Estate Planning

A proper estate plan covers not only what should happen upon your death, but also what should happen if you lose your decision-making skills. While planning for incapacity may be as unpleasant as planning for death, it is an important step in the estate planning process. Planning for incapacity ensures that someone you specifically choose and trust can act on your behalf while you are unable to do so for yourself. In another article, we discussed the importance of a Durable Financial Power of Attorney. Here, we discuss why a Power of Attorney for Health Care is equally as…
Various estate planning documents require you to appoint someone to act on your behalf. These appointees are your “fiduciaries” and include your personal representative, guardian for minor children, trustee, attorney-in-fact, and health care agent. Often times, people name certain individuals for these roles without much consideration, or they may consider the wrong criteria. Below is a general description of each fiduciary role and a few suggestions on what to consider when deciding who to appoint to those roles. In general, you should carefully consider the skillset each role requires and whether the person you would like to appoint possesses those…
As the pandemic continues to demonstrate, life has its shares of unexpected twists and turns that we cannot always control. One of the best ways to prepare for life’s uncertainty is by creating an estate plan. Unfortunately, estate planning is something that most Gen Zers and Millennials, like myself, are never taught about. Estate planning is the process of formally designating how you want your wishes to be carried out and by whom in the event you become incapacitated or pass away. While it might seem like a task that can be put-off indefinitely, a proper estate plan can save…
Note: This article was originally posted in the McCarty Law blog. COVID-19 has been hard on all of us, but especially on residents of nursing homes. Because nursing homes house our most vulnerable population, extra precautions needed to be implemented to protect them. This resulted in nursing homes being “locked down,” meaning residents were not allowed to leave, nor were they allowed visitors. Early on during the pandemic, we all saw heartbreaking pictures of families waving at a loved one through a window. In addition to worrying about contracting the virus, many nursing home residents also had to worry…
Some of your most significant assets, like your life insurance and retirement accounts, ask you to make beneficiary designations. If you make valid beneficiary designations on these assets, then upon your death they will pass directly to your named beneficiaries without being subject to the probate process. Click here to view our article on probate and why you might want to avoid it. Many people overlook the importance of beneficiary designations and neglect to name beneficiaries because they think their other estate planning documents will cover those assets. However, beneficiary designations operate independently from other estate planning documents, like a…
It was the first day on the job for my new staff attorney. He did not expect that his first day would be spent at a funeral. But there he was, with me. In the casket was a client of mine. She was beautifully dressed in pink, her face peaceful, and her son and family stood nearby. I paid my respects, and they expressed their joy that the final days of her life had been spent at home. If the local adult protective services (APS) agency had its way, things would have been different. She would have died in a…
Dear members of the Elder Law and Special Needs Section and other interested persons: We’re excited to announce the launch of a new blog for our section! Blogs are designed to deliver the latest news, practical advice, and valuable resources that focus on the issues that we encounter in our practice. We chose to create a blog because they offer more flexibility in providing timely and more frequent communication to our members. Also, posts can be shared on social media and can link to additional information and other related blogs. The Elder Law and Special Needs Journal will continue with…