Tag Archives: elder care

How Do I Know When to Invoke A POA?

A power of attorney is an authority given to another person to act on behalf of an individual usually called a principal. The agreement is made into a legal document guiding the relationship between the attorney and the principal. There are four types namely: general power of attorney; durable power of attorney; special or limited power of attorney; and springing durable power of attorney.

There are many situations in which given out this authority may be advisable and necessary, for example, this power might be given out about property management and financial affairs, it may be given when one needs to collect benefits or when one desires to sell a home. In these situations, authority can be given to another person to sign a contract on behalf of a principal. There are some decisions in which this power can be delegated to another such as making health care decision.

Before this authority can be given to another, the principal must make sure that he understands the information contained in the document and that it conforms to that state’s requirements. He must be able to evaluate the information in the document and must be mentally fit to do such. Also, the principal must be able to communicate his intents clearly and effectively. To obtain the power of attorney is easy if some precise steps are taken. One of such steps is checking the state’s requirements to make sure one is on the right track. One needs to fill relevant forms and makes sure that the document is clear enough for all signatories.

The preceding paragraph must deal with the legal capacities of the principal. This is the ability of a person to arrive at decisions that are legally valid. This ability will guarantee his fitness to enter into a binding contractual agreement with other people. It also consists of the ability to choose who he will give the authority to. Legal capacity will enable the principal to make his intents clear to avoid misrepresentation.

This power can be revoked when the principal decides to do so. However, the process of revocation must be made explicit to all parties involved. The most important step in this process is to be sure of state’s requirements so as not to contravene laid down rules and regulations governing such procedure. All institutions involved in this process of revocation must be duly informed for necessary actions. In case of legal capacity issues such as when the principal becomes incapacitated or when he can no longer make decisions for himself because of mental depreciation or disability the family members can approach the court for revocation of the power of attorney. Also, this power can be revoked when one is no longer satisfied with the services being rendered by the attorney. It can also be revoked when there is a case of exploitation and abuse on the part of the attorney. Revocation can also occur when the attorney misuse his power.

Learn more about attorney Sean J. Nichols and the legal services he provides for clients including: estate planning, elder law issues, Medicaid planning, elder care, probate law, guardianships, and power of attorney (POA) at www.seanjnichols.com.  To contact the offices of Sean J Nichols, call 734.386.0224 today.

The Most Important Reasons for Estate Planning

No one wants to think about what is going to happen after they pass away while they are still living, however, there really is not any better time like the present. Most the important decision you need to make are designed to make things easier for your loved ones after you have passed away and you cannot make the necessary decisions. It is really imported to discuss estate planning.

 

The key to estate planning is that it has to be done while you still have the control of your faculties for an attorney to be able to prepare all of the proper paperwork. Your attorney should be able to go over everything that you need to be sure that you have gotten everything important.

 

10 Important reasons for doing estate planning

 

Peace of Mind – The biggest reason is to give everyone the peace of mind knowing things are all taken care of ahead of time.

 

Specify who is to receive which assets after your death – In order to prevent any fighting or hurt feelings it is very important that you assign assets to everyone that will be mentioned in the will. Once the document is enforced it can only be undone by the owner of the will.

 

Helps to avoid probate headaches – If there was no will or trust everything would go in the court system and that is what is referred to as probate court.

 

State who is to be the guardian of any minor children – When you have minor children you have to consider who you will want to take care of them in the event that you were to die.

 

Name the executor – The executor is the most important decision besides who will be taking care of the kids. The executor will be responsible for making sure that all of the parts of the trust is carried out.

 

Establish a Power of Attorney for financial decisions – The power of attorney for making financial decisions needs to be settled in order to be able to pay any bills for care if you become incapacitated.

 

Establish a Power of attorney for healthcare – Like power of attorney for financial reasons, you also need to do something about your medical conditions before you become incapacitated.

 

Execute a revocable trust – Avoid any problems with a will but setting up a revocable trust is far better received in my opinion.

 

Restrict minor children’s access to inheritance – To help protect your kids and keep them from spending any of the money they have been for their inheritance. The usual time frame is 25-30 years old.

 

Be sure to shield the inheritance from tax concerns, divorce issues and creditors – Having a trust in place will help to protect the assets from taxes, divorce a decree.

 

Learn more about attorney Sean J. Nichols and the legal services he provides for clients including: estate planning, elder law issues, Medicaid planning, elder care, probate law, guardianships, and power of attorney (POA) at www.seanjnichols.com.  To contact the offices of Sean J Nichols, call 734.386.0224 today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Hiring an Attorney When Creating an Estate Plan

When creating an estate plan, it is better to hire a professional than attempt to DIY. Although many people think they can write their own wills, the truth is, they’ll most likely leave our vital information, this voiding that which would have been useful when they’re gone. Enlisting the help of estate planning lawyers ensures that everything you leave regarding your estate when your gone will be handed in a professional manner. An estate planning lawyer knows what needs to be added in an estate plan and although you might YouTube how to do it on your own, this doesn’t mean you should or that it will stand up if contested. Here are some reasons why estate planning lawyers are better options for you will:

Estate Planning Is Complex

Even though you might Google how to do it on your own, the truth is that creating an estate plan is more complicated than you think. You need the right words, sentences and more, but in order for it to hold up solid in court it needs to follow certain laws, regulations, and guidelines. The law is always changing. You might miss some very important aspects that need to be included if you don’t know what they are. Estate planning lawyers are always kept up to date in regard to federal, state and local laws.

More Goes into Creating an Estate Plan Than Just a Will

An estate plan isn’t just a will. A will is just one document that goes into an estate plan and you might not know what the other documents that are needed are. In reality, there are a variety of different estate planning documents you’ll need to ensure your estate is handled properly after you’re gone.

Save Time

Writing an estate plan can really take a lot of time to make sure everything is correct and covered. Instead of doing it yourself, let that responsibility fall on a professional who knows what they’re doing and can do it faster than you ever could!

Third-Party Perspective

Estate planning will be objective when it comes your estate planning needs when a lawyer is allowed to assist. Thus, allowing you better insight and advice that will only benefit the estate in the end.

Learn more about attorney Sean J. Nichols and the legal services he provides for clients including: estate planning, elder law issues, Medicaid planning, elder care, probate law, guardianships, and power of attorney (POA) at www.seanjnichols.com.  To contact the offices of Sean J Nichols, call 734.386.0224 today.

What Happens If You Pass Away Without A Plan in Place?

No one likes to consider their mortality which often leads to the issue of individuals passing away without putting into place an estate plan, will, trust, or other legal documentation to distribute their assets.  Many times, people assume that they are too young to need an estate plan in place, that their assets are not worth the creation of a plan, or that getting this documentation in place is expensive.  These assumptions are in fact not true.  Obviously, the best time to document a plan to follow upon your death is far before the need to use it arises.  These plans encompass far more than just distributing your assets and tax avoidance.

Estate plans are put in place not only to be your voice upon your passing but also so that if you become incapacitated and are no longer able to make decisions for yourself that you can appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf.  If you have not appointed an individual to make choices on your behalf, then the state will step in.  If this occurs, your desires are left unknown and the state will step in to take over the process which is known as intestacy.

Intestacy rules vary from state to state.  In general, however, the distribution of assets by intestacy requires a probate proceeding.  Most families hope to avoid probate when a family member passes as it is costly, time consuming, and open to the public.  It is also frowned upon as there is no way for the state to know what your desires would have been so your assets are distributed as they see fit.

If you do not have proper documentation in place and become incapacitated a judge will decide for you who will be in charge of you and your assets.  This process is known as guardianship and conservatorship.  It can be quite an expensive for your family even if there isn’t a disagreement on your care or asset distribution.  It can often cost more than what would have been paid to have in place a proper estate plan.

In order to avoid this situation, it is crucial to take the appropriate steps which can include an all-inclusive estate plan with a living trust and power of attorney in place.  This ensures that if you become disabled or pass away the division of your assets along with your desired wished-for care are known by your family and easily executed without burdening your family.

Learn more about attorney Sean J. Nichols and the legal services he provides for clients including: estate planning, elder law issues, Medicaid planning, elder care, probate law, guardianships, and power of attorney (POA) at www.seanjnichols.com.  To contact the offices of Sean J Nichols, call 734.386.0224 today.

5 Essential Estate Planning Tips

Many individuals think that estate planning is only for the elderly; something to consider only after you have hit the golden years of retirement.  However, the truth of the matter is that an estate plan is something that should be in place no matter what stage of life you are in. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your 20s, 30s or even 60s; you should plan out your estate just in case an emergency happens. There are more things to estate planning than just a will such as trusts, health care directives, and power of attorney. These legal documents will ensure that your wishes are known at the end of your life through your passing. Here are some very basic tips on estate planning:

  1. Living Wills

Life is uncertain, so if you aren’t capable of making decisions for yourself, a living will is a must. It’s a legal document that sets forth what you want in the event that you are in a coma or vegetative state. It will detail instructions and decisions for yourself when you are still alive. For reasons of legitimacy it is important to have an attorney assist in drawing up a living will for you.  This will help to ensure that your desires are followed.

 

  1. Draw Up a Will or Trust

Besides a living will, you should also create a will, trust or both.  These are documents that sets out your wishes after you die for your family and loved ones. This details everything from personal items to financial assets and what you’d like to do with them.  An estate planning attorney should be hired to help minimize tax liabilities to your heirs upon your passing.  A will is a complex document that spells out in detail what your desires are.  It should be updated throughout the year as major life changes occur that need to be taken into account.

 

  1. Appoint a Power of Attorney (POA)

If anything happens to you, it’s important to have someone you trust make decisions for you they will be the power of attorney over your estate. This person will distribute your assets as you have stated within your estate plan.  A medical power of attorney is an individual that you have appointed to make decisions regarding your medical care.   You can have one person for both positions or split the duties between two people that you know will make sure your wishes are met.

 

  1. Designate Guardians

If you have kids under 18 years old, then you’ll have to figure out who will take care of them when you no longer can. If your spouse or partner is still alive, guardianship will automatically go to them.  Before you make the decision, you should ask whoever you are thinking about making a guardian to see how they feel about such a responsibility. If they do not want this responsibility it is in your children’s best interest to make alternative arrangements.

The best advice that you can be given regrading your estate is to meet with an attorney that will serve as a personal representative of your legal desires.  Creating an estate plan is simple with the right guidance and with regular maintenance will stay current to ensure your loved ones are not burdened by probate upon your passing.

Learn more about attorney Sean J. Nichols and the legal services he provides for clients including: estate planning, elder law issues, Medicaid planning, elder care, probate law, guardianships, and power of attorney (POA) at www.seanjnichols.com.  To contact the offices of Sean J Nichols, call 734.386.0224 today.

 

Blended Family Estate Planning

We have all seen blended families portrayed on TV.  They are always depicted by happy, wholesome family members that love each other to the depths of their hearts.  In reality however, this is not always true. The love factor may always resonate but elements can fade when it comes to the passing of a loved one and their estate.  Often time’s things get messy.

In order to skip that mess and to have a better plan, it is important to hire an estate planning attorney whose firm specializes in family law who will help you create a plan to prevent any uneasiness between family members upon your passing.  However, before you do that, you should really consider your future. In doing so, you should alleviate any guess work and but incorporate all the metrics which can give you a real insight into what lies ahead. Also, it can be said that the future of your blended family depends upon who owns the estate, how many members have a right to it, and are there any preliminary steps already taken by the estate owner.

There are three basic considerations to think about when you are estate planning.

1) Trusts

Trusts are established in order to ensure a healthy distribution of the assets of a remarried couple. There are many types of trusts, the QIPT, Marital, and Bypass trusts. However, choosing the right trust depends upon the financial status of the real estate.

It should also be noted that whatever trust you are establishing, you should always consider placing your children as the intermediate beneficiaries. By doing this, you conserve their rights as on your death they will be paid some amount.

On the other hand, if you name surviving spouse as your successor trustee, then chances are that the differences between him or her and your children will pull the family in troubles in the future.

2) The Power of Wills and Attorneys

It doesn’t matter which kind of trust you establish. If you’re living will says something otherwise than what the trust says, then your will is the one that is going to be preferred. We recommend you set up a living will and also establish power of attorney not only for your medical decisions but also for the financial decisions when you are no longer able to take them yourself.

This practice can eliminate the confusion and the emotional stress that would prevail in your family upon your terminal ailment. Also, someone who is experienced and sound minded will help you indirectly steer things the way you want it to go.

3) Life Insurance Policies and Retirement Plans

Both of these require you to name beneficiaries for the assets that they bear. Upon your death, the beneficiary that you have named will be given all the assets. Thus, it is necessary for everyone to check the beneficiaries which they have named so that a minor or a former spouse is not listed.

Finding the right estate planning in a blended family can be a tough task because in such families the tendency of complexities is more. Thus, in order to get everything right, work with an elder law attorney that offers specialized services in family law.

Learn more about attorney Sean J. Nichols and the legal services he provides for clients including: estate planning, elder law issues, Medicaid planning, elder care, probate law, guardianships, and power of attorney (POA) at www.seanjnichols.com.  To contact the offices of Sean J Nichols call 734.386.0224 today.

Don’t Forget To Update Your Estate Plan in the New Year

Estate plans like everything else in life needs to be renewed on a yearly basis. The fact that you had it done at all does not mean you should lock it up in the safe to gather dust. Every day there are changes in your life from personal circumstances, finance, health, and business dealings of great importance. These changes inadvertently could make your last estate plan obsolete, and there is the need for new plans to prevent unforeseen crises from posing greater burdens to your family.

Your estate planning will improve on the last draft and take care of any infraction of the law in case there have been changes in the law upon which the old Wills was made. The following outline the reasons you need to update your estate plan in the New Year.

Changes in Tax Laws

The law of the land is what gives Wills its legal teeth. If your estate plans run contrary to provisions of the law, it may become a burden to your family after you are gone. Engaging in estate planning update helps to bring your current wills under the prevailing law.

Divorce and Marriage

The last estate plans you did, you were in a marriage, but you just divorced and to leave the Wills in favor of your ex-partner will cause problems for your survivors when you are gone. Updating it now will replace it with the right beneficiary.

Changes in the Size of Your Estate

We grow older every day; your asset may increase or reduce as the case may be. Whatever is the situation, estate planning will add the correct asset value in your estate to make life a peaceful one for your family after your departure.

Acquisition or Disposition of an Asset

When you change the physical structure of your asset whether by acquiring more assets or you dispose of some assets, it is expedient to update your estate so you can factor in the new reality into your Wills.

Change in trustee, guardians or personal representatives. Wills are drafted to settle our estate most amicably after we departed; at the time of the last draft, your baby had a Guardian whose name appeared in the Will, but that has changed to a new person. A new estate planning will take care of the changes in the name of the guardian or representative.

New Thinking

We all seem to get better with the passage of time; this may be enough reasons to have a rethinking on some issues which may necessitate a change in your estate document.

New Rules Surrounding POA Rules

Some financial and health institutions have laws that may cause them to refuse Power of attorney if its older than certain age (a year or two), updating your estate planning will make your current Wills fresh, new, and current to make your Wills acceptable.

A yearly update of your estate plans makes it current and agrees with your life at the moment. Your survivors will have no problem executing your wills after you are gone without constituting a burden to your loved ones.

Learn more about attorney Sean J. Nichols and the legal services he provides for clients including: estate planning, elder law issues, Medicaid planning, elder care, probate law, guardianships, and power of attorney (POA) at www.seanjnichols.com.  To contact the offices of Sean J Nichols call 734.386.0224 today.

Functions and Duties of an Elder Law Attorney

Elder law attorneys and elder care attorneys deal with legal needs of the elderly – those typically above 65 years of age. Elder care attorneys also work on behalf of their disabled clients who are below 65 years of age and have similar long-term care needs to those of the elderly.

Duties of an Elder Care Attorney

One of the main functions of an elder care attorney is the provision of legal assistance in the case of will and estate planning of the elderly. The scope of elder law attorneys, however, extends to assisting the elderly with any legal issue they may have. These issues include:

  • Living wills – An elder law attorney helps to draft a will and advise on estate planning that protects the interests of the elder and the family.
  • Long-term care – An elder care attorney uses his experience and expertise to locate the right nursing home facility that will provide long-term quality care at an affordable cost that works for the elder and his family.

Nursing Home Care

An elder care attorney also keeps abreast with the deliverables promised by the nursing home and ensures that they carry out their obligations efficiently. Should the need arise; the elder care attorney defends the rights of the resident against neglect, negligence or improper treatment of the resident.

  • Guardianship – An elder law attorney advises the elder on the prudence of enabling a family member or any other responsible person to make decisions on his behalf with regard to his health, finances and legal issues if he becomes incapacitated.
  • Medicaid Eligibility – An elder care attorney advises on how to plan for long-term care while protecting your estate from being taken up with medical costs. The three main ways of paying for long-term care is either self-paying, long-term care insurance or Medicaid.

An elder care attorney helps to advice through the complicated web of Medicaid eligibility and by understanding the system guides the elder in a successful estate planning.

  • Probate administration and representation – An elder law attorney facilitates arrangements of estate administration and representation early in advance for the benefit of the family. In the event that disputes do arise after the passing of the elder, the elder law attorney helps in resolution of these disputes including matters of a contested will.

Factors to consider when choosing an elder care attorney

  • Expert and exclusive focus on elder law – Elder law can be very complex, detailed and ever-changing and the ideal elder care attorney is one who is intimately familiar with it and practices it regularly and seriously.
  • Experience – Long-term expertise and experience are the cornerstone of a successful elder care attorney who is able to handle each client’s case in an individualized and experienced manner.
  • Active and Good Listener – The ideal elder law attorney is one who takes the time to understand the client’s needs and specifications and is attentive to listen and care about your welfare and working together with you to craft the best solution.

Learn more about attorney Sean J. Nichols and the legal services he provides for clients including: estate planning, elder law issues, Medicaid planning, elder care, probate law, guardianships, and power of attorney (POA) at www.seanjnichols.com.  To contact the offices of Sean J Nichols call 734.386.0224 today.

Elder Law: Helping Seniors Plan For Their Future

One of the best things about U.S. law is that there are so many different areas of it that cover all aspects of life. Among the many different areas of law that attorneys can specialize in, elder law is just one. Elder law comprises of helping aged people plan for their future and for what happens after they pass away. While it’s not a subject that people enjoy talking about, it’s a necessity for all seniors. Attorneys who practice elder law can help elderly people with all aspects of their current life and assets.

Many different issues fall under the elder law heading, but some of the most common are outlined here.

  1. Estate Planning

It’s crucial that a properly executed will is prepared for you to make sure your estate is adequately handled after your death. Meeting with estate lawyers to discuss your heirs and last wishes are crucial if you have an estate of any size. A will that clearly and concisely states who will inherit what and how your estate is to be distributed can prevent your heirs from squabbling about your estate after you’ve passed away.

  1. Protecting Seniors from Abuse

This is one of the most distressing examples of why you may want to consult an attorney specializing in concerns of the elderly. If you have an aged parent who is in a nursing home, receiving skilled nursing care, or being cared for by someone else and you suspect that your parent is being neglected or abused, you must consult with a litigation attorney as soon as possible who specializes in cases of elder abuse. They can give you the guidance and support you need while investigating and filing suit against the abuser or abusers.

  1. Conservatorships

It may be necessary to establish a conservatorship over an elder’s estate when proper estate planning documents have not been put into place. To make financial decisions essential and healthcare for an elder court intervention is sought to grant someone the authority.

  1. Help with Financial Planning

Are you planning to retire? Then an elder law specialist can help you develop a stable, long-term financial plan that will protect your finances while allowing you to live comfortably in your golden years. Estate lawyers can also help you choose an appropriate nursing home or assisted living facility when the time comes and oversee your finances to make sure your bills are paid, and your property is handled correctly.

  1. Social Security Disputes

Social security is a financial safety net for many seniors after retirement. Depending on the monthly checks you receive from social security can be difficult, particularly if you don’t feel you’re receiving appropriate benefits. If you have a dispute over your social security payments, an elder law litigation attorney can represent you and protect your interests, helping you get the social security benefits you deserve.

An elder law attorney can be an excellent partner for you as you plan out the legal and financial aspects of the next stage of your life or the life of a loved one.

Learn more about attorney Sean J. Nichols and the legal services he provides for clients including: estate planning, elder law issues, Medicaid planning, elder care, probate law, guardianships, and power of attorney (POA) at www.seanjnichols.com.  To contact the offices of Sean J Nichols call 734.386.0224 today.

The Importance of Estate Planning

The purpose of estate planning is to help you achieve your personal and family goals after you pass away. It ensures that your assets will end up in the hands of those people whom you wish them to go to so that you can reach your personal and financial goals even after you die. You also can reduce the amount of taxes paid by planning your estate in the right way to ensure that your heirs receive a more substantial inheritance.

Estate Planning Attorney

Know this; your state treasurer or an attorney may be the most significant beneficiaries when you pass on if you don’t have an estate plan. Your family will be able to avoid unnecessary taxation and high payments to an attorney with estate planning and trusts. Proper estate planning by a probate lawyer doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and it puts you in control of the division of assets. It gives you control from the grave on the disposition of your items besides saving dollars that you want to go to your family.

The saying that the only two sure things in life are death and taxes has existed for centuries. Death is certainty and something that must be faced, but people don’t like thinking about it. A plan for your estate consists of a set of documents that help you plan for taxes and death, and it is something that nearly everyone needs — regardless of their financial and familial affairs are complex or simple.

Do You Want Probate Courts To Decide For You?

Many of these are problems most of us never think of during our lifetimes or are things that we simply choose not to believe. But if there is no plan in place, these issues are handled by the courts. It is therefore essential to have a plan in place so that you can decide for yourself the best choices for your family, such as who will care for minor children, who will receive your property, and who will finalize your affairs.

Naming an Executor

You also name an executor or executrix for the estate in the will. This is the person in charge of distributing the property at your demise. It is best to name an alternate if the primary executor is unable to do the job. You can use a spouse for this or a trusted child. This person overlooks the work of the attorney at the time of your death and arranges for the distribution of your property. If you worry about finding you’ll want someone else later, don’t. You can change any part of your will at any time.

Estate planning can be a somewhat complicated matter, and it does require good judgment to ensure that you achieve the outcomes you desire. It gives you a choice while you are alive to determine who, what, when, where and how your estate will be handled. It also allows for substantial savings when dealing with tax issues, court costs, and attorney fees. Planning your estate also helps your loved ones avoid the burden of having to deal with bureaucracy and confusion after you pass away.

Planning an estate can be a bit overwhelming. However, a lawyer specializing in estate plans has the knowledge and experience necessary to guide you through the process while. When you have a good plan in place, you are given the peace of mind knowing that all of your affairs will be handled as you wish after you leave this earth.

Learn more about attorney Sean J. Nichols and the legal services he provides for clients including: estate planning, elder law issues, Medicaid planning, elder care, probate law, guardianships, and power of attorney (POA) at www.seanjnichols.com.  To contact the offices of Sean J Nichols call 734.386.0224 today.