Articles Tagged with Capacity

Pen-calendar-to-do-checklistThis grim topic deserves your attention. If you haven’t made plans for what will happen after you die, your loved ones will have to pick up the pieces.

Here’s the nice part about this serious subject: once you have created an estate plan, you will have a clearer understanding of what the future will hold for your heirs. You’ll know that you did the right thing, and that you didn’t just leave the ones you love to clean up a mess. That’s just one reason to have an estate plan.

If you need more reasons, here’s what happens if you don’t have a plan, as recently outlined in The San Diego Tribune’s recent article, 6 estate-planning mistakes to avoid. Without an estate plan, everything is more stressful and expensive. Let’s look at the top six estate-planning mistakes that people need to avoid:

2.11.19Gun owners, you may own guns to protect your family or because you admire the workmanship or history of firearms. However, without a gun trust, your heirs may face a surprising consequence.

Mistakes with inherited IRA accounts can become expensive, but the penalty is financial. Inherit a gun collection without the necessary permits, and you could unwittingly commit a felony. Gun collectors need to prepare their heirs, if they intend to pass on their firearms, and they may also need a gun trust.

Kiplinger’s recent article, “Own a Gun? Careful: You Might Need a Gun Trust,” explains that a gun trust is the common name for a revocable or irrevocable management trust that’s created to take title to firearms.

1.24.19Among the top three reasons for an estate plan are to make sure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, helping your loved ones from having to pay more taxes than necessary and if possible, avoiding having your estate go through probate.

When there are minor children or family members with special needs, it’s critical to have an estate plan, advises the Capital Press in the article, “Ag Finance: Why you need to do estate planning.”

While it’s likely that most adult children can work things out, even if it’s costly and time-consuming in probate, minor young children need protection. Wills are frequently written, so the estate goes to the child when he or she reaches age 18. However, few teens can manage big property at that age. A trust can help, by directing that the property will be held for the child by a trustee or executor until a set age, like 25 or 30.

1.8.19There are a number of different estate planning documents that are easily confused, including “Power of Attorney.” Let’s get a look at the different types of “Power of Attorney,” and what they do.

Of the estate planning documents, most people have heard of a will and some have a health care proxy. The Power of Attorney is effective while you are still living, and is also known as a “Durable Power of Attorney” because it is effective, or durable, even after you become incapacitated. Your will only becomes effective when you die.

The Times Herald says in the article “Powers of attorney good for life and beyond” that there are two general types of powers of attorney, one for financial matters and the other for health care matters. They shouldn’t be combined in a single document, because they have different legal requirements. Unless they say otherwise in the document, powers of attorney don’t expire until the creator does. However, there are a few powers in both financial and health care powers of attorney that can survive the person who created the document.

12.28.18If you live far from your hometown, you may be used to seeing large changes in aging parents from year to year. However, if you are involved in their day to day life, you may not notice the changes, or they may seem to come and go.

When you are close to your parents, it’s hard to judge their competency accurately. Your dad, who was the perfect driver, suddenly isn’t quite as good behind the wheel as he used to be. Or your mother, who never left the house without being perfectly groomed, seems to have become a little casual about her appearance. They aren’t big changes, but the change is rarely sudden.

Other examples can be if your father forget to pay a bill…. or forgot that you called him yesterday. You recognize all this and ask if he is okay. He doesn’t think there’s a problem.

12.21.18Don’t have a medical directive, or don’t remember the last time you reviewed it? That means it’s time. We never know when an emergency or sudden onset illness will strike.

The biggest problem with medical directives, is getting people to confront the concept of being incapacitated or near death. Once you get past the emotional response, then a clear head and rational thinking make taking care of these important documents easier. However, they have to be updated, just like your will.

Your medical directive sets out what kind of care you want, when you are near death. A health care power of attorney names a person who will be empowered to make medical decisions on your behalf, if you cannot. These are tough concepts to wrap your head around, but very necessary. Without them, family members and doctors won’t know what you want. However, is what you wanted at age 30, the same as what you want at age 80? Maybe not.

12.20.18Remember that estate planning is not just for the wealthy, and now that the federal exemption is so high, not just for the billionaires either. Estate planning is also much more than a will.

Your estate plan has a lot of work to do for you, both while you are alive and for your family when you have passed. A good article that explains it all comes from Investopedia, “How to Get Your Estate Plan on Track.” There are three key objectives that your estate plan needs to do:

  • End-of-life health care decisions are documented in a legally binding document;

10.16.18“Solo agers or Elder Orphans face unique challenges, as their needs begin to change.”

Did you know that a study from the Pew Research Center says about 20% of the 75 million baby boomers don’t have children—a figure that’s double what it was in the 1970s and one that’s expected to keep rising.

We mention this because these people need someone to count on to always be there, if they need help making decisions and managing their affairs as they get older.

9.6.18She says her father was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and that’s why he cut her out of the will. However, she also hadn’t seen or spoken to him for more than two decades.

There’s a big estate battle brewing in Britain, where the 61-year-old daughter of Reg Grundy, Kim Robin Grundy, is challenging her father’s second wife with a will contest. Kim, who goes by the name Viola La Valette, is after part of her father’s $900 million estate. The fact that she refused to see him, even while he was supporting her, is not making her a popular figure.

Starts at 60’s article, “Reg Grundy’s daughter says he had Alzheimer’s when he cut her from will,” says that the TV tycoon, who was responsible for Australian shows like Neighbours and Wheel of Fortune, died in May 2016 at the age of 92. He left the majority of his estate to his wife.

Buzz-Aldrin-FFFEven when planning for competency issues is in place, there can still be problems. When a highly-intelligent public figure makes decisions his kids thinks are wrong, who is right?

The case of Buzz Aldrin, who is taking his son and daughter to court on charges of fraud, conspiracy and exploitation of the elderly, is a tough one. He’s accusing his adult children and his longtime manager of slandering him, by telling others he has dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases, using his money for their own gain and undermining romantic relationships.

The 88-year-old astronaut’s lawsuit illustrates the reason it's important for families to plan ahead for an aging parent. However, cases like Aldrin's can be hard, because it can be difficult to determine when someone has a deteriorating mental capacity, explains Good 4 Utah in the recent article, “Buzz Aldrin lawsuit shows need to plan for aging parents.”

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