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    Joshua and Laura Meier Newport Beach Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys Focused on Helping Families with Young Kids
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    Category Archives: Depression

    Smart Families Plan with Logic, Not Emotion

    When it comes to family, money, and death, it’s hard not to feel emotional. And while emotion can be a great motivator for helping us act, it can also cloud oupset-coupleur judgment or prevent us from making decisions that are best for ourselves or our loved ones.

    As an estate planning attorney, I have seen my fair share of emotions. That’s why I keep a tissue box in hand’s reach at my office anytime I meet with my clients. My favorite story is when I had a young couple come in to name permanent guardians for their baby and after they both logically agreed that the wife’s mother was not a suitable choice, the wife then broke down in tears and sobbed until her husband leaned over to me and said “just put her mother down as the guardian.”

    Here are 3 tips for helping you make important estate planning decisions for your family without letting emotion get in the way:

    1. Involve a Third Party. Whether it’s a counselor, an attorney, or a pastor, having an educated neutral third party present to help you talk through a decision can help temper your emotions. It’s best to use a third party who will not be personally affected by your decision, who is well-educated on the topic at hand, and can provide you real life insight on how your decision will likely play out. You’re also more likely to put on a good game face for the third-party than you would have had you made the decision with just your spouse or alone.
    2. Use an Objective Process For Making a Decision. Having objective criteria for making a decision can be tremendously helpful. When we help parents name guardians for their children, we take them through an easy three step process that helps them objectively decide on a guardian, rather than just relying on emotion. For example, we have parents identify their top three priorities when it comes to raising their kids. Then we ask them if the people they have in mind for raising their kids meet that objective criteria.
    3. Don’t Let Other People’s Feelings Influence Your Decisions. Many of our clients are so worried about hurting other people’s feelings when it comes to choosing who should serve in key roles under their estate plan. They think their oldest son will feel hurt if he is not chosen as the trustee, even if he cannot handle large sums of money. They think one sister will be devastated if the other sister is chosen as a guardian. While people’s feelings are important, they should never trump making a decision that it truly best for your children or other beneficiaries.

    Making important decisions for your family, especially ones that can be life lasting, requires the help and guidance of a trusted family attorney. Call your Newport Beach estate planning law firm today and learn how our easy process can help you make important decisions that will benefit your family for a lifetime.

    To get started on making important decisions for your estate plan, call our Client Services Director, Bonnie Johnson, at 949.718.0420 or email her at and request our free guide “How to Choose a Trustee”, or if you’re ready to get started on making decisions ask Bonnie to schedule a planning session with a Meier Law Firm attorney.

    Avoiding the (Medicare) “Doughnut Hole”

    Depressed Medicare beneficiaries in the so-called coverage doughnut hole were more likely to cut back on their antidepressants than those who had full insurance coverage, a study has found.

    Even with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – Obamacare by any other name – in place and affirmed by the Supreme Court, the costs paid and lifestyles lived by many is being tied to the “doughnut hole.” This is especially true for seniors taking depression medications.

    As recently reported in Med Page Today, a new study by Yuting Zhang, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh, Medicare may not fully cover depression medications for seniors, despite the ACA. The article is titled “Antidepressants 'Fall' Through Doughnut Hole.”

    If you are unfamiliar with the “doughnut hole” issue, you are not alone. It is the coverage gap created by Medicare Part D. For those whose income is at the lower end, there tends to be coverage. Likewise, for those who have an upper-end income, there is still coverage…with a gap in between.

    According to the new study, and sheer intuition, patients that fall within the doughnut hole are associated with a significant drop in medication use – 12% on average. That is always relevant, but perhaps especially so in the case of depression medication. While discontinuing any prescribed medication is never advisable, it is often easier to justify foregoing depression medication than other medications.

    I recommend reading the original article for more details regarding this study, should this issue be relevant to you or someone you love.

    Contact Meier Law Firm to discuss how we can help you protect everyone you love.

    Reference: Med Page Today (July 5, 2012) “Antidepressants 'Fall' Through Doughnut Hole

    Elder Depression – Preventative Assistance


    Depressed people are more likely to receive diagnoses and be treated in primary-care settings than elsewhere. Research shows that elderly people, in fact, prefer to deal with their primary-care provider on mental health issues. In that context, coverage of depression screening may help more Medicare beneficiaries get the help they need.

    As of last October, Medicare began coverage for a host of preventative services as part of the new healthcare law. One such service for the elderly is depression screening.

    This subject was recently addressed in a Kaiser Health News article, and it’s worth reading to learn more.

    The mind/body relationship is a complex one. It is hard to deny the overall health effects of depression, perhaps even more so among the elderly.  However, contrary to popular opinion, the elderly are not statistically more prone to depression than the general population.

    On the other hand, the elderly are more prone to types of system-wide health difficulties that may be exacerbated by depression. To make matters worse, people of the elder generations are generally less trusting of psychology and associate a social stigma with mental illness or any admission thereof. The combination of these two factors often, and unfortunately, complicates the lives of elderly persons and their families.

    Medicare now covers the cost of annual depression screening in primary-care settings with no cost sharing for beneficiaries. Medicare also covers 60 percent of the treatment for mental health problems, including depression. (Under a 2008 law, that figure is scheduled to rise to 80 percent in 2014.) If you or an elderly loved one may be suffering from depression, taking advantage of Medicare’s annual screening benefit may be a good idea and can greatly improve quality of life.

    Reference: The Kaiser Health News (April 3, 2012) “Medicare Now Covers Annual Screening For Depression

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