Concerns You May Have
Are your parents or relatives aging or suffering from an illness and not thinking clearly about their finances? Do they have a plan for how their assets will be managed if they cannot do it themselves? Do your parents have a will? Power of attorney for medical, business and other issues?
A skilled probate attorney can often be the needed third party to advise and assist your loved ones in managing and conserving their assets and at the same time preventing the undue influence of others who do not have your loved ones best interests in mind.
Has a relative been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other mental illness, and there is no plan for how their assets will be managed?
Many times a legal guardianship is necessary if advance planning has not been done prior to the onset of the mental disease.
Are you worried that a sibling or other family member has taken or will try to take advantage of your ailing parent’s finances?
A skilled probate attorney can investigate the situation and suggest certain advance directives to prevent such an occurrence. Unfortunately, sometimes only necessary litigation can prevent this from happening.
Do your parents live out of town? Are they difficult or evasive when it comes to discussing estate planning issues?
Many times parents or loved ones feel more comfortable discussing financial planning and life management issues with an independent third party such as a probate/estate planning attorney.
Are you afraid the government will dictate how your parents’ assets will be distributed?
Every state has a plan of distribution which will be imposed on the heirs if no pre-planning (with the help of a probate attorney) is done. Many times the states’ plan of distribution is completely different from the wishes of the individual.
Has your parent recently remarried or is about to get remarried? Do you fear your parent’s second marriage will interfere with your inheritance rights?
Under most cases, state law provides for inheritance by surviving spouses. Even a will cannot override this state protection without proper advance planning. Often, homestead rights are also dictated by state law. Proper advance planning can circumvent the harsh effect of state law.
Are you worried creditors will consume your inheritance?
Often, with proper advance planning, the effect of creditors on inheritance rights can be minimized.
Can your parent afford a nursing home which range anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 per month or more? Does your parent need government assistance (Medicaid) to help pay for nursing home care?
The issues surrounding qualification for acquiring public assistance are usually best discussed with the help of a probate attorney knowledgeable in that area.