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Mayfield Heights Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

How to talk to your parents about estate planning

It may be difficult to talk about estate planning with your parents. Your parents may be uncomfortable thinking about death, and the thought of losing independence as they age may be frightening.

However, if your parents wait too long to begin estate planning, there may be fewer options available to them, and you could end up exhausting time and money making sure your parents and their assets are cared for. This is why it is important to discuss estate planning with your parents early enough that an appropriate plan can be put in place.

How can you choose a power of attorney?

A durable power of attorney, known as a POA, is one of the most, if not the most, important documents in your estate plan. This document assigns a person as the representative who will act on your behalf if you are not able to do so. They may manage your business and financial transactions on your behalf.

Another kind of POA, a health care POA, is also known as your medical power of attorney. This person's job is different from a traditional power of attorney, because they are in control of your medical decisions if you can't make them for yourself. For example, if you are in a collision and are comatose, the medical POA has the right to make decisions regarding your care.

E-wills becoming more popular, but be cautious

Electronic wills are a new kind of will that might be more prominent as the digital age continues to grow and influence people in today's society. Electronic wills offer people the ability to create a will online and print it.

Right now, most wills are created digitally, printed and signed in person. However, digital signatures are becoming more common, which does expose wills to the potential for abuse. Someone who wants to write a new will could essentially do so by using an electronic signature of the person they're impersonating.

Make a plan for your long-term health care needs

Everyone is going to age. As a result, it's necessary to take steps to plan for aging. Long-term care planning is the formal name for the legal process of planning for your care once you reach elder status. It is the plan you make that covers your need for a nursing home, in-home health care or other services.

One of the first questions to ask yourself is how much you need to save. The next step is finding out what kinds of services you may need.

Should you set up a revocable trust?

If you are beginning to plan your estate, one beneficial type of trust to consider setting up is the revocable trust. A revocable trust is one where you can alter or cancel the provisions after you set it up. Unlike the irrevocable trust, this gives you more opportunities if you need to change the terms of the trust.

Throughout the life of the trust, you'll be able to have the income earned distributed to you directly. Once you pass away, however, the money or assets pass on to your beneficiaries.

Get the help you need as a new executor

If you are left as an executor of an estate, your job is to administer the estate and make sure the distribution of assets goes smoothly. This is not always an easy job. You have many things you have to do before you can divide out property to the heirs of the estate.

As the executor of an estate, you are burdened with representing the decedent. That means that you have to keep their wishes in mind while also managing to follow all the rules and regulations pertaining to the estate.

Plan for long-term care when young to prepare your finances

Preparing for long-term care is something everyone will have to do at one point or another. The reality is that it's better to do it as soon as you can. If you begin to plan for long-term care in your youth, it's a relief to know that you're going to be cared for no matter what happens.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that around 70 percent of people will require long-term care of some kind after the age of 65. Some factors that play a role in whether a person needs long-term care or not include:

  • Lifestyle choices
  • Health and family history
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Gender

Explaining who can see a will after a testator dies

Have you ever wondered what happens when the testator of a will dies?

First off, who is a testator? A testator is the person who creates a will. Unlike what happens on television and in the movies, there is no official reading of a testator's will after he or she dies. So, let's take a look at what actually happens after a testator dies so you can prepare for what's next.

Understanding Alzheimer's: Key facts

One of the main reasons to do long-term care planning is so that you know you will be taken care of if you end up with a disorder like Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's, a form of dementia, can dramatically change your life and make it difficult or even impossible to make important personal choices after it strikes. Having a plan in place in advance gives you peace of mind because you know you are ready.

To help you understand Alzheimer's, here are a few important facts:

  • About one-third of all seniors will have dementia or Alzheimer's in their life.
  • Fatal cases are only growing more common, as they rose by 123 percent from 2000 to 2015.
  • Overall, it ranks as the sixth leading cause of death for people in the United States.
  • The costs of care measure in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
  • By 2050, financial and medical experts believe these costs may exceed a trillion dollars.
  • A new case is diagnosed every 65 seconds, or just a bit over single minute.
  • Right now, nearly 6 million people have the disease. By 2050, projections indicate it could be as many as 14 million.
  • 10 percent of people have the disorder by the time they reach 65 years old.

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