What You Should Know About Estate Planning At Any Age

Estate planning is often something we put off because we feel the topic of our deaths is uncomfortable, or we feel we are too young to deal with the subject. We may even feel estate planning isn’t necessary because we aren’t wealthy enough to have an estate. The truth is, though, that we all have estates; we all want to have a say in how our assets will be divided, no matter how few they are. Besides, death may be an uncomfortable subject but it can come at any time so it is never too early to think about estate planning.

There are several things that should be included in any estate plan. You should begin thinking about who your beneficiaries are, what you want to leave them and when you want them to receive the gift. For instance, small children might not inherit money until they reach a certain age.

One of the first things to address in an estate planning document is your own care, should you become disabled. You should also discuss funeral arrangements and let your family know if you have a pre-arranged and pre-paid funeral.

Include instructions about the guardianship of minor children. If you want someone besides family to raise your children, you need to state that in your plan.

Planning ahead allows you to think about issues. For instance, even though you may be well-meaning a lump sum gift may disrupt the services special needs relatives are receiving because of financial qualifications. Thinking the issue through may help you decide alternate ways to provide for the relative.

Estate planning can make passing on your possessions easier. Anticipating problems and dealing with them in the document is like giving another gift to your loved ones, especially at a time when they might be overwhelmed. It is important to understand the language and intent of the document, though, to avoid unintended complications.

For more information on this important subject, contact us. No matter what stage of life you are in, we can help you plan to leave your legacy to the ones you love.

Guardianship: Are We Protecting Our Parents?

As our parents become older, there will be several issues that will begin to come into play. Many of those issues will be legal issues. Our parents will want to remain independent, and they will want to be able to take care of themselves. They want to do all of this without someone placing them under guardianship.

Sometimes the kind of independence older adults will want is not always possible, especially when they have serious illnesses that are debilitating. There will be healthcare decisions that will need to be made, as well as decisions related to the end of life. All of these issues and decisions will be complicated because many of us will be faced with taking care of our parents.

All of these things are enough to bring emotional, legal, and financial stress to everyone on both sides. A good thing is that there are plenty things parents and children can legally do so there will be no difficult hurdles to go through as the parents become older.

Talk To Your Parents

During times like these, you should really be proactive and speak with your parents. You want to find out what are the things they are most concerned about. You will also want to know what they want to happen with their assets and their healthcare needs. There are some assets that can be transferred. When you plan in advance, you may be able to pay for your parent’s expenses out of his/her personal assets.

The last resort will likely be guardianship. Many times, the main concern is mental stability and mental capacity. There will also be concerns about who will handle all of the parent’s affairs, assets, and other decisions. All of these issues are critical, and they need to be handled in the best way possible. The only person who can determine if a person is legally incapacitated is a probate judge.

It is important that families speak with an attorney about these issues. If everyone agrees to set up everything based on what the parent wants, then everyone can avoid negative situations. Contact us if you need assistance with making critical decisions concerning a parent.

Guardianship Litigation: Securing Guardianship Of Someone You Love

If you have a loved one who can not manage their own affairs anymore because of a sickness or a disability, then you or someone else in your family may want to consider legal guardianship. The person who you want to protect is called the ward.

Under a guardianship law, there has to be proof or a demonstration that the person really needs assistance. If anyone else is interested in the situation, he or she may be allowed to show up at the guardianship hearing to do the following:

  • State a claim on why he or she believes the ward does not need to have a guardian
  • If the other party thinks the ward does need guardianship, he or she may ask to be the guardian
  • Other interested parties may also challenge why they think the other person should not be the guardian

In order to represent all of your interests and the ward, you will need to hire a guardianship litigation attorney. You need an attorney who will fight for all of the rights, and the right attorney will help you take care of your loved one the way you have in mind.

Someone may not be happy with who has been appointed as the guardian over the family member. Someone in the family may have received the status of guardian or the state may have approved someone as being the guardian if there was a feeling of no family members being available.

Removing another person as a guardian is not an easy thing to accomplish. This needs the attention and assistance of an attorney who has the right experience. Contact us if you want to do what is best for the person you care about and love.