Archive for July, 2020

Seniors and Driving: When Is It Time To Give Up The Car Keys?

Monday, July 27th, 2020

Knowing when to stop driving as a senior is rarely easy. For many, driving represents independence, mobility and socialization. Giving it up is difficult to imagine. For some, the logistics of no longer being able to drive seem impossible to manage. Data shows that older drivers do pose a real risk to themselves and others on the road so it is crucial to know how to recognize signs that it could be time to stop.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, the risk of being involved in a fatal accident begins to increase at age 70 and reaches its peak after age 85. Senior drivers are the second most likely group to be killed in an accident, only behind new teenage drivers. Although the risk of an accident clearly increases with age, it is not age alone that makes an unsafe driver. Physical health and mental clarity are essential to safely operating a vehicle and these things decrease with age for many.

Health conditions, prescription medications, hearing and vision loss, and other physical issues that affect driving are common among seniors. These could all be reasons to stop driving. If health is a concern, a physician may recommend or order that a senior surrender their license.

Some other warning signs that could indicate the time to stop driving is near:

  • Being involved in fender benders, accidents or close calls
  • Finding scrapes or dents on the car
  • Receiving traffic tickets
  • Getting lost
  • Decreasing reflexes and slower response times
  • Being more easily distracted
  • Driving too slow or too fast
  • Becoming flustered or nervous while drivingLittman Krooks Elder Law
  • Having difficulty merging into traffic, changing lanes, passing, etc.

If a loved one is beginning to exhibit any of these or other warning signs behind the wheel, it is likely time to do some serious consideration of whether or not it is safe to continue driving. You may notice that friends and family members begin to talk or joke about your loved one’s driving. If you are not able to observe their driving for yourself, it can help to enlist others who can watch for any signs.

This conversation is never an easy one to start and the suggestion to quit driving may not be well received. However, the lives of your loved one and others on the road could depend on having it. Understanding how much will change for your loved one by giving up driving and approaching the topic with sensitivity will go a long way to getting the message across.

When the situation is particularly dangerous or your loved one refuses to stop, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has resources available to help.

New York seniors have unique needs that are best served by attorneys who have extensive knowledge and experience in the area of elder law. At Littman Krooks, we have assembled an experienced team of New York elder law attorneys to help our aging clients and their families more easily deal with the legal issues they face, including estate planning, Medicaid planning, nursing home planning, guardianship, and estate administration and litigation. To learn more about how we can help, call 212-490-2020, or visit us online at

What Happens to the Family House?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

As if the death of parents is not hard enough, deciding what to do with their home often adds extra layers of complication.

In most cases there are three options to consider. You can sell the house, you can live in the house yourself or you can make the house an investment property and rent it out to others. Each has its own benefits and disadvantages but the best option for you should become clear after careful consideration.

Selling the House

This is the most common option, and under the best of circumstances offers a clean and profitable way out from under the parents’ house. Unfortunately, selling an inherited house can just as easily be difficult, stressful, drawn out and complicated by emotions and disagreements between siblings.

When selling, it is best to consult with an experienced local real estate agent as soon as possible. They will be able to advise on how the property would best be improved to sell quickly (such as which repairs to make before listing and when to leave something as it) and will give a realistic listing price based on comparable properties. There are also quick-sale companies that buy properties for less than market value but require no improvements or cleaning.

Renting the House

Making your inherited house an income property can be a smart move. You can keep your parents’ home and cover the costs associated with it and hopefully then some. The downside to renting your properties, however, is that you have to rent properties. Being a landlord can be a major hassle and potential problems are endless.

Moving In

This is a good choice for those who like the idea of living in the family home. If the property is not under mortgage it can be financially beneficial too, as long as other costs are taken into consideration, like monthly utilities and property taxes. If there are siblings who also have a stake in the house, you will likely need to buy out their shares. An attorney can advise on how this should be done.

Depending on the state of the home and your parents’ taste in decor, you could need to do some significant repairing and updating. This gets expensive, especially when added to the other costs that will inevitably come up, but the end result can be a home that is your own perfect mix of sentimental and updated.

Planning Is Key

Littman Krooks Elder LawHopefully, your parents already consulted an estate planning attorney, had a will and everyone involved in the estate was aware of the intended plan. The importance of planning ahead cannot be overstated; it can be the difference between a bitter, stressful ordeal and a relatively painless transition.

If you have not already and the option is still available, start a conversation with your parents as soon as you can. Disagreements between siblings, heavy emotions and a lifetime of accumulated stuff to contend with are extremely common when managing parents’ estate and can be traumatic. A little preparation goes a long way toward reducing at least some of the stress involved with inheriting a house.

The New York estate planning law firm of Littman Krooks, LLP combines extensive legal knowledge and experience with individual attention suited to each clients’ needs. For over 25 years, Littman Krooks attorneys have brought astute, honest counsel and strong, thorough representation to every client they have served. Reach Littman Krooks at