LEGAL - Ease

Disclaimer:   The content on this website does not constitute legal advice.   A qualified attorney in your state should be consulted concerning any legal questions, issues or matters that you have.

My sister and I have learned so much over the years on this journey with our Aging Parents.    The majority of it has come from finding ourselves in situations which left us feeling - why did we not now about this? "

The goal of Aging Parents Management is to offer resources and information so that other Adult Children of Aging parents become better prepared and aware for this stage of their parents' lives.   However, the information on this website should not be considered as legal advise.   Therefore, we will address this topic by dispelling several myths and beliefs about common issues encountered when managing the care of an elderly parent.      

 

COMMON MYTHS:

  • "My name is on my parent's bank accounts so I don't have to worry about anything.":   Simply having your name on a bank account, will only give you the ability to manage and access it; while your parent is living.    Once they have passed away, it becomes part of the Estate which then goes into probate and only the Executor will have access to it.      

  • "My parents created a POA years ago, so they are in good shape.":  It is important that your parents keep their Power Of attorney (POA) update to date by reviewing it at least every 6-8 years.    Overtime, relationships and situations change.  Furthermore, many financial institutions will not accept POAs that are "too old."   Therefore it is important to review if the current designated legal representative should maintain this responsibility or updated to someone better suited. 

This would also be applicable to the designated Executor of a Will.     This is an extensive responsibility.     This person is the only one granted legal authority to manage the legal and financial matters of the deceased.     It may require travel and incur other expenses for which they are able to be compensated from the Estate.   This person will also be responsible for filing any final tax returns and will be the point of contact during Probate.   

  • "Estate Planning is only for people with wealth."   Not true.   It is a service to help you to be better prepared for this stage in their life.    Wikipedia defines Estate Planning as:  "the process of anticipating and arranging, during a person's life, for the management and disposal of that person's estate during the person's life and at and after death....." 

  • "I'm the Daughter/Son, my parents' Estate will come to me anywat.":  When a person passes away, their Estate must go through probate.   This is a lengthy process that will require an attorney.    Wikipedia defines probate as "the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person's property under a will. A probate court decides the legal validity of a testator's (deceased person's) will and grants its approval, also known as granting probate, to the executor."    

  • "We'll just transfer mom's house into my name which will take care of everything". :    There are State Laws that examine your parents finances in order to determine eligibility for certain benefits; such as medicare and medicaid  - especially prior to entering an Assisted Care Living Facility.   Part of this process is called a "look back" period where they will review all of their financial transactions.    For each state the "look back period" is different.     The best way to proceed in making long-term financial decisions - for your parents and even for yourself will be to visit with an Estate Planning Attorney.       

    

  • "Someday I'll show you where Mom and I keep our important documents". -  Today is that day!   Knowing where your parents store these legal documents will enable you to be better prepared for that day when something does happen to them.    This is part of the future planning with your parents.    When legal documents such as Wills, Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Powers of Attorney are created, it is a good idea to give copies of them sealed in an envelope to the ones designated with authority.   

  • "Its too expensive and too time consuming to create a Will."  - It is easier and cheaper than you think.   Today, creating a Will or Power of Attorney can be done conveniently from your couch.    There a many affordable online Legal solutions to help with this task from websites to apps.  One of these options may be the right one for you and your parents to try.          

  • "My parents Will must go through Probate." -  This is not always the case.   It really depends on several factors.   Probating a Will is done usually with the help of an attorney, but some may try to do it on their own.   It is the process of the courts reviewing it and recognizing the persons who will administer it and receive any benefits from it.    The local Register of Wills are the ones who will issue letters of authority that give the executor authority to address the legal matters of an estate that includes transferring of assets, liquidating property (like your parents home) etc.   If your parents have a Trust, it will not have to go through probate.    Here is more helpful information on the topic of Probate from LegalZoom. 

THE BASICS:

Regardless of the mindset of you and your parents, having a conversation about these important legal topics will be part of this planning process.    To help the conversation along, it will be helpful to become familiar with some basic legal documents included in the Estate Planning process.    These are the key documents.

 

KEY DOCUMENTS As defined by LegalZoom.

  • POWER OF ATTORNEY  - A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that lets you appoint someone to handle financial and legal matters on your behalf.    With a power of attorney, the person you appoint will be legally permitted to take care of important matters for you, including paying your bills and managing your investments, if you are unable to do so for yourself. 

  • HEALTH CARE POWER OF ATTORNEY - The health care power of attorney is a document in which you designate someone to be your representative, or agent, in the event you are unable to make or communicate decisions about all aspects of your health care. In the most basic form, a health care power of attorney merely says, "I want this person to make decisions about my health care if I am unable to do so." 

  • HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE -  A living will, commonly referred to as an advance directive, is a document that provides instructions regarding end-of-life care.   Living wills allow you to make your own choices about life support and helps prevent confusion about the type of care you do or do not want in the event you become incapable of communicating your wishes. Without a living will, the laws in your state will determine who will make your health care decisions. 
     

  • LAST WILL - A last will and testament is a legal document that lets you designate individuals or charities to receive your property and possessions when you pass away. These individuals and charities are commonly referred to as beneficiaries in your last will.    The main purpose of a will is to ensure that your wishes, and not the default laws of the state, will be followed upon your death. 

ONLINE LEGAL SOLUTIONS

Estate planning has come along way.    Today, there are so many online solutions and apps that make it easy, convenient and affordable to help with this process.    Some of these services offer an opportunity to speak with an Attorney for an additional FEE.    Sometimes using this type of legal service helps to minimize the family stress involved in this process because you are able to do it from the comfort of your livingroom.  

  • FREEWILLWhy is FreeWill free?  FreeWill is made possible by the support of many nonprofit organizations.  Many of the users choose to leave a portion of their estate to charity.   

 

  • EVERPLANS APP - This app helps your parent become organized.   It creates a secure and shareable digital document archive as well as a means to organize those end of life documents.    The site will help them compose a just-in-case letter for the survivors with info about bank accounts, insurance passwords and so on.  

  • LEGAL ZOOM - A online legal services that offers help with creating legal documents.  Here you will find a wide variety of al-la-carte services.  

PROFESSIONAL LEGAL ADVICE

Nothing can replace the help and services of an elder care attorney.     In addition to receiving legal advice, they are extremely helpful in bridging many difficult conversations and issues that you will encounter along the journey with your aging parents.  Many offer FREE consultations or conduct workshops and seminars.      Take the time to visit with one or to attend one of their seminars alone or with your parents.

Elder Care  Attorney - These are legal professionals specializing in Elder Care from creating documents, trusts, estate planning, financial planning and long term care plans.    Most will offer FREE consultation.

Lawyers - Most lawyers will create these documents for you and your parents.   They may charge a flat fee for this service or charge by the hour.    Most will offer FREE consultations.

HighPoint Law Offices Estate Planning Services
How to talk to your parents about Eldercare
AGING AND RECOVERING IN PLACE
SERVICES TO HELP WITH PARENT CARE
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Visit our Marketplace to find businesses and professional services who are ready to help you on this Journey with your aging parents.   Join our Online Community so you won't have to go through this process alone and if you need more help.

Disclaimer:   The content on this website does not constitute legal advice.   A qualified attorney in your state should be consulted concerning any legal questions, issues or matters that you have.

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