Estate planning for the elderly and ill

Estate planning is all about putting together a collection of legal documents, a kind of “blueprint” that provides information and instructions about the disposition of your estate during your lifetime and after your death. 

Careful and thoughtful planning ensures that your assets will be transferred to your beneficiaries per your wishes, and that the right decisions will be made if you become incapacitated and can no longer communicate your wishes.

If you are elderly, chronically ill, or disabled and have been putting off estate planning, establishing an estate plan quickly is essential before you become incapacitated, physically and/or mentally, and are no longer able to do so. By putting it off, your family could be burdened with the stress and expense of your estate having to go through probate. In addition, an estate plan could help reduce the tax burden on your family.

By making a will, you are documenting your final wishes, who inherits what and who will carry out your wishes. And you can name a guardian if you have minor children or pets.

Going beyond a simple will

In addition to making a will, many people choose to set up a revocable living trust, an estate planning tool into which you transfer any or all assets that will go directly to the beneficiaries you name and will bypass the probate process. You retain control over your assets during your lifetime with the option to amend or revoke the trust.

There are several other types of trusts that can be used in planning your estate, but you will want to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine what would be best for your particular situation.

Estate planning can be a difficult and uncomfortable topic to discuss with loved ones when you’re elderly or seriously ill. But by communicating your desires and creating a plan, you can feel confident that everything will be taken care of should you become incapacitated and at the end of your life.

Establishing a Power of Attorney

Another important document to include in estate planning for the elderly or chronically ill  is a Power of Attorney. There are 2 main types of POAs: durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) for health care and durable financial Power of Attorney.

The health care power of attorney, also referred to as a medical power of attorney, allows a person to nominate an individual of their choosing to oversee all health care decisions if they become incapacitated.

A financial DPOA grants authority over your finances to a trusted individual so that they can have access, for example, to your checking account to pay your mortgage, credit card bills, and other expenses, and make financial decisions  on your behalf.

Now is the time to prepare an estate plan because you may not be able to do so in the future. Our law firm provides an array of legal services for all of your estate planning needs.