Watching a parent’s mental and/or physical deterioration is heart-wrenching. If you have a parent who has become incapacitated, as a result of Alzheimer’s or simply the natural aging process, seeking conservatorship may be your only option if you wish to keep your parent and his/her assets safe. A conservatorship is a relationship established by a court of law between the person who needs help, referred to as the “ward,” and the person or entity named by the court to help the ward, known as the … [Read more...] about What can I do if a parent becomes incapacitated and they didn’t plan ahead?
One of the most commonly used incapacity planning tools is a revocable living trust. When used to plan for the possibility of incapacity it works by allowing you to appoint yourself as the Trustee of the trust and appoint someone of your choosing as the successor Trustee. Your estate assets are then transferred into the trust. Because you are the Trustee, you continue to control those assets just as before; however, if you become incapacitated the successor Trustee (chosen by you) takes over as … [Read more...] about Can a revocable living trust help me with incapacity planning?
An advance directive is a legal document that allows you to plan ahead and make your own end-of life wishes known in the event that you are unable to communicate those wishes at some later time and/or appoint someone to make decisions for you. State law dictates what types of advance directives are recognized in the state. California recognizes two types of advanced directives, including: Power of Attorney for Health Care which allows you to appoint someone to make health care decisions … [Read more...] about What is an Advance Directive?
A Power of Attorney is a legal agreement that allows you (the “Principal”) to grant another person (your “Agent”) the legal authority to act in your place in legal matters. That authority can be general, allowing your Agent almost unfettered power to act on your behalf, or limited, only granting your Agent the authority to act on your behalf in specific situations or for a designated period of time. While a Power of Attorney can be a helpful incapacity planning tool, it has some drawbacks, … [Read more...] about Does executing a Power of Attorney solve my problems?
By incorporating an incapacity plan into your comprehensive estate plan you are able to use legal strategies and tools that collectively determine who will control your assets and make important decisions for you in the event you are ever incapacitated. It allows you to make crucial decisions now instead of a judge making them for you later or deciding who will make them for you. … [Read more...] about How does incapacity planning help?
The same problem could occur when it comes to control over your assets during a period of incapacity. In the absence of a plan that gives someone the legal right to control your assets, a court will likely be forced to appoint someone. That person may – or may not – be someone you would want taking over control of your assets. … [Read more...] about What about control of my assets if I become incapacitated?
This common misconception is precisely why many people fail to plan for incapacity. The reality is that even if you are married there is no guarantee that it will be your spouse making serious, even life or death, healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to make them because of incapacity. All too often more than one family member believes that he/she should be the one making those decisions and the right to make them ends up in a court battle – a battle that could result in a family feud … [Read more...] about Won’t my spouse/parent/sibling automatically be allowed to make decisions for me if I can’t make them?
The short answer is “yes.” In fact, if you are relatively young and healthy you probably need to be more worried about a period of incapacity than you do death. Up to about age 40 you are three times more likely to become incapacitated than you are to die. One in four of today’s 20-year-olds can expect to be out of work for at least a year because of a disabling condition before they reach retirement age. Because you undoubtedly care what happens to you and your assets if incapacity does strike, … [Read more...] about I’m fairly young and healthy. Do I really need to plan for incapacity?