Eddy & Schein is committed to Life Keeping not just bookkeeping. We provide management and coordination of personal, financial, legal and health insurance matters for seniors.
431 E. 118th St. #1
After receiving his M.B.A. from Columbia University, Gideon Y. Schein worked as a consultant for national and international corporate clients, developing long-range plans as well as market segment analysis. Mr. Schein also has extensive experience working with not-for-profit arts organizations in both management and creative roles.
For the past ten years, he has also worked as a financial service consultant for individual senior citizens. Working to reduce the stain seniors often feel when confronted with today’s high-tech high-speed world.
Terminating Household Employees Tips
Ideally, the dynamics between home employees, clients, and any other caregivers is amicable and beneficial to everyone involved. Unfortunately, there are situations where this is not the case.
Through the terminations for cause of two home health aides, we have learned what procedures are required by law, as well as steps to make the process as efficient and trouble-free as possible.
Clients may be reluctant to fire employees, even when they don’t like them and/or are fully aware that the employee is taking advantage of them. The client may also resist termination because of a strong personal bond with the employee or excessive attachment due to loneliness or diminishing cognitive function.
If the client still has sufficient capacity, (s)he needs to agree to the termination. In one case, this took weeks of gentle coaxing by family, attorney, friends and us. Be prepared for a battle.
If the client no longer has the capacity to make decisions, the termination decision can be made by a family member or POA.
The Importance of Planning
An attorney once told us about an employee who was fired at the client’s home, threw herself on the floor, put a hammerlock around one leg of the family’s grand piano, and could only be removed by a team of police officers twelve hours later.
Because of the potential for further grief, our guiding principle is to make the termination as clean and clear-cut as possible with no opportunity for further contact between the client and employee.
The termination should be planned to achieve the following while conforming to state employment laws and regulations:
Least opportunity for the client to reverse the termination and rehire the employee.
Least opportunity for the employee to (i) seek re-employment, (ii) sue, or (iii) take advantage of the client in any way.
Based on our experience, here is a list (link to tipsheet) of the steps we have taken to ensure optimal results.
Legal Requirements: In New York State, employers are required to provide a written letter of termination within five days of the termination date. Be sure to research what laws apply in your state regarding termination. The termination letter can be signed and sent by either the employer or by the employer’s POA.
It is advisable to inform the employee in the termination letter of possible unemployment compensation for which they may qualify. The letter can also spell out the terms of any severance pay as well as requirements to qualify for such pay, including releasing the employer from all claims and damages and agreeing to abstain from attempts to contact or visit the employer.
Preparing to work with Trusts and Estates Attorneys
A trusts & estates (T&E) attorney is an important individual to have on your team of professionals, especially:
when preparing and/or updating legal documents, such as a will, power of attorney, and healthcare proxy; or
if you are acting as an executor for an estate.
Working with a T&E attorney is an opportunity to plan for the future—financially and legally—at a time when matters are not pressing. Collaborating with your attorney and financial advisor will help you create a more secure future for yourself and your beneficiaries.
When meeting with a T&E attorney, it is important to come prepared, so the time is used to focus on your situation, your needs, and your questions. Some attorneys may ask you to fill out a questionnaire and/or send documents associated with your case ahead of the meeting. If yours doesn't, you can take the initiative to do so in advance.
Whether writing your first will or updating it, gather as much of the pertinent information as possible to ensure that your will covers all aspects of your estate (see our tipsheet here). Also, don't forget your digital estate.
Similarly, making sure that your other important documents are up-to-date requires forethought. For your power of attorney, identifying the most trustworthy and responsible person you know is a priority; and it’s best if they are also good with details and finances. It is also crucial to consider someone who would be a good choice as a backup if, for some reason, your designee is unavailable. When deciding on the nature of your power of attorney, be sure to consider what powers they might need should your circumstances change.
For your health care proxy, pick the person who would best understand your wishes, can communicate well with medical professionals, and would be a strong advocate in the event you cannot advocate for yourself. Be sure to choose a second person as back up.
For more information on health care proxies and the different types of power of attorney, see our previous blog here.
Acting As Executor of An Estate:
If you are designated, you are responsible for making sure the wishes of the deceased—as expressed in the will—are carried out in accordance with the law.
Depending on your time and attention-to-detail, you can choose to do as much or as little of the work as you wish, but having an attorney to guide you and step in as needed is always a good idea, no matter the size of the estate. If dealing with a small or more straightforward estate, with no debts and bequests, you may be able to do the work yourself. If an estate is more complicated, is large enough to require estate tax filings, or may be contested, you would do well to have an attorney take the lead.
It is up to you whether or not to work with the attorney who drafted the will, but you may choose to do so if he/she knew the deceased’s wishes and affairs well (see our tipsheet here).
Besides working with the attorney, you may find it beneficial to hire a daily money manager (DMM). As specialists in financial administration and document organization, they can help collect and prepare materials for legal documents or manage the day-to-day affairs of the estate.