About Probate

Author

Charles Kline, P.C.

Posted on

Mar 06, 2023

Book/Edition

Colorado - Western Slope

Simply put, probate is the way that a person’s estate passes to their heirs.  Probate is used to transfer title to any assets you own at the time of your death that is solely in your name and did not pass to someone else by operation of law.


If the person who died (decedent) left a valid Will, a probate court accepts the Will. The personal representative (executor) then has the authority to go about the business of settling the estate. The court doesn’t have to do much, because the Will and other estate plan documents tell the personal representative what to do.


The probate court is even more involved if the decedent did not leave a valid Will. The court will appoint an administrator to settle the estate. Without the guidance of a Will, however, the administration of the estate is much more frustrating, time-consuming, and costly.


Either way, probate is a public proceeding and can take several months or years, often resulting in family fights. Throughout my career, I have witnessed too many families irreparably damaged or destroyed by these preventable conflicts.


To learn more about how to avoid these preventable conflicts, click here. You can call for more information at 970-856-1067.


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Causes of Malnutrition in Seniors to Monitor

The Mayo Clinic (www.mayo.org) states that in addition to financial limitations, physical, social, and psychological factors contribute to senior malnutrition, impeding seniors' ability to maintain a diet that provides the necessary balance of nutrients for healthful living.Below are leading contributing causes of senior malnutrition:Debilitating conditions that limit seniors ability to get out to shop, prepare meals and feed themselvesFixed incomes can prevent seniors from being able to purchase the groceries they need to stay nourished.Difficulty chewing and swallowing as a result of diseases such as Parkinson's, dry mouth caused by some medications, dental conditions, and poorly fitting denturesFrailty due to loss of muscle mass and fat, which can alter body chemistry, diminishing appetite, especially in seniors with serious illnessesMedications, such as some antidepressants, blood pressure, and osteoporosis drugs that diminish appetite alter the flavor of foods, and interfere with absorption of nutrientsReduced absorption of nutrients as a result of some physiological changes due to aging. For instance, in many seniors, reduced production of digestive enzymes and acids interferes with the breakdown of protein and absorption of essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B-12, folate, calcium, and iron. Some illnesses, such as gastrointestinal cancers, diarrhea, and inflammatory bowel disease, can also cause this problem.Diminished sense of taste or smell that often occurs with aging. Some medications and illnesses accelerate or intensify this loss, depriving seniors of some of the pleasure associated with eating. These factors can affect appetite. Bland, medically prescribed diets can have the same effect. Natural flavor enhancers like garlic, onions, and spices can help counteract this.Dementia, which often prevents individuals from recognizing the need to eat. Some people with dementia need to be reminded to swallow.Depression, due to multiple causes such as grief, loneliness, retirement, poor health, and medications. Depression affects about 6 million American seniors.Alcoholism, which is often a hidden problem in the senior population, decreases appetite, destroys nutrients, and negatively affects seniors ability to care for themselves How Comfort Keepers can helpComfort Keepers can provide the assistance needed to help promote heart health, starting with nutrition. Whether a special diet has been prescribed or all required is a healthier meal plan, our caregivers, who we call Comfort Keepers, work with our clients to ensure they benefit from foods that promote optimum wellness.At Comfort Keepers, we believe in Elevating the Human Spirit by providing our clients with both assistance and daily moments of joy. With the help of our trained Comfort Keepers, seniors can enjoy a healthy lifestyle while finding pleasure in the everyday moments that make life worth living.

Dietary Changes as We Age - Comfort Keepers Western Slope

One in three hospital patients is malnourished upon admission and almost one-third of U.S. patients (31 percent) experiences declines in nutritional status while in the hospital.Dietary needs evolve as people age, and seniors need to know how to manage those changes to maintain physical health and wellness. Older adults need to take an active role in shaping their diet and nutrition habits to ensure more energy, better disease prevention and quality of life.Seniors should consult their physician to discuss their individual needs. Healthcare professionals can also help seniors and their families create and implement healthy eating plans.These plans often include:         Increased protein and fiber intake. Protein and fiber are important nutrients for seniors. Foods high in fiber can help maintain healthy digestive systems as we age, and increasing protein intake can help seniors increase or maintain energy and strength.          Whole grains have multiple benefits. Whole grains are also fiber-rich foods that not only aid the digestive process but promote healthy hearts for seniors. Cereal, rice and bread made with whole grains can easily be found at any grocery store and provide several serving choices to meet recommended daily requirements.         Calcium is a key component in maintaining bone strength. Calcium can help prevent osteoporosis, especially when calcium intake is consistent. Preventing osteoporosis is critical for seniors especially those that are at risk for falls.         Hydration is critical at any age. Physical changes that occur with age make hydration even more important for older adults. For those that are less inclined to drink water, there are alternatives milk, juice and broth are all hydrating liquids, and there are hydrating foods including watermelon, cucumbers and grapes. If engaging in good eating habits is a struggle, there are steps seniors can take to ensure that they are getting proper nutrition. In addition to consulting a physician about diet or health concerns they might have, they can also try the following tactics to get back on the right track:         Make meals a social occasion Sharing a meal is one of the most enjoyable ways to ensure that someone is eating well. This can include making something healthy and delicious for others, or reaching out to people that love to cook healthy food and offering them some company at mealtimes.         Make healthy eating fit your budget Good food doesnt have to be expensive. A doctor or nutritionist can point patients to budget friendly, nutritious food options. And maintaining a healthy lifestyle saves money on medical care in the future.         Shop for healthy foods Having a kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and meal options is one of the most important steps to maintaining a balanced diet.          Encourage people to ask for help If someone has concerns about their ability to plan healthy meals, shop for the groceries or if they just arent getting the nutrition they need, tell them to ask for help! In-home caregivers, delivery services, family, friends and medical professionals can all help older adults reach their nutrition goals.Comfort Keepers Can HelpIf someone is struggling to maintain healthy eating habits, consider getting support from the trusted care team at Comfort Keepers. Our caregivers can help with grocery shopping, meal preparation, and can help support physician-prescribed exercise regimens and diets. Our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.ReferencesMayo Clinic. Senior health: How to prevent and detect malnutrition. Web. 2017.Next Avenue, Malnutrition is Affecting Too Many Older Adults. Web. 2016.  Public Health Post. Malnutrition in Older Adults. Web. 2017  Healthline. How Your Nutritional Needs Change as you Age. Web. 2017.

Three Simple Tips to Avoid Probate

Generally, most people are familiar with the term probate. They know that it has something to do with Wills and happens after someone dies. However, what I have found in my 27 years as a practicing attorney, is that it is quite often a mysterious term and that there are many misconceptions about what the probate process actually is and what it entails.Often, I have clients tell me that they want to have a Will so that they can avoid probate. The reality is, the only way that a Will is effective is if it is submitted for probate. Probate is just the general term used to describe the whole process that happens after an individual dies so that someone can be appointed to wrap up the affairs of the decedent. If theres a Will, whomever is named as the executor or personal representative, is formally recognized by the court as the person authorized to handle the affairs of the estate, such as, paying bills and distributing property on behalf of the estate. If there is no Will, but there are assets to be distributed, someone such as a spouse or child can apply to be appointed as the personal representative of the estate to do the same things as if there was a Will appointing an executor or personal representative. However, instead of relying upon the Will for a determination of how the property is distributed, the distribution will be based upon Florida intestate law.Countless times, I have been contacted by a family member who has lost a loved one that needs to get access to funds of the decedent to pay funeral bills or just to resolve a life insurance claim or distribute funds in a bank account. Generally, they call me after they have been advised that they do not have the right to access an account at a bank or brokerage firm as they have not been appointed by the court. In that case, they will have to retain an attorney and go through the probate process to be appointed as the personal representative.Probate is one of the unique areas of the law where you generally cannot represent yourself. Sometimes the funds to be accessed may not even exceed the costs to go through the probate process. Therefore, I want to share three simple tips with you that can help you avoid forcing your loved ones to go through the probate process if your assets are limited or, if you have a loved one with limited assets, so you can assist them in planing accordingly.Bank accounts: Sometimes I will meet with family members of the deceased loved one where the only asset is a bank account and the bank account is only in the decedents name. The only way to get access to the funds is to go through the probate process. However, the time delay and the expenses incurred for filing fees and legal fees could simply have been avoided if the person, while alive, named a beneficiary of that account to be paid upon the death of the account holder. If this procedure is followed, instead of having to go through the probate process, the beneficiary of the account merely needs to present a death certificate to the bank to obtain access to funds.Life insurance policies: Generally, life insurance policies name a beneficiary. However, sometimes they name my estate as the beneficiary. If that is the case, in order to get access to the funds, someone must be appointed as the personal representative of the estate to distribute the funds according to a Will, or if there is no Will, then pursuant to Florida intestacy law. A simple way to avoid this is to make sure that your estate is not named as beneficiary under the policy and to review your policies on an annual basis to make sure you have proper beneficiaries named. If a spouse has passed away, then you may want to update the policy to name your children or other beneficiaries such as a nonprofit organization or church. Again, completing a simple change of beneficiary form is much easier than forcing your family to have to go through the probate process if your life insurance policy is your only asset.Brokerage accounts: I am often surprised that clients are unaware of the opportunity to name beneficiaries on their brokerage accounts. Quite often I have senior clients who may have sold off all their assets and are living in an assisted living facility and their only asset is a brokerage account. Again, because of their failure to name a beneficiary on the account, the family has to go through the expense and time delays associated with probate. If you do have a brokerage account, you should contact your financial adviser to discuss the naming of beneficiaries on that account. Generally you can name an initial beneficiary and contingent beneficiary.Although there are many other probate avoidance mechanisms that can get quite complex, especially when looking to avoid tax consequences for estates over $5 million, quite often these three tips will help a large number of individuals. Plan to review your assets and talk to your parents about their assets and what they have done to avoid the probate process.While its a topic that no one likes to talk about, once someone has passed, its too late and nothing can be done. If you would like a complimentary consultation regarding your current estate planning or if you do not have an estate plan and would like to learn more, please give us a call at 941-206-3700 to schedule an appointment or to request our FREE Special Report on Five Tips to Avoid a Family Tragedy

Local Services By This Author

Charles Kline, P.C.

Retirement Planning , , Colorado, 00000

With over 30 years as a Colorado-specific estate planning attorney, you can trust Mr. Kline to advise and implement estate planning for any and all small or large estates. From simple wills to family trusts to probate administration, a free consultation will determine the appropriate steps to avoid probate and estate taxation. If the estate is in probate or will need to be filed there, representation is needed; this will ensure that all steps to comply and survive the probate system are successful.Mr. Kline has long-standing knowledge of the law and procedure of Colorado estate planning and probate practice. Estate planning is uncomfortable for most of us to think about; if you tackle this inevitable issue now, you are free from the nagging sense that you are procrastinating at your own (and your beneficiaries) peril. It costs nothing to contact Mr. Kline for a free phone consultation. A sense of relief will set in immediately...you are finally taking care of it.

Charles Kline, PC

Estate Planning 15586 2525 Road, Cedaredge, Colorado, 81413

With over 30 years as a Colorado-specific estate planning attorney, you can trust Mr. Kline to advise and implement estate planning for any and all small or large estates. From simple wills to family trusts to probate administration, a free consultation will determine the appropriate steps to avoid probate and estate taxation. If the estate is in probate or will need to be filed there, representation is needed; this will ensure that all steps to comply and survive the probate system are successful.Mr. Kline has long-standing knowledge of the law and procedure of Colorado estate planning and probate practice. Estate planning is uncomfortable for most of us to think about; if you tackle this inevitable issue now, you are free from the nagging sense that you are procrastinating at your own (and your beneficiaries) peril. It costs nothing to contact Mr. Kline for a free phone consultation. A sense of relief will set in immediately...you are finally taking care of it.

Charles Kline, P.C.

Elder Law 15586 2525 Road, Cedaredge, Colorado, 81413

With over 30 years as a Colorado-specific estate planning attorney, you can trust Mr. Kline to advise and implement estate planning for any and all small or large estates. From simple wills to family trusts to probate administration, a free consultation will determine the appropriate steps to avoid probate and estate taxation. If the estate is in probate or will need to be filed there, representation is needed; this will ensure that all steps to comply and survive the probate system are successful. Mr. Kline has long-standing knowledge of the law and procedure of Colorado estate planning and probate practice. Estate planning is uncomfortable for most of us to think about; if you tackle this inevitable issue now, you are free from the nagging sense that you are procrastinating at your own (and your beneficiaries) peril. It costs nothing to contact Mr. Kline for a free phone consultation. A sense of relief will set in immediately...you are finally taking care of it.