Improving lives through sound financial planning.

In this episode of From the Orange Couch, Robert W. Tull, Jr., CEO & President of Tull Financial Group discusses simple strategies for protecting the finances of older adults who may be contending with cognitive or capacity issues.

Robin touches on how best to plan for our older years by addressing these questions:

  • What types of planning are necessary? What does estate planning mean?
  • What are some signs to look for in someone who may have diminished capacity?
  • What is the importance of having a Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney or Medical Directive?
  • What is a Trusted Contact? How does having one protect me?

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Thanks for watching and stay tuned for the next segment!


Hello! I’m Ashley Albertson, your Client Services Manager here at Tull Financial Group and the host of today’s series, From the Orange Couch, where we’re talking about planning for aging. I have joining me today Robin Tull, our CEO and Founder of Tull Financial Group, with more than 35 years of experience as a Certified Financial Planner professional.

0:20 | Question #1: What is estate planning?

Ashley: Robin, as a Certified Financial Planner, we speak with people who are concerned about family members or friends with cognitive issues. We’re all going to age at some point, so talk about the best ways to do that. Estate planning – I know you talk about it a lot. What does it mean?

Robin: Ashley, the average age of our clients is 67 – something like that, late 60s – and so we’ve dealt in this particular area for many, many years and we’re very familiar with it. It’s important to have an estate plan. It means getting things in order, leaving a legacy, writing on a piece of paper how you want things left if something happens to you because of incapacity or death. That’s really the most important thing, I think, just making sure you have an estate plan.

Ashley: Family conflict, we don’t want that. That is something to avoid, if possible.

1:14 | Question #2: What are some signs to look for in someone with diminished capacity?

Ashley: Speaking of incapacity, what are some signs you can look for with diminished capacity in someone?

Robin: I think the thing you’re looking at here is if there’s memory loss, lack of personal care, or if decision making has been a little altered. These are the things that you might see. Now, everybody has a bad day, but if you see a consistency in this particular area, then you need to get with your estate planning attorney and financial advisor and start working through this in advance. That’s the key: doing it before these things happen.

1:57 | Question #3: What is the difference between a will, power of attorney, and medical directive?

Ashley: Right. You talk a lot about the last will and testament. I’ve also heard you talking about power of attorney and medical directive. What exactly do these do?

Robin: The last will and testament is something that everybody should have because if you don’t have it, the state of Virginia, where I live, has one for you. You don’t want that. The other areas that we look at are a financial power of attorney and the healthcare medical directive. Those are two things that are very important. They are activated while you’re living but may be incapacitated. The financial power of attorney means somebody is paying your bills on a day-to-day basis. The healthcare power of attorney is where, if you’re not able to do something related to your healthcare, you’re designating somebody else to do that for you.

2:45 | Question #4: How should you select a person to serve as your power of attorney?

Ashley: I can see why that’s important, and also selecting that person is important. Then, how does it work?

Robin: How it works is if you have a medical condition and you’re not able to communicate what you want done, then that document says who acts on your behalf. It’s very important, Ashley, that the person is a trusted person – somebody who will act with your best interest in mind.

3:14 | Question #5: How do you plan for possible health concerns in the future?

Ashley: A lot of pressure. What would you suggest as far as planning for possible health concerns in the future? How do you plan for that?

Robin: I think the thing that gets concerning is if a person doesn’t have an estate plan in place. Undue influence can occur. Meaning, if they don’t have a good relationship with their family, friends, or children, then what may happen is undue influence. This occurred in my family, where I had an aunt who was never married and didn’t have children. Then someone came along and began directing her in a way that she shouldn’t have gone. Had she had a better plan in place, those things could have been corrected.

3:56 | Question #6: When do trusted contacts come into play?

Ashley: That is a really good example. This is where trusted contacts come into play. Here at Tull Financial Group, we want you to have a trusted contact on file, and that person is who we could reach out to should there be signs of undue influence, correct?

Robin: One of the things we implemented a few years ago was having this trusted contact, so if we can’t get a hold of a client or if we’re noticing some issues, we have somebody to reach out to. It’s so important to have that, and it’s in addition to estate planning documents. If you’re seeing something like this occurring with a family member or friend, you want to be able to reach out to a team. The team might be the attorney, CPA, or financial advisor. That’s what I always want to say: have that done in advance before an event occurs.

4:28 | Closing

Ashley: Yes, it’s a lot to think about. Someone who has a lot of experience in this area is Amy Pucci. She is our Certified Senior Advisor, and she loves to answer these senior planning questions.

Robin: She specializes in Social Security and Medicare and works with a lot of people in this particular area. I know she’s planning to have a workshop to talk about some of these senior issues, so look for that. Also, I think she’s going to join us on the Orange Couch coming up soon.
Ashley: Looking forward to it. If there’s any other questions that you have, as always, please just reach out to us. Thank you.

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