American Heart Month takes place each February to raise awareness of the severity of heart disease in the U.S. Your dad’s doctor has told him he’s at high risk for heart disease. If anything happens how prepared is your dad? It’s an excellent time to consider these elder care and estate planning measures.
Last Will and Testament
Does your dad have a will in place? It’s time. There are plenty of free forms online, but that doesn’t mean an online will is considered legally valid in your dad’s state. To ensure the will cannot be contested, it needs to be drafted by an attorney who specializes in elder law.
A will shares what your dad wants to happen to his estate when he dies. It shares how he would want his property dispersed among his heirs. It names his heirs. He might not speak to your brother or want your brother to get anything after his death.
Your dad may have a close friend who’s really helped him out over the years. Without a will, that friend may never gain any of your dad’s assets. A will ensures your dad’s friend gets everything your dad wants him to have.
Asset protection is a measure that protects assets from legal claims by agencies like Medicaid or a hospital. In many states, Medicaid can sue to take money from an estate once a recipient dies. Often, it’s a case of Medicaid or a hospital putting in a claim on the equity after selling that recipient’s home.
An elder law attorney knows how to protect assets and keep that from happening. If things like a Lady Bird Deed are legal in your dad’s area, it can help protect the home from seizure.
Power of Attorney Designations
There are financial and medical decisions to be made during your life. If your dad has a health issue, such as a stroke, and cannot speak for himself, the person named as his agent will make decisions for him. A power of attorney is the legal form for this designation of medical and financial representatives.
Advance Directive or Living Will
Living wills and advance directives specify what happens in the end stages of life. Your dad might want to be cremated over buried. An advance directive specifies this. He might not want life-saving measures like feeding tubes or ventilators.
This is important as it instructs medical staff if there’s a serious health issue. It also helps give the agent named in a power of attorney instructions on what to do.
Finally, probate is a process where a will has been proven valid in a court. It cannot be argued or declared invalid by a disgruntled family member who was left out of a will. Probate law is essential after a will has been drafted.
It’s hard to tell precisely when a medical emergency will happen. By having your dad’s legal affairs in order, it’s one less stressor if an emergency hits. An elder law specialist can help your dad with a will, advance directive, power of attorney forms, and estate planning paperwork.
If you or a loved one need assistance with Elder Law in Birmingham, AL contact The Alabama Elder Care Law Firm, LLC today. (205) 390-0101