People typically equate estate planning to monetary asset transfers, and this is a large part of it, but there is another consideration. You should also take steps to prepare for eventualities that you may face toward the end of your life
Incapacity Among Elders
No one wants to think about this subject, but if you stick your head in the sand, a challenging situation can be that much worse. The Alzheimer’s Association tells us that over 30 percent of people that are 85 years of age and older have contracted the disease.
This is not the only cause of dementia, and some people become unable to communicate their own decisions because of physical health conditions.
Accidents and Illnesses
The need for incapacity planning is not confined to senior citizens. People of all ages get seriously injured in accidents every day, and devastating illnesses can strike at any time.
If you become unable to handle your affairs for any reason, the state could be petitioned to appoint a conservator to act on your behalf. This is a necessary remedy, but most people would prefer to choose their own decision-makers in advance.
Plus, there is another facet to consider. Family members can sometimes disagree about the best course of action, and this can cause hard feelings at a very inopportune time.
Advance Directives for Health Care
You can take the matter into your own hands in advance if you execute the appropriate incapacity planning documents. A living will can be used to record your life support preferences, and you can add organ and tissue donation designations.
Medical decision-making scenarios can arise that are not related to the life-support methods that you addressed in your living will. To account for this possibility, you can name a representative to act on your behalf in a durable power of attorney for health care.
Doctors are bound by privacy provisions that are contained within the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). They have to keep patient medical records confidential.
You should include a HIPAA release to give your representative the ability to access the records and communicate freely with your doctors.
Financial Decision Making
When you discuss your options with an attorney from our firm, you may decide to use a living trust as the centerpiece of your estate plan. If you have this type of trust, you will act as the trustee while you are alive and well.
In the trust declaration, you can name a disability trustee to step into the role if you ever become unable to handle your own affairs. A durable power of attorney for property can be included as well to name someone to manage property that is not held by a trust.
Caregiver Support and the Home and Community Based Services Waiver
There are literally millions of people in the United States providing care for Alzheimer’s patients without being paid. These are typically going to be family members and friends, and of course, people provide help for elders that do not have Alzheimer’s.
At some point, professional assistance may be needed, and Medicare does not pay for in-home care. Fortunately, there is a Medi-Cal Home and Community Based Services waiver that will cover these costs.
Since Medi-Cal is a need-based program, there are income and asset limits. We can help you implement a plan that will lead to future eligibility.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
Today is the day for action if you are going through life without an estate plan that includes an incapacity planning component.
We know that it can be hard to discuss personal matters with an attorney you have just met, and we act accordingly. When you choose our firm, you will find that we have the ability to make people feel comfortable from the start.
You can schedule a consultation at the Oakley Law Group’s estate planning office in Burbank, California if you call us at (818) 937-2335, and you can fill out our contact form if you would rather send us a message.