Welcome to the conference table with Hayden and Greg, we’re talking about rain and fire, and specifically we’re looking at the situation in Gatlinburg, NC.
Sometimes things happen that are beyond our control, and we don’t know when the rain is going to come, and that’s the topic of our show today. So, when are the disasters going to come in our lives, and how could we have prevented that wild fire? How could someone with a house in that area have prevented a wild fire?
HS: I’m not an authority but doesn’t it depend on which direction the winds blowing and other factors.
GM: Well, it just happens, it’s nature, and the ground was so dry that a lightning strike or a camper’s cigarette could have started it. The point is, wild fires like this have happened before and will happen again. Many times it clears out the forest.
HS: It does revitalize the forest.
GM: Sometimes you can’t escape the inevitable, which is, you’re in the path of that big raging fire, and it’s going to happen, your house is gone. You could get insurance on your house that covers that.
HS: I have a statistic before we talk further. Last year there were 1,345,000 fires in the United States, 3280 human deaths occurred from that, and the total amount of damage incurred was 14.3 billion dollars.
GM: So, the fires are going to be there, it’s really not uncommon. When I was in the Navy, I lived out west in San Diego, there were wild fires all the time, it was just a common occurrence. These things happen, but what you can do is insure yourself to make sure that if life happens to you, you can protect your property. You can at least get your money back out of it.
I’m an elder law attorney, and I’ve seen this happen all the time, tragedy is going to strike sometimes, health issues are going to happen.
HS: Would you say tragedy, if you consider death a tragedy, which I do. In every family, it’s inevitable, which is why so many people have Wills.
GM: I was really thinking about death, that’s a progression. According to the United States Human Services report, over 70% of seniors, people over 65 years old will need some type of long term care, assisted living, in home, or nursing home care. Those are tragic statistics.
What if I said there was a 70% chance your house was going to burn down. What would you do?
HS: I would try to prepare.
GM: Those are pretty bad odds aren’t they? That’s the statistical reality. Maybe it’s because we have healthcare that helps people stay alive longer with severe illnesses. So, you should try to plan ahead, and get insurance on your house if you know there is a 70% chance it’s going to burn down. There’s long term care insurance. We work with insurance providers who work with seniors who do a great job of providing insurance services.
We talk a lot about this in ‘Saving the Farm’. We talk about long term care insurance in the book and other strategic legal ways to plan. You’re planning, building that concrete wall around your house to protect it. A Ladybird Deed is a perfect example, because it protects the home immediately and passes it to your loved ones and takes it off the table for long term care or tragic health care planning. General Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, Living Wills, and Wills, those foundational documents. What that says is, when the fire comes, you will have someone to take over and run the show doing personal business or healthcare decisions that need to be made quickly.
You think you need to make decisions quickly when trying to protect the house from wild fire?
HS: Oh yes.
GM: You need to appoint a fireman right? Because when you’re getting out of there, you want the fireman to come in and put out the fires and keep the house safe. So that’s the same thing with your General Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, Living Wills, and Wills, you appoint the appropriate fireman in your life. That person comes in and fights those fires when you are not in a position to do so.
If I get ill, and I do try my best not to get ill, but sometimes there comes a point when I just want to lay in bed for 24 hours. I don’t feel like paying the bills, I don’t feel like making decisions at all, I’m just want to sleep. So, there are things you can do to help avoid the fires in your life, or help deal with the fires when they come.
HS: I don’t think you can assume there is not going to be a fire.
GM: Hope for the best, plan for the worst. There are things you can put in place to help with that.
Do you want your money and property to stay in your family? What do you want to do with it? What are your goals? Do you want to use trusts to help care for grandchildren and send them to college? You want to sit down with a professional and plan. We do that every day. If you want to talk with us, gives us a call and get an evaluation. Let’s see where the fires are and how we can put them out.
HS: Our main office is in Shelby, and you can contact us on 704–259–7040. Our area is from Charlotte to Asheville in North Carolina, and if you need an attorney in South Carolina, we have an associate there that we work with.
GM: We work with attorneys all over the country. We work with a network of attorneys called Elder Council, and we do Veterans benefits nationwide.
I do want to mention, we had a fall charity drive in October and November. We went along to contribute sponsoring the Meals on Wheels Program in Cleveland County. Meals on Wheels offers food to shut-ins, who are seniors who can’t get out and have meals and things like that. Do you know how much money we raised for the meals on Wheels program? It was $2400 dollars and thank you to our clients who helped us raise that, and I cannot wait to give them the check. We are going to add $600 dollars to that so it will be an even $3000 dollars for the Meals on Wheels Program in Cleveland County. Thank you so much for contributing to that effort.
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street
Shelby, NC 28150