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Planning Ahead Can Help Resolve Complex Legal Matters

When someone loses their capacity to make decisions for themselves due to sudden injury or illness, their family members may have a difficult time dealing with the stress of helping them get through the health crisis. They may also experience surprising legal situations that could have been avoided. Unless the right documents are in place, concerned family members may not be able to find out anything at all about their loved-one’s medical condition. Choices about medical care might be appointed to someone that the incapacitated person would not want involved. And if someone wants to help an ailing person keep up with their finances and pay their bills, they’ll need legal authorization to do so.

When someone dies, it can get even messier. In absence of a will or trust, probate processes and laws will dictate how to handle assets. Possibly much different than anyone would prefer.

Everyone should have the following documents prepared and available in case of their death or changes to their health. All documents should be reviewed from time to time to be sure they are current.

Will- A set of instructions that explain how to distribute probate assets after death

Trust- Transfers assets into a legal structure that may help reduce the costs and length of time to settle an estate

Property Titles- Certain property can be recorded in a way that takes precedence over a Will or Trust

Durable Power of Attorney for Finances- Appoints someone to take care of business and make financial decisions in case of temporary or permanent disability

Advanced Health Care Directives- Directs someone’s healthcare-related wishes. For example “Do Not Resuscitate” orders

HIPAA Release Form- Authorizes the release of medical information

Having these important documents for seniors in place can assure the wishes someone has about the care of their assets and their medical treatment, is handled in the manner they prefer.

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Planning Ahead Can Help Resolve Complex Legal Matters When someone loses their capacity to make decisions for themselves due to sudden injury or illness, their family members may have a difficult time dealing with the stress of helping them get through the health crisis. They may also experience surprising legal...