Estate planning should be viewed in a comprehensive manner. Yes, you have to address the actions that will be taken immediately after your passing, but you should also consider end-of-life eventualities.
Incapacity Among Elders
Everyone has heard of Alzheimer’s disease, but a lot of people are surprised when they learn about its widespread nature. The Alzheimer’s Association is a good source of information about this disease, and they have stated that over 30 percent of the oldest old have contracted Alzheimer’s.
This is not the only cause of dementia, so it is safe to say that cognitive impairment is common among elders. And of course, this is not the only type of incapacity that can strike when you get up there in years.
If you do nothing to prepare for possible incapacity, the state could be petitioned to appoint a guardian to act on your behalf. There is a form of guardianship that is pursuant to health care decision-making, and the court can also appoint a guardian to manage your financial affairs.
Advance Directives for Health Care
You can take the matter into your own hands in advance to prevent an adult guardianship. When it comes to medical matters, you can assert your choices in documents called advance directives for health care.
A living will is one of these directives. You use this type of will to assert your life support preferences, and you can add your comfort care medication and organ and tissue donation choices.
To account for situations that are not related to the use of life-support, you can name an agent in a durable power of attorney for health care or health care proxy. To give the agent the ability to access your medical records, you should include a HIPAA release.
Financial Decision Making
When you work with an estate planning attorney from our firm to develop your plan, you will learn about the benefits that living trusts provide. You would act as the trustee while you are alive if you have a living trust, so you would maintain complete control of the assets in the trust.
In the trust declaration, you would name a successor trustee to administer the trust after your passing. They could be given the ability to act as a disability trustee in the event of your incapacity, or you could name a different disability trustee.
To account for property that is not held by a trust, you can name a representative in a durable power of attorney for property. The “durable” designation is operable because this type of power of attorney will stay in effect if you become incapacitated.
It can be physically and emotionally taxing to look after an aging parent or grandparent, and over 11 million unpaid Americans are providing care for people with dementia. In addition to the personal challenges for caregivers, the financial burden can become overwhelming.
In-home care is very costly, and nursing homes are much more expensive. Medicaid will cover custodial care, but a senior that needs long-term care cannot qualify if they have significant assets in their own name.
However, you can implement an effective Medicaid planning strategy if you act in advance, and this is an area of expertise for the elder law attorneys at our firm.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
We understand the fact that this is a disconcerting subject, but it is best to accept the reality and do what you can to prepare yourself. If you are ready to do just that, we are here to help.
A lot of people are reluctant to discuss personal and financial matters with an attorney they have just met, and we take this dynamic to heart. When you choose our firm, you will immediately recognize our sincere commitment to our neighbors.
Our goal is to help you prepare for the eventualities of aging as you protect your legacy for the benefit of your loved ones. If you are ready to get started, you can schedule a consultation at our Memphis, TN estate planning office if you call us at 901-763-2500 or 866-997-6325 or fax us at (901) 763-2525.
There is also a contact form on this site you can use to send us a message, and if you reach out in this manner, you can expect receive a prompt response.