Elder Law And Your Estate
Since people are living longer, the chances of you or someone you love suffering from an age-related disease such as Alzheimer’s or dementia is increasing. Approximately 40 percent of us will be incapacitated for at least six months before we die. In addition, an automobile accident or a stroke could render a person incompetent bringing about a need for someone to take over and manage their personal and financial affairs.
The estate planning attorneys of Richardson & Richardson, LLLP, can help you plan for all contingencies. By doing so, you can ensure that your assets, your finances and your healthcare will be cared for according to your wishes. We have law offices in Tullahoma, Tennessee, and Stuart, Florida.
Planning For Incapacity
A living revocable trust also allows you to plan for the possibility of becoming incapacitated. While competent, you can name two doctors to make a decision whether you still have legal capacity to manage your affairs. This decision must be indisputable or name “my treating physician, dentist or another physician who is familiar with my condition” or “my treating physician and the probate judge of the county where I reside.” This decision should be totally objective and, although it is possible to allow your treating physician and your spouse and all of your children to make this decision, this alternative is not recommended.
By incorporating a competency clause within a trust, you can avoid the cost and delay of having a court-appointed guardian and/or conservator. With a will, however, there is no protection from incapacity or incompetency. Any relative may petition the court to be appointed as your guardian or conservator. Because you are not able to say whom you want, the court will appoint someone, and that person will have control over everything you own.
A power of attorney is another way of naming a trusted person to act for us. However, you must be extremely careful of whom you name and how you craft the document, or you could be handing over control of your life and your checkbook against your will.
Planning Your Estate As You Get Older
Estate planning needs to change as you get older. The estate plan you created decades ago may not be appropriate today. For example, if you have a will in which you and your spouse leave all of your assets to each other may not be appropriate if one or both of you are facing admission to a nursing home. The assets you built up over a lifetime could be exhausted paying for nursing home care.
Our lawyers can assist you with issues such as Medicaid planning and planning for care in a nursing home, assisted care facility or your own home. We can assist you with trusts, Lady Bird deeds and other forms of estate planning tools to protect your assets.