Heather Nadler, CELA
A lot of times people think that estate planning consists of a last will and testament, and while it does consist of a last will and testament, there’s really a whole lot more to it than just the last will and testament. So, things that we looked at with Herschel and Nell and this is in your slides, I’m not going to mess with the big slides up here.
We talked about creating wills, doings some trust planning. You heard them talk about their son Ted, who’s really not that great with money so we were able to kind of plan some trust planning for him. As we embarked upon estate planning, it’s important to figure out how are your assets titled in the first place, and to understand what is it your will is even going to control so it’s important to go through and determine what things are going to pass by operation of law, what things have beneficiary designations, and to understand really what this beautiful will that you are putting in place is actually going to control. So, then also, we had a conversation about planning for incapacity, which is a time when a person is no longer able to manage his or her finances on their own and so that type of planning is dealing with powers of attorney. There are 2 powers of attorney that you want to look at; one is a financial power of attorney, which is naming someone to handle your finances for you, to interact with your CPA and get those taxes done. That’s one side of the financial planning arena under powers of attorney, then we also need to plan on the medical side of things. In Georgia we have a durable advance directive for health care, everyone should have one of those in place. Up until 2007, it was a living will and a durable medical power of attorney. As of 2007 the Georgia legislature rewrote our statue, we now have those two documents combined into one, so within one document you’re saying “Here’s the agent that I named to make my healthcare decisions and then also here are my wishes with regard to end-of-life decision making”. A lot of people tend to think, “Oh, I need a living will, I need a living will, I need a living will” and that’s true, but it’s also important to realize living will is strictly end-of-life decision making, there is a lot of middle ground between perfectly fine and end-of-life and that’s where you want to have an agent designated to make decisions for you. So, we looked at getting these powers of attorney for Herschel and Nell, and we did, these powers of attorney were immediately effective. That’s another point where I tend to get on my soapbox in this discussion, is that when you have a power of attorney there is an option of having a power of attorney that is what’s known as springing power of attorney, it springs into effect upon some contingency, that might be your primary physician saying, “Ok, Heather can’t handle her affairs anymore, activate that power of attorney document” or it might say, “Two of my three children agree,”. That can be even worse, right? Dealing with families? Yeah. It is always my recommendation that a power of attorney be immediately affective, because then you’re not having to look, in a time of crisis, to getting the formalities taken care of to bring this power of attorney into effect. Also, people will tend to say, “Well, gosh, I don’t want them to have the authority to handle my stuff right now,” because that’s what a immediately effective power of attorney does, “cause I don’t want them to have that power right now,” and then I look at that as a “gut-check” for the client. If you’re not okay with naming the person to handle your finances right now when you’re perfectly capable of watching every step they do, do you really want them handling them down the road when you have no idea what’s going on, especially if you had, like, dementia?
Veteran’s Benefits and Assets
Certified Elder Law Attorney Heather Nadler discusses how assets are handled when applying for VA Benefits.
Veteran’s Benefits Qualifiers
Certified Elder Law Attorney Heather Nadler discusses what qualifications there are for Veteran’s Benefits.
VA Aid & Attendance Benefit
Certified Elder Law Attorney Heather Nadler discusses the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit.
Certified Elder Law Attorney Heather Nadler discusses Veteran’s Benefits.
Long Term Care Planning
Certified Elder Law Attorney Heather Nadler discusses Long Term Care Planning.
Probate Court & Revocable Trusts
Certified Elder Law Attorney Heather Nadler discusses Probate Courts and Revocable Trusts.