If you have a loved one who has become incapacitated, as a result of Alzheimer’s or simply the natural aging process, seeking guardianship may be your only option if you wish to keep them and their assets safe. A guardianship is a relationship established by a court of law between the person who needs help, referred to as the “ward,” and the person or entity named by the court to help the ward, known as the “Guardian.” Considered the option of last resort because of its restrictive nature, … [Read more...] about Is there anything I can do if a loved one becomes incapacitated and they failed to plan ahead?
One of the most commonly used incapacity planning tools is a revocable living trust. When used to plan for the possibility of incapacity it works by allowing you to appoint yourself as the Trustee of the trust and appoint someone of your choosing as the successor Trustee. Your estate assets are then transferred into the trust. Because you are the Trustee, you continue to control those assets just as before; however, if you become incapacitated the successor Trustee (chosen by you) takes over as … [Read more...] about Is a revocable living trust a helpful incapacity planning tool?
An advance directive is a legal document that allows you to plan ahead and make your own end-of life wishes known in the event that you are unable to communicate those wishes at some later time and/or appoint someone to make decisions for you. State law dictates what types of advance directives are recognized in the state. New Hampshire recognizes two types of advanced directives, including: Power of Attorney for Health Care which allows you to appoint someone as your Agent to make … [Read more...] about What is an Advance Directive?
A Power of Attorney is a legal agreement that allows you (the “Principal”) to grant another person (your “Agent”) the legal authority to act in your place in legal matters. That authority can be general, allowing your Agent almost unfettered power to act on your behalf, or limited, only granting your Agent the authority to act on your behalf in specific situations or for a designated period of time. While a Power of Attorney can be a helpful incapacity planning tool, it has some drawbacks, … [Read more...] about Does executing a Power of Attorney solve my problems?
By incorporating an incapacity plan into your comprehensive estate plan you are able to use legal strategies and tools that collectively determine who will control your assets and make important decisions for you in the event you are ever incapacitated. It allows you to make crucial decisions now instead of a judge making them for you later or deciding who will make them for you. … [Read more...] about What can incapacity planning do to help?
Who will control your assets during a period of incapacity creates the same dilemma as who will make healthcare decision for you – and may cause the same divide within your family. In the absence of a plan that gives someone the legal right to control your assets, a court will likely be forced to appoint someone. That person may – or may not – be someone you would want taking over control of your assets. … [Read more...] about Who will control my assets if I become incapacitated?
Many people fail to plan for incapacity because they mistakenly believe this to be the case. The reality is that even if you are married there is no guarantee that it will be your spouse or a family member making serious, even life or death, healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to make them. Sometimes, more than one family member believes that he/she should be the one making those decisions. The result is a court battle that could result in a family feud that leaves the family … [Read more...] about Won’t my spouse or another family member automatically be able to step in and make decisions?
Do not make the common mistake of associating incapacity with the elderly. Incapacity is very much a concern for the young as well. In fact, prior to around age 40 you are three times more likely to become incapacitated than you are to die. One in four of today’s 20-year-olds can expect to be out of work for at least a year because of a disabling condition before they reach retirement age. If you care what happens to you and your assets in the event incapacity does strike, you need to plan for … [Read more...] about Why do I need to plan for incapacity?
Yes! Although you may decide to use a trust as your primary method of distributing your estate assets, you should still have at least a “Pour Over Will” in place. A Pour Over Will is used to catch any assets that are inadvertently left out of the trust because they were purchased just prior to your death or were simply overlooked. Without a Pour Over Will, assets left out of the trust could cause your estate to wind up in intestate administration. … [Read more...] about If I have a trust do I still need a Will?
A trust can help achieve a wide range of estate planning goals, including: Avoiding probate Incapacity planning Asset protection Medicaid planning Planning for parents with minor children Special needs planning Pet planning … [Read more...] about What are some of the common reasons to include a trust in your estate plan?