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When Should Elders Use Asset Protection Trusts?

 Posted on February 19, 2024 in Estate Planning

Blog ImageAs people age, they face a unique set of challenges and concerns, particularly when it comes to protecting their assets. With the rising costs of healthcare and the potential need for long-term care in the future, elders must carefully consider how best to safeguard their hard-earned wealth. One option that can provide peace of mind is an asset protection trust.

An asset protection trust is a legal tool that allows a person to transfer ownership of their assets into the control of a trustee while providing instructions for how the assets should be used to provide for a person’s needs or distributed to other beneficiaries. The primary purpose of this type of trust is to protect assets from potential creditors or legal claims, ensuring that they will be preserved for the benefit and use of the person and their loved ones. An attorney with experience in estate planning and elder law can provide guidance on the types of trusts that may be used while ensuring that the proper steps are taken to protect a person’s assets.

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What Is the Difference Between Limited and Plenary Guardianship?

 Posted on January 18, 2024 in Guardianship

Blog ImageThere are some situations where a person may require someone to assist with various areas of their life and make decisions on their behalf. This can occur in cases involving elders or adults with disabilities who may not be able to properly care for themselves, address concerns related to their finances, or manage other aspects of their lives. In these cases, a guardian may be appointed by the court.

Guardianship is a legal relationship where a person (the guardian) is given the responsibility and authority to make personal and financial decisions for another person (the ward). There are two main types of guardianships: limited guardianship and plenary guardianship. An attorney with experience in issues related to elder law can provide guidance to elders and guardians in these situations, helping them understand their options and ensuring that there is a legal framework in place to meet a person’s needs.

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Should My Estate Plan Include a Mental Health Declaration?

 Posted on December 19, 2023 in Elder Law

Texas mental health declarationAn estate plan will include a variety of essential documents that allow you to protect your assets and ensure that your wishes will be carried out correctly. While wills and trusts can be used to address financial concerns and distribute your assets to your beneficiaries, other documents may also be used to ensure that your needs will be met during your lifetime. Advance medical directives can provide instructions regarding medical care and other personal needs, ensuring that you will receive the proper treatment in situations where you may not be able to communicate your wishes. While there are multiple types of advance medical directives, a Declaration for Mental Health Treatment can be used to ensure that you receive the proper psychiatric care. An attorney with experience in estate planning and elder law can advise you on the benefits of a mental health declaration and help you make sure your wishes will be followed should you need psychiatric treatment in the future.

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Can Seniors Use Medicaid Payback Trusts to Protect Their Assets?

 Posted on November 20, 2023 in Estate Planning

Untitled---2023-11-20T102126.111.jpgAs seniors age, one of their primary concerns is how to protect their assets while still being able to qualify for government benefits and meet their ongoing needs. Medicaid can provide crucial financial assistance for long-term care expenses, but it also has strict eligibility requirements, including limitations on the amount of assets a person can own before they will qualify for benefits. Because of these requirements, a person may be required to “spend down” their assets before they can qualify. However, other options may also be available, including the use of trusts.

One potential solution for seniors who are looking to preserve their assets and still receive Medicaid benefits is the use of a Medicaid payback trust. This type of trust allows a person to transfer their assets into a trust, which is then managed by a trustee on behalf of the senior. The funds in the trust are not counted as part of the senior's personal assets when determining eligibility for Medicaid. However, these trusts can be complex, and it is important to work with an attorney who has experience in estate planning and elder law to ensure that all legal and financial issues are addressed correctly.

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What Is a Breach of Fiduciary Duty in a Probate Case?

 Posted on October 18, 2023 in Probate Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled---2023-10-18T142441.606.jpgIn the state of Texas, the estate of a person who passes away will go through a legal process known as probate. In these cases, a person is appointed as the executor or personal representative of the estate. This person will manage and distribute the deceased person's assets. The executor has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and handle all matters related to the estate with honesty, loyalty, and care.

A breach of fiduciary duty occurs when the executor fails to fulfill their obligations and acts in a manner that harms or disadvantages the beneficiaries. In these situations, beneficiaries may work with an attorney to pursue probate litigation and address the executor’s wrongful actions. Breaches of fiduciary duty can take various forms, and they may include:

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Choosing Between Guardianship and Medical Power of Attorney

 Posted on September 27, 2023 in Guardianship

b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled---2023-09-27T103705.681.jpgAs our loved ones age, it is important to plan for their healthcare needs. Establishing guardianship and creating a medical power of attorney are two options that families may consider. Both choices have advantages and disadvantages, and the best option will depend on an elder’s specific needs and the role that family members will take when providing care and assistance. An attorney who works in the field of elder law can provide guidance on the available options while helping family members make sure they will be prepared to address the challenges that may arise as they provide care for an elderly loved one.

What Is Guardianship?

When guardianship is established, a court will appoint a person to make decisions on behalf of someone who is unable to fully care for themselves. Guardianship of the person will give a guardian the right and responsibility to make decisions about where an elderly person will live and what forms of medical treatment they will receive. To establish guardianship, evidence will usually need to be provided showing that an elder does not have the mental capacity to make informed decisions about their own healthcare. However, an elder may also agree to name a guardian who will provide them with assistance. If necessary, a guardian’s authority may be limited to certain areas, ensuring that the elder will have as much control over their own life as possible.

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When Should an Elder Create a Living Will?

 Posted on August 28, 2023 in Estate Planning

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.

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Do Elders Need to Create Statutory Durable Powers of Attorney?

 Posted on July 26, 2023 in Elder Law

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.

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Two Types of Guardianships for Elders in Texas

 Posted on June 26, 2023 in Estate Planning

San Antonio Estate Planning LawyerRealizing that your elderly loved one is in need of a guardian to properly manage their personal and/or financial affairs is rarely easy. In many cases, guardianship may be sought for an aging parent or another elderly family member. While you may feel like you are taking away your loved one’s independence, the truth is that their age-related incapacity has likely already done that. Establishing guardianship is often the kindest and most caring thing you can do for an elder who has lost the ability to make important decisions about their own care or cannot fully manage their own finances. 

There are two general types of guardianship - guardianship of the estate and guardianship of the person. If you are a guardian of the person, you will generally be allowed to manage the ward’s personal life and care, while a guardian of the estate will be able to step in and begin managing the elder’s finances. In many cases, the guardian of the estate and the guardian of the person are the same individual, but two different people may fill these roles. An attorney can help you begin the process of establishing guardianship for your loved one. 

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Can Guardianship Be Established Against the Will of an Elderly Person?

 Posted on May 22, 2023 in Estate Planning

Texas Guardianship LawyerTaking care of an aging parent or loved one can be a challenging experience, especially if the person is no longer fully capable of caring for themselves or making informed decisions about their health or finances. In these cases, family members may wish to establish guardianship for an elderly loved one. The legal guardian of an elder will have the right to make decisions for them and the responsibility to provide the necessary care and assistance.

While guardianship may appear to be the best solution in certain situations, establishing guardianship can be a complex process, especially if an elderly person does not wish to give up their right to control their life or manage their own affairs. In these situations, family members may need to determine whether it may be possible to overcome a person's objections and establish guardianship against their will, or they may be able to consider alternative options that will meet the needs of all parties involved in a case.

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