My mother, who was a WWII veteran and the mother of five wild boys and a composed girl, used to tell me that the only thing that she really feared in life was losing her mental capacity. When I was a younger attorney, and my parents were younger, I prepared their estate plan, which was the typical plan designed for what happens when you die. When my parents got older and began to suffer the maladies of older people, I prepared a new estate plan for them, with a focus on not so much what would happen when they died, but on what would happen if they did not die, became ill and needed help with their care. My parents were adamant about having a plan that left something, especially their home, to their six children.
Estate planning and planning for mental capacity issues is very different for the older client. As a baby boomer, and after having helped take care of my aging parents, and after counseling many older clients and their families, my perspective as an estate planning attorney has changed over the years, and is now geared toward setting up a plan for the care of my clients, and protection of their assets, as well as planning for when they die.
Incapacity involves the inability of someone to make decisions regarding their personal and financial affairs. For many of our clients, diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s have lead to mental incapacity. For other clients, there has been an event causing a brain injury leading to mental capacity. Many of our clients have dementia with no disease related diagnosis. Our recommendation is that anyone who is a baby boomer or older, should have an updated estate plan with an emphasis on asset protection and government benefits planning. You should also plan on how you or your fiduciary can get your ducks in a row to be able to protect your assets, such as your home, and obtain Medi-Cal to pay for your nursing home care, and the VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit to help pay the cost of in home care and assisted living facilities if needed.
You will need to decide who will be able to manage your financial affairs if you cannot. These individuals are usually trusted family members, but can also be friends. They can also be professional fiduciaries, who are licensed by California’s professional fiduciary bureau. You will also need to decide on who will make decisions for your regarding your health care, if you cannot do so. One issue to decide is whether you want to be on life support machines if you are in an irreversible condition and are only being kept alive by machines.
Michael J. Young, your elder law attorney in Walnut Creek, CA can help you design a plan to meet your needs as you get older. The plan will involve getting your ducks in a row for asset protection and government benefits planning. There are many options that your senior law attorney can help you with. Keep in mind that if you lose your mental capacity and what to protect assets by way of transferring your assets to your spouse or children, as is allowed under the regulations, you will not be able to do so if you have a traditional estate plan. In that case, we may have to go to court to amend your estate planning documents to provide for asset protection.
The information contained herein is not to be taken as legal advise, and you are advised to see your elder law attorney before attempting any planning or transfers of assets on your own. This article is written by elder law attorney Michael J. Young. Mr. Young, whose office is in Walnut Creek, CA is an elder law attorney, senior law attorney, Medi-Cal attorney and probate attorney whose office is in Walnut Creek, CA. Mr. Young is certified by the VA and is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). For additional information, please visit our website at www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com LawYoung1@Gmail.com Our address is at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Suite 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. 925-256-0298. Mr. Young serves Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, including the cities of Alamo, Walnut Creek, Concord, Danville, Pleasant Hill, Brentwood, Antioch, Clayton, etc. Mr. Young advises clients regarding Medi-Cal, Probates, Probates with Real Estate, Medi-Cal, nursing home costs, asset protection, the VA Aid and attendance pension benefit, and long term care planning. Mr. Young is an Elder Law Attorney and Probate Attorney with offices in Walnut Creek, CA. Walnut Creek Elder Law Attorney, Walnut Creek Probate Attorney. Senior Law Attorney. Walnut Creek Medi-Cal attorney.