Many families across the United States face the devastating diagnosis of terminal cancers or the catastrophic effects of debilitating car crashes. Yet thinking about your assets and medical care if you are injured or fall ill proves difficult.
A recent study from the Institute on Disability in New Hampshire reported that in 2015, approximately 10% of the adult population under 65 was disabled. Although those statistics are the median for the United States as a whole, in some places those statistics may be as much as doubled. Kentucky, for example, had approximately 150-200% greater adult disabled population than the national average.
One of the most common issues related to the care of senior citizens is related to companionship. This is a particularly common issue if the person is still in their home. The elderly often have health problems which prevent them from regularly leaving their home. It is often the case that they live alone. Even when the senior has regular visitors there will be times when they are alone and loneliness can become an issue.
Medicaid is very complex and very confusing. As a result, it is difficult to obtain accurate information, leading to an abundance of misinformation. Fortunately, it is easy to clear up many of the most common misconceptions.
There are many horror stories about probate. Everyone seems to have a story about someone they know who had a will contest or whose family was fractured because they fought about the property of a loved one. No one wants to go through this or for their family to go through this after they are gone. Avoiding probate, therefore, is a common goal of estate planning.
Everyone wants to be in control of their own life. They want to make their own financial, personal, and medical decisions. Unfortunately, situations, such as stroke and dementia, arise which prevent people from making decisions for themselves. When this occurs, someone else must have the authority to make decisions for that person. If the person has not designated an agent for themselves with the appropriate legal documents, they will have to go through a court process known as guardianship.
For most people, Veteran's Benefits seem almost mythical. You may have heard of a relative of a friend who was able to receive some assistance to cover medical expenses, but are unsure if you qualify and where to even begin.
The short answer to this is that everyone needs a will. Having a Last Will & Testament is not only your final determination of where your property will go at your death, but it also determines what happens to property in unusual situations. For example, if you execute a Last Will & Testament, but only minor grandchildren actually inherit your property, your Will can tell the Court how old the children should be to receive the full amount of the property, or if it should be distributed over many years. Likewise, your Will could set up special trusts to protect disabled loved-ones from losing benefits.
We often have clients tell us that they have all of their paperwork in order, then proceed to pull out a one-page Power of Attorney and a one-page Will.