prolonged illness of a close friend or the death of a beloved family member helps people think about their own mortality, especially if the deceased person died prematurely or without an estate plan. Before thinking about how to dispose of your estate in the event of your death, you will need to make decisions about long-term health needs and housing options, business continuity planning if you own your own business, or a medical care directive, outlining the type of care you wish to receive when you are no longer able to make your own decisions about your health.
There is no time like the present to plan. The life expectancy of Americans is 92.5 while the retirement age is 65. Before going to a long-term care facility, a person can live in a nursing home, assisted-living facility, senior home, or independent home. At each state a person will have different housing and medical needs and enjoy a lifestyle that is active or adventurous.
Elder Planning Toolbox
At Massey, Stotser & Nichols, P.C., the elder law lawyers develop plans for individuals and families to serve their present and future needs. Particularly because estates are taxed so high when a person dies without a will, states do not make much effort to educate and advise people on how to preserve their legacy for their family and future family members. If there are any incapacitated members of the family or special needs individuals, the best way to care for them into the future is to plan who will do what when you yourself are incapacitated or die. Among the available tools in an elder law plan are legal documents that either manage the affairs of a person while living or distribute their property upon death. Below are some of the tools used to create an estate plan.
- Last Will and Testament
A last will and testament is a written document of a person’s wishes as to how his or her property is to be distributed at death.
- Revocable Trusts
A person or grantor, places his or her assets in a trust to earn income which then gets distributed to that person or grantor. While the grantor is alive the provisions of the trust can be modified or cancelled. Upon the death of the grantor, any remaining property is transferred to the beneficiaries.
- Irrevocable Trust
A person or grantor, transfers his or her assets to a trust and removes all his or her legal rights of ownership to the assets in the trust once the transfer is complete, making the trust irrevocable. Any future changes to modify or terminate the irrevocable trust cannot be made by the grantor and instead require the consent of the beneficiary.
- Revocable Power of Attorney
A revocable power of attorney is a written document where a person gives someone they trust authority over the person’s financial affairs, including assets, in the event the person becomes incapacitated by injury, disease, or a mental impairment.
- Living Will
A living will is a written statement of a person’s wishes with respect to medical treatment to follow in the event the person is unable to do so on his or her own due to illness or incapacity.
- Health Care Proxy
A health care proxy, sometimes called an advance healthcare directive or medical directive, is a written document where a person gives someone they trust the authority to make health care treatment decisions for the person, if the person is unable to do so later due to illness or incapacitation.
- Probate Process
The probate process is the period after the death of a person where a deceased person’s debts are settled and legal title to property is distributed to beneficiaries pursuant to the last will and testament if the person dies with a will or by operation of law if the person dies without a will. The deceased person or state probate court appoint an executor to make sure the debts are paid and property transferred to beneficiaries as requested in the last will and testament.
ELDER LAW LAWYERS IN ALABAMA
We hope you found this information about elder law useful. The elder law lawyers in Southeastern Alabama are available to create plans for you and your family to preserve your legacy and meet the future needs of your loved ones. Massey, Stotser & Nichols, P.C. is a full service, Birmingham, Alabama law firm that serves clients throughout Jefferson, Blount, Shelby, St. Clair, and Tuscaloosa counties. Visit our website at msnattorneys.com for more information about elder law and our other practice areas in business law, family law, and accident and injury law.