By Dennis Sullivan & Associates
Our team had a recent COVID-19 real world experience with our client, “Mrs. Cronin,” a member of our Lifetime & Legacy Protection Program.
Mrs. Cronin was a longtime client. She and her late husband, Mr. Cronin, attended a free discovery seminar we held more than 20 years ago with the AARP Legal Services Network. We helped the Cronins establish their estate plan and they kept it up to date with their membership in the legacy and lifetime protection program at Dennis Sullivan & Associates.
We are detail oriented as an estate planning and elder law firm, so it was a pleasure to work with a like-minded client. Mrs. Cronin kept impeccable records and thought deeply about what actions she would want taken on her behalf if one day she were incapacitated.
Mr. Cronin passed away in his 80s, and Mrs. Cronin eventually had to go to a nursing home at age 93. We kept in touch with Mrs. Cronin, visiting her to update her plan in the nursing home and staying in touch with her nearest relatives.
Fortunately, we were in touch with Mrs. Cronin’s next of kin in connection with long term, life care planning services for this long-time client and Lifetime & Legacy Protection member. We were tipped off to the problem when we learned that Mrs. Cronin was having difficulties paying some bills for real estate taxes, the nursing home, and insurance. We knew the Cronins had saved their entire lives, so it wasn’t a lack of funds, but rather her declining capacity. Upon learning of Mrs. Cronin’s difficulties, we immediately obtained the Health Care Proxy/Living Will, HIPAA Authorization, and other health and disability life planning documentation in early April from our secure digital platform. Because of COVID-19, we began to investigate in order to determine her health and medical needs and ensure her wishes were being met. Although it took considerable effort and coordination, we were able to coordinate services on Mrs. Cronin’s behalf.
Believe it or not, we were rebuffed by nursing home personnel numerous times, including having phones hung up and missed scheduled appointments with nursing home staff and leadership. During this time, Mrs. Cronin was locked in her room due to the COVID-19 restrictions at the nursing home.
Hard work and Mrs. Cronin’s diligence and dedication pays off
Communication challenges abounded due to COVID-19, as the nursing home and financial institutions both restricted in person access. We encountered communication challenges with the financial institutions as we worked with the various levels of responsibility at the bank in order to ensure Mrs. Cronin’s income taxes, real estate taxes, home insurance, and nursing home bills were paid.
Despite numerous challenges encountered, we were able to work with the bank regarding Mrs. Cronin’s Trust and the Power of Attorney, as well as the attending physician, eventually, at the nursing home. Persistence, passion, perseverance, compassion, care and commitment by our team prevailed and eventually all of Mrs. Cronin’s goals and objectives (financial, health, and taxes), as well as her choices for health care were honored. She was even successful avoiding the time delay and the potential cost of two probate court proceedings (one for disability and one after death).
Our main responsibilities were met on behalf of Mrs. Cronin
We accomplished Mrs. Cronin’s efforts to exercise her legal rights to retain control of not only financial decisions, but also health decisions regarding end-of-life treatment made by trusted individuals, rather than having to go to court. Disability court proceedings are long and expensive and result in ongoing court involvement, expenses, and can mean unmet health and financial objectives.
Initially, we anticipated there would be cooperation with the nursing home and the bank, but were surprised at the time it took (6 weeks!) to establish connection and working relationships because of the levels of bureaucracy, which was especially troubling for the family. Most importantly for Mrs. Cronin, her Health Care Proxy and Living Will was explained to her attending physician. This was accomplished by an Aging Life Coordinator that we have known for years, who we engaged on Mrs. Cronin’s behalf. Our team is thankful we were there for her and that she had the right plan in place to protect her. As a result, Mrs. Cronin’s legally binding healthcare wishes were honored. Could you imagine if her care was left up to the state, courts, and nursing home? Our team ensured that Mrs. Cronin’s choices were written into her documents, honoring that no unwanted extreme end of life measures were taken when the time came that she was at the end of life. We and her family were relieved that these goals were met.
Mrs. Cronin’s final wishes on legal and health care matters with the nursing home and the attending physician, as well as her financial institutions, were met. Despite the obstacles that surfaced with financial institutions and the nursing home, Mrs. Cronin’s legally expressed rights and wishes were honored in full! Needless to say, our team feels fortunate that we were able to provide essential services for a client who thankfully obtained the valuable benefits, protection and our team’s commitment to take action and honor her wishes on her behalf.
We are a compassionate, understanding and committed team that is dedicated to the community and families we serve, and in helping others understand their options at this difficult time. We feel blessed that we are able to help the Cronin family and others to safeguard what matters most to them. With our 19-point Trust, Health, Life, Disability and Estate Planning Guide, families know EXACTLY what they need to protect their health, home, spouse, family, property, legacy, and life savings. If you or a family member had to endure a situation like Mrs. Cronin, wouldn’t you prefer to have “T’s” crossed and “I’s” dotted, so that you and your family are in control rather than the government, health care and nursing home? The alternative is by default to let the key matters be unresolved, which automatically increases the levels of stress and anxiety as well as the risk of financial ruin for families, especially in this critical time in history. Now more than ever, the important changes and updates for you and your family’s plan is exactly why families turn to us for help as they have for generations!
It’s easy: call 781-237-2815 or visit DSullivan.com to discover the right steps to take now for peace of mind and for the future as the Cronins discovered.
Because of the pandemic it has been our experience that health care documents, DNRs and MA MOLSTs need to be reviewed and updated. Could you imagine if Mrs. Cronin or anyone’s life could be saved with a ventilator during COVID-19 but outdated documents prevented that?
Mrs. Cronin’s battle with the financial institutions and nursing home changes started early in March and April of 2020 just when COVID-19 began to wreak havoc on daily life. The pandemic has shown us all how difficult common errands and tasks can become, even when we are able to do them for ourselves. Needless to say, you should look into legal, tax financial and health choices for now and in the future for you and your family.
At age 97, Mrs. Cronin lived a long, happy, healthy, productive life and was loved and well respected by all who knew her, passing away peacefully, as she wanted.
Neighbors we met with while coordinating services during her declining days and after she passed noted how nice a couple Mr. and Mrs. Cronin were, and how Mrs. Cronin welcomed many new neighbors over the years. Yes, Mrs. Cronin will be missed by all who knew her.
If you would like to learn where and why currently 90% plus of the health, life, legacy and estate plans are out of date now, plan to attend a virtual discovery session. You may qualify for $1,425 in valuable benefits to create or update your family’s plan to protect your health, home, spouse, family, legacy, and life savings. Once you understand you will even have the opportunity to schedule a virtual personal review and counseling session. Because our team’s availability is limited due to helping many long-term client families, we require virtual (online) discovery session attendance so you clearly understand not only where the problems exist in your plan, but also how to implement a plan to protect your home, spouse, family, legacy, and life savings without the need to leave your home. Call 800-964-4295 (24/7) or 781-237-2815 or register for upcoming discovery sessions at DSullivan.com.
Dennis Sullivan & Associates is a team of caring, compassionate highly trained professionals who Protect Families for Generations. You and your family will benefit from the peace of mind of knowing you have done everything you can to protect yourself and your loved ones for generations. Call now 800-964-4295 or register for a free meeting at www.DSullivan.com.