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What happens when I can no longer make medical and financial decisions.
If the power to make decisions is ever not your own, ensure you have nominated the right people through Powers of Attorney, making them legally responsible for acting on your behalf. Otherwise, court proceedings determine who makes decisions for you. Understanding how the process works and your rights and responsibilities is critical.
Do I need an estate plan? Everyone needs proper documentation in place sharing your wishes. How do you want assets distributed? Are there special considerations, disabilities, or beneficiaries needing more support? With the right planning many of these can be addressed.
Is probate avoidable? Probate is the court procedure by which assets are transferred after death to those named in a Will, or to people listed in Colorado’s inheritance statutes. The proceedings are public and can take 8 to 12 months or more, even in the simplest of cases. Trust planning can help avoid probate,
simplifying the process for your loved ones.
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Andrew P. Stone, Esq. Andrew is the principal attorney with Stone Law, LLC and may be reached at 877-897-6591 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
If youre part of a blended family (meaning you are married with children from a prior marriage in the mix), youre no stranger to the extra considerations and planning it takes to keep your familys life running smoothly from which parent your children will be with for the holidays to figuring out the schedule for a much-needed family vacation. Youve also probably given some thought to what you want to happen to your assets and your family if something happens to you. But what you might not have realized is this: If you dont create a plan for your assets before you die, the law has its own plan for you that might not reflect your wishes for your assets, especially your retirement assets. And if youre in a blended family, this can have a significant financial impact on the ones you love and even create expensive, long-term conflict.This week, we explain how the law affects retirement distributions for married couples, and why you need to be extra careful with your retirement planning if youre in a blended family to ensure your retirement account assets go to the right people in the right amounts after youre gone.Be Aware of How ERISA Affects 401K DistributionsIf youve remarried, you and your new spouse have probably talked about updating the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts to reflect your blended family arrangement. (If you havent talked about it, you need to talk about it ASAP). Sometimes, people who are remarried decide to leave their retirement funds to their children from a prior marriage and leave other assets like their house and savings accounts to their current spouse. You may do this to avoid future conflict between your spouse and your children over your assets.But even if you want to leave your retirement for just your children, if youre married and your retirement account is a work-sponsored account, your children wont inherit the entire account even if you name them as the sole beneficiaries. Thats because the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) governs most employer-sponsored pensions and retirement accounts. Under ERISA, if youre married at the time of your death, your spouse is automatically entitled to receive 50 percent of the value of your employer-sponsored plan even if your beneficiary designations say otherwise.The only time that your surviving spouse would not inherit half of your ERISA-governed retirement account is if your spouse signs an official Spousal Waiver saying they are affirmatively waiving their right to inherit 50 percent of the account, or if the account beneficiary is a Trust of which your spouse is a primary beneficiary. IRAs Have Different Rules Than 401KsIf you want your children to inherit more than 50 percent of your work-sponsored retirement benefits, and completing a Spousal Waiver isnt an option, consider rolling the account into a personal IRA instead.In contrast to 401(k)s and similar employer-sponsored plans, IRAs are controlled by state law instead of ERISA. That means that your spouse is not automatically entitled to any part of your IRA. When you roll a 401(k) into an IRA, you gain the flexibility to name anyone you choose as the designated beneficiary, with or without your spouses consent. On the other hand, if you want to ensure your spouse receives half of your retirement savings, make sure to include them as a 50 percent beneficiary or better yet, have your individual retirement account payout to a Trust instead. With a Trust, you can:Document exactly how much of your retirement you want each of your loved ones to receiveControl when they receive the funds outrightEasily update and change the terms of your Trust without having to remember to update your financial accounts.Beneficiary Designations Always Trump Your WillWhether you have an employer-sponsored 401K or an IRA you manage yourself, there is one critical rule that everyone needs to know: beneficiary designations trump your Will.A Will is an important estate planning tool, but most people dont know that beneficiary designations override whatever your Will says about a particular asset. For example, if your Will states that you want your retirement account to be passed on to your brother, but the beneficiary designation on the account says you want it to go to your sister, your sister will inherit the account, even though your Will says otherwise.Similarly, lets imagine that you get divorced and as part of your divorce decree your ex-spouse agrees that they will not have any right to your retirement fund. However, after the divorce, you forget to take their name off of the beneficiary designation for the account. If you die before updating the beneficiary designation, your former spouse will inherit your retirement account. If you forget to update your ERISA-controlled account and have remarried, your current spouse would receive half of the account and your former spouse would receive the other half. Thats why its so important to work with an estate planning attorney who can make sure your accounts are set up with the proper beneficiary designations and ensure that your assets are passed on according to your wishes.Work With An Attorney Who Makes Sure All Your Assets Will Be Passed On How You Want Them ToUnderstanding how the law affects different types of assets is essential to creating an estate plan. But theres more to it than just having a lawyer you need an attorney who takes the time to really understand your family and your assets so they can design a custom plan that achieves your goals for your assets and your legacy. Thats why we help our clients create an inventory of all of their assets to ensure that every asset they hold is accounted for and passed on to their loved ones exactly as they want it to.Contact Entrusted Legacy Law at 412-347-1731.
When it comes to caring for an older person, someone leaving hospital, or someone who has a disability, it can be difficult to know what resources are available to you. You may wonder if your loved one needs to enter a rehab facility, hospital, or nursing home or if they are eligible for home care services, allowing them to stay in familiar and comfortable surroundings.At ComForCare, we offer a range of flexible home care services to meet the needs of many people who could use a helping hand. If youre interested in learning whether home care could be right for your family, read on for some of the many ways we offer support in the home.In-Home Senior CareHome Care is a service that provides support for the day-to-day activities of living. Older adults who need a helping hand to stay on top of household duties, personal care, meal preparation, and similar activities are great candidates for home care services. An in-home caregiver can help older adults maintain their independence in the comfort and safety of a familiar space. Nearly 90% of adults over 65 want to age in place, staying in their homes and communities as long as possible. With in-home elderly care services, that dream can be a reality for many.Transitional CareWhen a loved one is moving from a hospital, rehabilitation center, or skilled nursing facility to home, providing a safe transition is crucial. Seniors are at an elevated risk of hospital readmission and other hazards after hospitalization. In fact, people ages 65 and over account for about 56% of 30-day readmissions after discharge from care facilities. Transitional care, otherwise known as short-term services, can help support seniors during this critical time. ComForCares professional caregivers are advocates for their clients health, and they can:Assist with personal care, such as bathing and groomingHelp implement discharge instructions from doctorsPick up prescriptions and provide medication remindersHelp schedule and attend follow-up medical appointmentsReduce fall and injury risks with home safety recommendationsRespite Care & Short-Term CareSometimes, older adults who live at home receive the care they need from family members. While this arrangement can be wonderful, it can also be taxing on their loved ones. Up to 35% of family caregivers rate their health as fair or poor, which can lead to burnout. To ensure that you are providing the best possible care for your family member, you need time to take care of yourself! Thats where respite and short-term care come in. Hiring a professional caregiver temporarily can give you the time you need to recharge, refresh, and resetwhether for a weeks vacation or just a weekend break. This service can also help provide a fresh perspective so you dont have to feel alone in the care and keeping of your loved one.Disability ManagementThough in-home care is most often associated with seniors, many adults with disabilities also need compassionate, hands-on care. Whether your loved ones disabilities are physical or cognitive, institutions cant always provide the kind of personalized one-on-one care that your family member needs.Advocates and researchers have seen the positive impact that home and community-based services make in the lives of people with disabilities. At ComForCare, our disability management services can help make that difference in your family members life. We provide care services including, but not limited to:Light housekeepingHelp with hygiene and incontinence careMeal preparationTransportation assistanceAlzheimer's and Dementia CareMany people believe that once an older person is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia, they cant live at home anymore. However, with ComForCares unique approach, DementiaWise, we can give older adults the freedom to remain at home as long as possible. With flexible scheduling, personalized care, and meaningful activities that keep your loved one engaged, calm, happy and utilizing their remaining abilities, you can rest assured that your family member is living their best life, physically and mentally.Find the Best Home Care ServiceNow that you know who a good candidate for home care services is, its time to find the best team to look after your loved one. At ComForCare, we continually strive to provide the most compassionate, consistent and competent care to those who need it. With flexible care options suited to each individuals needs, well care for your loved one like family. ComForCare: Long or Short-Term Home Care with Joy and Dignity. If you have any questions, please call 720-575-5576.
At Stone Law, LLC we support you and your family with any aging and disability concerns. We can help make sure you have a solid plan for these and other 'what ifs' to give you peace of mind. Our primary goal is to advocate for the elderly so no one can take advantage or manipulate a situation to their benefit. We aim to make sure your needs and wishes are met. We will always be sensitive to your needs and emotions. We also recognize that issues and concerns are broader than simply addressing legal needs and can facilitate partnerships with other helpful agencies. At Stone Law, we get to know you and your family so we can help you create a customized plan that helps everyone be on the same page.
At Stone Law, LLC we support you and your family with any aging and disability concerns. We can help make sure you have a solid plan for these and other 'what ifs' to give you peace of mind. Our primary goal is to advocate for the elderly so no one can take advantage or manipulate a situation to their benefit. We aim to make sure your needs and wishes are met. We will always be sensitive to your needs and emotions as you age. We also recognize that issues and concerns are broader than simply addressing legal needs and can facilitate partnerships with other helpful agencies. At Stone Law, we get to know you and your family so we can help you create a customized estate plan that will pass along your estate exactly the way you want it.