Guardianship: What Can You Do When Your Child Has Special Needs?

When parents have a child with special needs, they will constantly worry about their child. The worries will grow as their child quickly reaches the age of 18. Some parents will want to know if their child will need a guardian.

Until a child turns 18 years old, the parents are the legal guardians of that child. While a child is under the age of 18, the parents will be able to make all decisions regarding medical needs, financial needs, etc.

When that child becomes an adult at the age of 18, the parents will have no authority to make financial decisions, medical decisions, school-related decisions, and more. However, a parent can decide if they should look for someone to make important decisions for their child. The person who will be named will be known as the child’s guardian.

The named guardian can make some decisions or all decisions regarding the personal needs of the person. However, not all children who have special needs will need to be appointed a guardian. Sometimes children with special needs can make their own decisions regarding their financial affairs, medical affairs, living arrangements, etc.

However, sometimes the child will need help making a few decisions. In cases like this one, someone may be appointed limited guardianship over the child. When someone has been given limited guardianship, the guardian can make some decisions that the now adult has trouble making.

Any person who is 18 years old and older can be listed as a guardian. However, it can be difficult to find the right person to become the guardian. If there are problems finding a guardian because no one can agree, the court has the right to appoint a guardian. Sometimes mediation is necessary to help everyone come to an agreement that is in the best interest of everyone.

We understand it can be very difficult to decide on who should be the guardian. If you are having difficulties, you should seek a consultation. Contact us today.

Our Experienced Probate Attorney Explains the Role of Executor

Your brother has approached you and asked that you be the executor of his estate. And you wonder: What’s an executor? And, what does that mean for me? Well, first you should be happy to know that your brother trusts you enough to ask you to take on such a big role. But, you should also understand the responsibility that goes along with this role. We’ll explain.

Responsibility of Executor

As the executor of the will, you’ll have a variety of duties as you prepare to probate your brother’s will. To start, you’ll need to notify the family members listed in the will,and you’ll need to advise that the will is about to be presented to the probate court. Copies of the will should be provided to each family member you notify.

Once the court has officially appointed you as executor, your biggest responsibility is gathering the assets, determining what bills need to be paid, and filing any necessary tax returns. The executor cannot close out the estate until all of the money and assets have been accounted for and the estate bills have been paid.

If You Cannot Serve

If you say yes now and somehow feel when the time comes you don’t think you can serve as executor, you can ask the court to not appoint you, or you can request the court relieve you of your duties. You can also retain an attorney experienced in probate law to assist you so that you don’t feel completely overwhelmed.

For more information on probate law, wills and estates, contact us to set up a consultation.

Why You’re Never Too Young for Estate Planning

If you’re a young adult, one thing that you probably don’t think about very frequently — if at all — is estate planning. After all, it might seem as if estate planning is only for older people. However, you are really never too young to start estate planning. These are a couple of reasons why.

You Never Know What Could Happen…or When

If you’re young, you probably assume that you have many years ahead of you to worry about things like wills. Hopefully, that’s true. However, accidents happen, illnesses strike when people least expect them, and young people do pass away. If you were to pass away right now, would your spouse, kids or other loved ones have what they need to take care of themselves? Would your family know what to do with your assets? Would your loved ones be aware of your final wishes, such as your desire to be cremated or buried? Estate planning helps ensure that your loved ones will be able to handle the situation in the best way possible if something does happen to you unexpectedly.

Some Things are Cheaper When You’re Younger

The truth is that you can save money by estate planning when you’re young rather than waiting until you’re older. For example, if you don’t have a life insurance policy in place, you may want to look into your options while tackling this planning. In many cases, you can enjoy lower rates if you buy life insurance while you’re still young and healthy rather than waiting until you’re older, when you might have more health issues.

As you can see, it’s not too soon to start estate planning. If you need help in getting started, contact us so that we can sit down and talk to you about your options.

A Brief Overview on the Administration of an Estate

When a person dies, his estate needs to be managed, collected and distributed. This is done with the help of the estate executor or administrator. It’s a big responsibility, so if you’ve been appointed the executor of an estate, it helps to understand the entire process.

The Probate Proceeding

The probate proceeding may not require much court intervention. Most probate proceedings generally involve filing the necessary probate papers, having the court appoint the administrator or executor, paying the deceased’s debts and taxes, distributing the remaining assets to the heirs, and having the court approve the distribution and close out the estate.

When the will is contested, the court may find itself more involved, and everyone involved in the will, along with the estate administrator, will find themselves appearing in court at least once, possibly more.

Estate Management

Once the executor or administrator is appointed, he’ll begin by inventorying the estate.

The creditors will receive notification of the decedent’s death, and if the decedent had assets that were enough to pay the creditors, the estate makes those payments. If the decedent’s assets did not cover the debt, the court approves which creditors get paid.

Once the debt and taxes are paid, any remaining assets are distributed in accordance with the will.

If the decedent only owned a few assets, it’s possible the entire probate process can be avoided by going through a “small estate” administration. This is possible if the value of the decedent’s assets is less than the threshold amount.

If you’ve been appointed administrator or executor of an estate, we are here for you every step of the way.

Three Important Documents to Include in Your Estate Plan

For most of us, creating an estate plan is something that usually gets put off for another time. Yes, estate planning and the circumstances surrounding it are a difficult topic, but necessary. Here, we’ll provide you with some of the most important aspects of estate planning, so you have a better understanding as to why you need to start your estate plan now:

To Start: A Power-of-Attorney

The first document you should have as part of your estate plan is a Power-of-Attorney. This is a legal document that grants another individual the ability to make certain medical or financial decisions on your behalf. Decisions include liquidating assets, managing your insurance and, in the case of a medical power-of-attorney, ensuring you have the medical care you desire.

Next Up: A Living Will

The next thing on your list should be a living will. This is a document that specifically outlines your medical wishes, should you become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions on your own. Decisions include:

  • Certain life-prolonging treatments, including surgery, medication and blood transfusions.
  • Palliative care or pain relief options.
  • Life support.
  • Administration of water and food (tube feeding).
  • DNR (Do-not-resuscitate) orders.

Number Three: Your Will

Writing a will is a crucial part of estate planning. This document serves two purposes: First, it outlines who receives your assets and property after you’ve passed away. Second, it designates who will be the guardian of any minor children you have. Without a will, a court makes those decisions for you.

For more information on estate planning, contact us.

Your Estate Litigation Problems Can Be Resolved: You Are Not Alone

When clients are going through estate problems, sometimes all they want is for someone to listen to them and understand their problems. Before a solution can be brought forward, the problem needs to be understood first.

People who feel they have been wronged in a situation did not choose to go through this tough time. They are already grieving, so why would they intentionally cause friction and disputes within the family? Unfortunately, these type of situations will arise. Sometimes families cannot avoid

Sometimes families cannot avoid estate litigation. When estate litigation does happen, decisions need to be made carefully and everyone needs to understand the best way to get through the litigation.

When you add an experienced attorney to your team, you will have someone on your side who has seen and heard the same problems you are having. Sometimes children are left out of a will because one parent remarried, and the surviving parent chose not to include the children in the will. Sometimes one child can take advantage of a parent and obtain access to all of the parent’s possessions, and even sells everything.

You may think your problems are too difficult to understand and that no one can give you the help you need. This is not true. When you find the right lawyer to help you in your time of need, you will not have to stress over your problems. You will not have to worry about how this will impact your family because the issues can be resolved.

If you find yourself staring at a difficult estate litigation situation and you need help, do not hesitate to contact us today.