estates, Trusts and Wills and Legal Research at the National Center for Paralegal Training, has drafted Elder Law legislation for submission to the Georgia General Assembly, and is an editor and published writer. Among other accomplishments, Ruthann has been published in the Georgia Bar Journal, Family Law Quarterly (a publication of the American Bar Association), Georgia Probate Notes, Exceptional Parent, Money Matters, Inside Money, Senior News, and NAELA News, edited the Medicaid chapters in A Will is Not Enough in Georgia, contributed to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Long-Term Care Planning, and The CPA’s Guide to Long-Term Care Planning, has appeared as a guest on the Clark Howard Show, the Layman’s Lawyer, Money Matters, Inside Money, People to People, Professional Review, and Atlanta Issues, has been mentioned in Consumers Digest, has been cited in Elder Care and Nursing Home Litigation in Georgia, and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Atlanta Journal - Constitution, The Family Connection, and the American Bar Association Journal.