What Are Elder Law and Special Needs Planning?Elder law and special needs planning involve preparing for expected and unexpected life circumstances, including the possibility of becoming incapacitated as well as protecting and providing for future needs of loved ones with disabilities.At its core, Elder Law focuses on the unique needs of older persons and practice areas that address issues of concern for aging adults, adults with disabilities/incapacity, their families and caregivers. Unlike traditional estate planning, Elder Law begins by assisting you with issues associated with a long and healthy life, rather than simply planning for death. It mixes legal and practical issues such as being able to continue residing in your home if you had a chronic condition, having someone help in managing your finances, and not becoming a victim of financial abuse in the process. Elder law endeavors to help you solve the problem of not knowing what you dont know.Special Needs Law focuses on solving legal problems for individuals with special needs and their caregivers. Although there is no uniform definition of special needs, the phrase describes individuals with a wide variety of physical or mental conditions who require assistance with personal care needs, activities of daily living, paying bills, managing finances, etc., who may be vulnerable to and need protection from exploitation or abuse, and who may need access to public benefits or any number of other types of assistance. If you currently provide care for a child or loved one with special needs (such as mental or physical disabilities), you must have contemplated what may happen to him or her when you are no longer able to serve as the caregiver. Frequently, parents and grandparents are concerned about how their children and grandchildren will be cared for after the parents or grandparents deaths and want to plan in advance to protect their special needs loved one. Elder Law and Special Needs Planning encompass many different fields of law, including, for example: Disability planning, durable powers of attorney, living trusts, advance directives, other tools to delegate management and decision-making to another in case of incompetency or incapacity Estate planning, including the management of finances and assets during life and disposition on death using trusts, wills, and other instruments Special/Supplemental Needs Trusts Conservatorships and guardianships Long-term care planning and placements Trust and probate/estate administration Elder abuse and financial exploitation Medicaid planning Retirement and Social Security planningWhen each day seems to present a new challenge, thinking about the future can be overwhelming. A plan can help break things down into achievable pieces. No matter what age or stage, it is getting started that counts.This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.This article was submitted by Ashley Day, Esq., A Day Law, LLC. Reach her at 251-277-3377.
Basics of Reverse Home MortgageA reverse home mortgage is a type of loan that allows homeowners to access a portion of their home equity without having to sell their home or make monthly mortgage payments. Unlike a traditional mortgage, the loan balance of a reverse mortgage increases over time and is typically only repaid when the homeowner sells the home or passes away.Differences from Traditional Mortgage Reverse mortgages do not require monthly mortgage payments, while traditional mortgages do. The loan balance of a reverse mortgage increases over time, while the loan balance of a traditional mortgage decreases over time as payments are made. Reverse mortgages are typically only repaid when the homeowner sells the home or passes away, while traditional mortgages are repaid over a set term. A Financial Solution for Seniors For seniors, a reverse mortgage can be a great financial solution. It allows them to access the equity in their homes without selling or giving up ownership. Reverse mortgages are also a great way to supplement retirement income. They provide a steady stream of funds that can be used to cover living expenses. With a reverse mortgage, seniors can enjoy their retirement years and have peace of mind knowing they have a reliable source of income.Reverse mortgages are also a great way to pass on wealth to heirs. The loan is paid off from the sale of the home, and the remaining equity is passed on to the heirs.Eligible homeowners obtain reverse mortgages for many reasons including: Repairing or modifying the home to meet the physical needs of getting older Supplementing retirement income to meet expenses Managing the costs of in-home care Paying off an existing mortgage Paying increased bills due to inflation and economy Paying property Taxes Delaying Social Security Providing a source of funds for living expenses in lieu of liquidating financial investments during times of market downturn or disruption Helping retirement savings last longer Purchasing a retirement home Recent ClientsA retired couple in their late 60s, John and Susan, were struggling to make ends meet on a fixed income, due to inflation and the cost of living increasing. They had significant equity in their home but were hesitant to sell it and downsize because of the current real estate market. They decided to explore a reverse mortgage as an option to access their home's equity without having to sell it. The reverse mortgage allowed John and Susan to access their home's equity and use the funds to pay off their existing mortgage and cover their increased living expenses. They were able to stay in their home and maintain their quality of life, without having to worry about making monthly mortgage payments. Mary Anne, a retired infusion nurse, suffered some medical challenges and her insurance did not cover all of her additional expenses. She decided a reverse mortgage was her best option. It allowed her funds to seek non-traditonal treatment and was able to eliminate the financial stress in her life, allowing her body to heal.A retired widow in his late 70s, James wants to stay in his home as long as possible. His home was mortgage free and he intends to leave it to his two children who live out of state. The reverse mortgage allowed him to access his home's equity and use the funds to make the modifications to continue staying in the home unassisted.It allows him the peace of mind knowing the has additional money to pay an in-home care giver if and when he needs one.He is able to stay in his own home and now worry about being a burden on his out of state children. He expressed to me that feeling of relief is priceless.This article was submitted by Nicole Cramer with Anchor Funding, Inc. Contact Nicole at 251-349-9891 or email her at email@example.com for more information about whether a reverse mortgage can work for you.
Lets chat about Powers of Attorney. While the information contained in this post might be applicable to you, it might also be applicable to your elderly relatives, so, read this with them in mind.You may be asking yourself (i) what is a Power of Attorney, and (ii) why would I need it? A Power of Attorney is a document that gives a person authority to act on your behalf, thus becoming your Attorney-in-Fact. The Power of Attorney document can be very specific or very broad. You can give your Attorney-in-Fact the power to handle your bank accounts, sell your real property, run your business or apply for public benefits. Or you can give them the specific power to sell one piece of property.Why do you need one? Because its a simple tool that allows your Attorney-in-Fact to handle your financial matters without entering into more complicated agreements, like a Trust. The Power of Attorney helps eliminate the need for a guardian or conservator. You should pick someone you trust to hold the legal authority to make decisions should you experience an unforeseen event like a stroke or car accident.There are four types of Powers of Attorney: A General Power of Attorney: allows the Attorney-in-Fact to act as you in dealing with financial accounts and managing personal finances. However, it is terminated upon your incapacitation. It can also be revoked. A Durable Power of Attorney: allows the Attorney-in-Fact to act on your behalf and includes a durability clause that keeps the Power of Attorney in place after you become incapacitated. A Special or Limited Power of Attorney: this is when you have given the Attorney-in-Fact very specific powers which limit their authority and responsibility.A Springing Durable Power of Attorney: this only becomes effective upon your incapacitation. In Utah, a Power of Attorney is considered durable unless it expressly states that it terminates upon your incapacitation. As is so whenever you write a legal document, you have choices to make. So, you need to be clear about what you truly want your Power of Attorney to do for you. Some additional important points about Powers of Attorney are:The power must be given, it is not something you can obtain over someone on your own.In order to create one, you must have the legal capacity to understand the authority that you are assigning to someone.The Attorney-in-Fact only has the authority to do those things that are designated in the document.The appointed person must make decisions the way you want. They cannot follow their own desires when representing you.Once again, while you could certainly benefit from a Power of Attorney, there might be someone in your life who needs one right now. Whether you would like to have a Power of Attorney ready for use in the future, or whether you have a loved one who could benefit from one right now, call us today to set up your free consultation.