Articles Posted in Health Care Documents

guardianship-1200x600-300x150“Many of us have experienced the unexpected “telephone call” from a hospital or loved one that a sudden negative medical crisis has occurred, involving a member of your family.”

It’s never a good thing when you get a call and the person on the other end asks if you are sitting down.

A sudden death or medical crisis can turn your world upside down, especially if the person was not prepared with the right documents says The Union in the article “Estate planning in a time of crisis.” Your heart sinks and questions start flooding your mind. Will they survive? How far is the hospital and how fast can you get there? Will they end up in nursing care? Who will be able to help you care for them? Continue reading

heartbeat-163709_640-300x169“An advance directive comes up frequently in conversations about health care decision-making, as people age. Their purpose is to provide written instructions for medical care, in instances where a patient is unable to communicate them herself.”

An advance directive is a legal document that states a person’s preferences for medical treatment and medical decision-making, reports Valley News in an informative article titled “Advance Directives Provide Clear Guidance for Care.” Continue reading

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“The problem is that my parents want to designate me as their power of attorney, for both health care and financial decisions, since I live in their community. Unfortunately, my siblings feel slighted.”

The reader who posed this scenario is not alone in facing siblings who live far away but feel like they are not being included in their parent’s plans. For this family, one sibling lives 500 miles away and another lives 800 miles in the opposite direction. The one daughter who lives in the same community is the logical choice for power of attorney. What can be done? Continue reading

pexels-photo-955389-300x200Do not buy into the myth that estate planning is only relevant for wealthy individuals who need tax planning. A comprehensive estate plan is an easy way to make sure your wishes are followed should you become incapacitated, and upon your death.

One of an estate planning attorney’s main responsibilities is ensuring that clients understand the importance of addressing these matters before they become an issue, reports the New Jersey Herald in the article “The importance of putting plans in writing.”

Continue reading

pexels-photo-748780-300x207Selecting someone to make health care decisions for you when you are unable, requires a great deal of trust and is considered by many to be the most important estate planning tool, according to The Daily News in “Choose Health Care Power of Attorney Carefully.”

The Durable Health Care Power of Attorney—HCPOA—is similar to the general POA in that both can be used to provide your representative with either very broad or very limited acting authority.  However, they are also very different. The HCPOA can be drafted to retain its effectiveness, while you are alive and after you pass away. Continue reading

pexels-photo-630835-300x206Estate planning is important for anyone over the age of 18. It does matter if you have a small or large bank account, if you are a parent or not, or if you are old or young. A typical estate plan includes a will, durable power of attorney and advance health care directive, says the Pensacola News Journal in the article “Let’s Talk About: Estate Planning.”

What makes up an estate? Your home, cars, investments, bank accounts, retirement accounts and any belongings you own. Your will, which is also known as a “Last Will and Testament”, is a way to create a legally binding document with instructions as to who should get these possessions when you have died. Your will should also include directions about who will care for your children, if they are still minors under the legal age of adulthood. Continue reading

pexels-photo-335907-300x201There are some clear benefits to storing your will and documents online. You and your spouse (or other authorized people) can access them anytime, from anywhere. We are used to putting our lives online.  However, there are also some downsides to consider before doing so, according to a helpful article from CNBC titled “Here’s what you need to know before storing your will online.”

It’s good to have all your important documents in one place. Make sure that the people who will need access, such as executors, know that you’ve done so or the cloud storage may well be pointless.

Online storage can also facilitate family conversations about estate planning. Even tech savvy adult children who scoff at parents who don’t engage in social media, will be impressed by a decision to go digital.

However, there are pitfalls. Continue reading

hospital-6-1518170-1279x852-300x200“A bad medical diagnosis can make a person realize that he suddenly has far less time to get his affairs in order. What’s the best way to leave assets to your heirs? Should you pay off your mortgage?”

Receiving a terrifying medical diagnosis of a fatal illness, can leave you and your loved ones stunned and afraid. Once the initial shock has subsided and you have put the emotional and medical resources in place, it will be necessary to address the legal aspects, according to a recent article from CNBC titled “When end-of-life planning is suddenly a lot closer than you thought.” Continue reading

6d40ea6ed7ae7784abf574b8c6174543_300x300-300x200I met today with the children of a woman who is presently residing in a Madison nursing home due to her dementia diagnosis. The children had no idea how long term care and Medicaid financing for long term worked.

They told me that Mom owned a home, three annuities, some cash in the bank, and expensive jewelry and antiques. Their financial advisor referred them to my office. I asked them what they knew about long term care and Medicaid. They said they were starting to “hear things” but they wanted to get the truth.

I told them that if all of the assets stayed in their mother’s name, then their mother would be forced to spend her $475,000 of financial assets until she had less than $2,000 remaining. They told me that their mother was spending about $8,000 per month currently on her care. I also told them that – if Mom keeps everything in her name – then after Mom spends all of her finances, she will qualify for Medicaid, but then Medicaid will have the right to enforce its Medicaid Estate Recovery rights after Mom dies, forcing the house to sold after Mom dies to reimburse Medicaid for what they spent on Mom’s care after Mom spent all of her own money.