It takes a comprehensive approach to construct an estate plan that covers all of your bases. Yes, you have to take the right steps to get financial assets into the hands of your loved ones in the appropriate manner. This being stated, you should also consider the events that may enter the picture before you pass away.
Aging Takes Its Toll
There is no way you can truly wrap your head around the way that it will feel to go through life as an octogenarian. This can seem like a feat of longevity that is relatively uncommon, but in fact, this is not the case at all. The Social Security Administration tells us that the lifespan for someone that is turning 67 on any given day is at least 85 years.
This means that if you think you are going to live long enough to collect your full Social Security benefit, you will probably reach your eighties at minimum.
When you are in this age group, incapacity can strike due to a number of different underlying causes. Without question, the most ubiquitous threat is Alzheimer’s disease. It strikes about 10% of all senior citizens, and about four out of every 10 people that are 85 years of age and older have contracted Alzheimer’s.
People with Alzheimer’s induced dementia and other forms of incapacity are going to become unable to make sound decisions on their own at some point in time. Under these circumstances, if nothing has been done in advance to prepare for incapacity, a conservatorship proceeding could be initiated.
The facts would be presented to the court by interested parties, and the court would be compelled to appoint a conservator to act as the legal decision maker for the incapacitated adult. If you are ever in this situation as the elder in question, a difficult situation can be exacerbated by family disagreements.
For example, your children may not be on the same page with regard to the person that should act as your conservator. Since no one would be able to point toward any documents that you executed to state your preference, there would be no final word on the subject coming from you.
Durable Powers of Attorney and a Living Will
You can prevent this dynamic through the execution of durable powers of attorney. A durable power of attorney for property can be used to name someone to manage your financial affairs, and you could add a durable power of attorney for health care decision-making.
When these documents are in place, everyone in the family will know that you named the agents yourself, so there would be no cause for acrimony. To tie everything together neatly, you should add a HIPAA release form to allow the health care agent to be able to access your medical records.
Another legal device that should be added is a living will. This is the document that is used to state your preferences regarding the use of life-sustaining measures.
This is definitely a decision that should be taken out of the hands of your loved ones. It is an agonizing choice that no one should make for someone else, and once again, different people can have different ideas. You can be certain that your true wishes will be carried out if you record your choices in a living will.
Attend a Free Seminar
We have some fantastic learning opportunities coming up in the near future at strategic locations around the Los Angeles area. Our attorneys are deeply committed to educating our neighbors, and to this end, we hold seminars on an ongoing basis. There are several dates on the schedule right now, and we urge you to register for the session that fits into your schedule.
You don’t have to worry about paying an admission charge, so this is a free opportunity to build on your knowledge. To get all the details, visit our seminar page and click on the date that works for you.
Let’s Have a Conversation!
If you are ready to take direct action to discuss your estate planning objectives with a licensed attorney, our doors are open. You give us a call at 310-337-7696 to set up an appointment, and you can alternately send us a message through the contact form on this website.