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b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled---2023-08-28T121031.056.jpgA living will, also known as an advance healthcare directive, is a legal document that allows people to set down their wishes for the medical treatment they should receive if they become unable to communicate or make decisions for themselves. While people of all ages may create a living will, these documents can be crucial for elders who may be facing age-related health issues. When deciding whether to include a living will in their estate plan, elders and their families can work with an attorney to learn about their options.

The Importance of Planning Ahead

As a person ages, their health can become more unpredictable. It is not uncommon for older adults to experience serious illnesses or injuries that require medical intervention. By creating a living will ahead of time, elders can ensure that their wishes will be respected and followed when it comes to their healthcare.

Without a living will, family members and healthcare providers may be left guessing about what the elder would want in certain situations. This can lead to disagreements among loved ones and unnecessary stress during already difficult times.


b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled-68.jpgAs people age, it becomes increasingly important to plan for the future and ensure that their affairs are in order. One crucial aspect of this planning involves the creation of a statutory durable power of attorney (SDPOA). This legal document grants authority to another person, known as an agent or attorney-in-fact, to address legal and financial issues and make certain types of decisions on behalf of the elder in the event that they become incapacitated. To ensure that these issues will be addressed correctly, elders and their family members can work with an estate planning lawyer to create powers of attorney.

What Is a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney?

A statutory durable power of attorney allows an individual, known as the principal, to appoint a trusted person to act on their behalf in financial and legal matters. The power of attorney can be effective immediately, or it can become effective only if the principal is incapacitated. The agent appointed in the SDPOA has the authority to manage the principal's finances, pay bills, make investment decisions, and handle other legal matters.

It is important to note that a statutory durable power of attorney is different from a medical power of attorney or a healthcare directive. While a medical power of attorney will give a trusted person the ability to make healthcare decisions, an SDPOA specifically deals with financial and legal matters.


san antonio estate lawyerThe passing of a loved one can be a difficult, emotional time for family members. In addition to dealing with the loss, surviving family members may also have to navigate the probate process and take the proper steps to divide the deceased’s estate. When family members disagree on how to divide assets, this can lead to lengthy and expensive legal battles. In such cases, mediation can be an effective way to settle disputes fairly and without the need for costly and lengthy court proceedings. By understanding how mediation works and its potential benefits, families can determine whether this option will be the best solution in their situation.

Understanding Mediation

During the mediation process, the mediator helps family members or other heirs and beneficiaries communicate and work toward a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediator does not make decisions but rather facilitates discussions and tries to help the parties understand each other’s perspectives. The goal is to come to a final agreement that will fully detail how all disputed issues will be resolved.

How Does Mediation Work in Estate Disputes?

Mediation typically involves a series of meetings with the mediator and the parties involved in the dispute. Before the mediation sessions, the mediator may gather information about the estate and the dispute. During mediation, the parties will have a chance to express their concerns and work toward a resolution. The mediator will help family members articulate their goals and concerns and identify areas where compromise is possible. As the discussions progress, the mediator will help develop solutions that will be acceptable to all parties. Since the mediator is neutral, they will not take sides, make decisions, or force any particular outcome. The final decision will be left up to the parties. If an agreement is reached, the mediator will help the parties draft a written agreement.


san antonio elder law attorneySadly, elder financial exploitation is a growing concern in the United States, with adult guardianship cases particularly susceptible to abuse. As more seniors rely on guardians to manage their financial affairs, it is crucial to recognize the signs of financial exploitation and take appropriate action to protect vulnerable individuals. Today, we will discuss identifying elder financial exploitation in adult guardianship cases and steps to take if you suspect abuse. 

If you believe an elderly loved one is being financially exploited, do not hesitate to contact an experienced elder abuse attorney immediately. 

Understanding Financial Exploitation

Financial exploitation involves the unauthorized or improper use of another person’s resources for personal gain. It can take on many forms, such as stealing money, forging signatures, or coercing the senior into signing financial documents. In addition, in adult guardianship, a guardian may misuse their authority to gain access to the senior’s assets and exploit them for their benefit. 


san antonio estate planning lawyerCreating a last will and testament is an important step in preparing for the future, and it is a crucial component of estate planning. However, for many elders, creating a will can be a difficult task due to the complexity of the process and the gravity of the decisions that need to be made. It is important to approach these issues the right way, and by fully considering the details that will be included in their will, a person can help their family avoid confusion about what they would have wanted and make sure their wishes will be followed correctly after they are gone.

Essential Information to Include in a Will

When creating a will, there are some pieces of information that will need to be included. Fully detailing all issues related to the estate of the testator (the person creating the will) can help prevent disputes between family members and ensure that all of a person's final affairs will be handled correctly. Information provided in a will may include:

  • The testator's personal information, including their name and address


san antonio elder law attorneyFor those who are caring for elderly family members or who are living with a disability, guardianship can be a daunting prospect. When a legal guardian is appointed, this can result in a loss of rights for the ward, who may no longer be able to make decisions about their medical treatment, their personal care, or their financial affairs. To ensure that a person can maintain more control over their life, there is an alternative to guardianship in the form of supported decision-making. By understanding the benefits provided by this option, elders and their loved ones can determine whether it will be a good solution for them.

What Is Supported Decision-Making?

Supported decision-making enables people who may need assistance managing their affairs to make their own choices with the help of a trusted friend or family member. It gives individuals the freedom to make decisions for themselves with assistance from someone they trust. This approach can provide a meaningful way for seniors and people with disabilities to stay in control of their lives while still receiving the help they need.

Advantages of Supported Decision-Making Over Guardianship

Unlike guardianship, in which a court will grant another person legal authority over an elder or disabled person, supported decision-making will involve an agreement signed by the disabled adult and their supporter. In addition to allowing for more flexibility, supported decision-making can save time and money, since court hearings and court oversight will not be needed. Supported decision-making allows individuals to retain control over their own lives while still having access to trusted advisors who can provide guidance and assistance when needed. This gives them more autonomy and freedom to make their own choices without the fear of exploitation or manipulation by others. It also ensures that any decisions made will reflect the wishes of the individual rather than those of another person or organization.


san antonio estate planning lawyerAs a person ages, they may require extra care and support. If you are the family member of an elder who needs assistance, you may be wondering how to provide them with the best possible care. One option is to set up a living trust as part of the estate planning process. Living trusts can help ensure that an elderly parent or other family member has access to the resources they need as they age. Although the process of setting up a living trust can seem complicated at first, there are many benefits that come with having one in place. 

What Is a Living Trust? 

A living trust is an estate planning tool that allows individuals to use their assets to meet their needs while they are alive and well, while also specifying who will receive those assets after they die. With a revocable living trust, the settlor (the person creating the trust) has the right to revoke or change the terms of the trust at any time during their lifetime. A living trust allows a person to transfer control of their assets—such as property, investments, and financial accounts—to another person in order to provide for their needs. The trustee (the person who manages the trust) will have full control over these assets and can use them as necessary in order to meet the elder’s financial needs. 

Benefits of Establishing a Living Trust 

Living trusts offer numerous benefits for elders and their families. They can provide peace of mind by allowing family members to know that their elderly loved ones are being taken care of financially without having to worry about managing their finances directly. Since living trusts are usually revocable, their terms can be adjusted if a person's needs change. They may also allow a person to begin transferring assets to other beneficiaries at any time, either before or after their death.


san antonio estate planning lawyerWhen a person reaches an advanced age, they will want to make sure their needs will be met and that they will receive the proper medical care if they cannot make decisions for themselves. These issues can be addressed through advance directives, which are an important part of estate planning for elders. Advance directives are legal documents that allow a person to specify their wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care in the event that they become incapacitated and are unable to communicate their wishes to others.

Types of Advance Directives Addressed in Texas Law

There are several types of advance directives that can be included in a Texas estate plan, including:

  • Medical Power of Attorney - This document will designate someone who will be authorized to make healthcare decisions on behalf of an elder in the event that they become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for themselves. This person is known as a healthcare agent. The agent can consent to or refuse medical treatment on an elder's behalf, including life-sustaining treatment. An elder can give their agent as much or as little power as they want, and they can specify what types of treatments the agent can and cannot consent to or refuse. 


san Antonio estate planning lawyerA last will and testament can be a crucial aspect of estate planning. A person's will details how their assets should be distributed among their heirs after their death, and it may allow for different items to be allocated to people such as their spouse, children, or other relatives or people who are important to them. However, some may believe that having a will is not necessary because they do not own extensive assets, and they may expect their property to simply be divided among their close family members. It is important to understand how the distribution of assets would be handled in these situations. This can illustrate the importance of creating a will that will help a family avoid uncertainty or legal disputes about how assets should be divided.

Intestate Succession in Texas

If a person dies without a will in Texas, their assets will go to their closest living relatives through a process called intestate succession. In Texas, the laws of intestate succession are somewhat complex, and they may differ depending on whether a person was married or single, whether they had any children, or whether they were survived by parents or siblings. 

If a person was married, their spouse will usually assume full ownership of any community property the couple owned together. However, if the person had children with someone other than their spouse, the spouse will retain ownership of half of the community property, and the other half of the community property will go to those children. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1801128892-min-1.jpgWhen people reach an advanced age, they may sometimes have difficulty caring for their own needs. In these situations, guardianship may be an option. A person who is appointed as the legal guardian of an elder may be able to make a variety of important decisions related to medical and personal care, financial matters, and more. However, an elder may not want to completely give up control over their life, and they may want to be able to make certain types of decisions for themselves while ensuring that someone they trust will be able to provide assistance when necessary. In these situations, limited guardianship may be an option, and it will allow an elder to maintain some control over their life while still getting the help they need.

Limited Guardianship vs. Traditional Guardianship

With traditional guardianships, the court appoints someone to be a person's legal guardian. A guardian of the person will be able to address a person's medical care, decide where they will live, and provide for their personal needs. A guardian of the estate will have control over a person's money, the assets they own, and their financial affairs. In a traditional guardianship, the guardian will have complete control over these issues.

With limited guardianship, the court appoints a guardian but allows a person to retain some control over their own life. For example, with limited guardianship, a person may be able to have a say in where they will live, the types of medical care they will receive, and whether to have certain financial transactions carried out. 


san antonio guardianship lawyerThe circumstances under which a parent finds themselves seeking to establish another adult as the guardian of their child can be very challenging. Whether a parent is terminally ill, fears deportation, or simply wants to establish guardianship of a child in case of disaster, the guardianship process can bring up tough questions and a long search for answers. 

While some of the existential questions that arise around guardianship of a minor can only be answered by those involved, the legal questions around guardianship can be resolved with the help of a careful plan created in conjunction with a skilled Texas guardianship attorney. If you want to know more about the process of appointing someone to be your child’s guardian, read on and then contact one of our Texas guardianship attorneys for further assistance. 

Pre-Designated Guardianship

Also known as “standby guardianship,” pre-designated guardianship is a process through which a parent can legally establish a person to become the guardian of their minor child in the event of a parent’s incapacitation or death. Until the incapacitating event, the parent still retains all legal and parental rights over the child. The parent may also pre-designate a guardian of the child’s estate, which can be the same person as the guardian of the child. 


san antonio guardianship lawyerTexas courts go to great lengths to ensure that elderly individuals who cannot care for themselves have safe, trustworthy legal guardians to help them make important decisions. Tragically, those who are placed in these positions of great responsibility and authority sometimes do the opposite of what they should, abusing or neglecting their elders in terrible ways. Abusers can be anyone, from family members to non-profit agencies, and abuse can occur in many forms. If you are worried that someone you know or love is being abused, neglected, or taken advantage of by their legal guardian, get help from a Texas elder abuse attorney right away. 

Signs That Elder Abuse May Be Happening

Signs of elder abuse are often subtle and difficult to point out. Initially, you may only have a gut feeling that something is wrong. However, telltale signs of abuse often eventually appear that indicate something serious is going on. Here are five things to watch out for: 

  • Strange changes in your loved one’s estate plan


san antonio estate planning lawyerAfter a person’s death, their family members or others who were close to them may struggle to deal with the loss of a loved one. While dealing with the legal and financial issues related to a person’s estate can be difficult enough, these matters can become even more complex when family members become involved in disputes about their loved one’s will. There are many reasons to contest a will, and many cases involve claims of “undue influence” in which someone convinced the person to create or change a will in a way that was contrary to their actual wishes. Those who are involved in these cases will need to understand the requirements that must be met to prove that undue influence occurred.

Proving Undue Influence

There are many reasons that family members may believe that someone improperly influenced their loved one. For example, a person may have had a close relationship with their grandchild, and they may have stated that they were going to leave certain assets to that grandchild in their will. However, after the person’s death, the grandchild may have found that they had been excluded from the person’s will, and the majority of the person’s assets were instead left to another family member who had helped manage the person’s finances. Because of this, the grandchild may believe that the family member who received the largest inheritance exerted undue influence and caused the person to change their will.

Not every example of influence by a beneficiary or another party is considered to be undue influence. Texas courts have stated that undue influence must involve a situation in which a party subverted or overpowered the mind of the person who made a will (the testator), and any changes to the testator’s will would not have been made if the party had not exerted influence. Simple requests to change a will may be valid forms of influence, but threats or coercion that overpowered the testator’s ability to make sound decisions may be considered undue influence.

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