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Denver Elder Law Blog

Guardianship established by the court

Life is full of changes. One moment the Colorado resident is worried about the stock market; the next moment the individual is concerned with a medical diagnosis. Then there is always the possibility that something will happen and the individual will become unable to take care of him or herself. If this does become reality, it may be necessary for guardianship to be established by a court.

In addition to the possibility that one may need someone to step in and make decisions as the individual ages, it is possible that the individual will become disabled or incapacitated sooner rather than later. An accident or debilitating illness can drastically alter one's life and one's ability to take care financial and personal matters. Unless the proper steps have already been taken, a guardian will need to be appointed.

Durable powers of attorney affect family dynamics

Family dynamics can play an important role in determining the best way to structure one's estate as the Colorado individual grows older. In some families, conflict is the norm; in others, peace reigns. Additionally, when emotions regarding an adult child's mom or dad become involved, the dynamics can quickly change. As a result, planning for this possibility and establishing durable powers of attorney specifically addressing who should make decisions for the individual can be essential to maintaining family harmony.

As the individual grows older, he or she may reach a point at which he or she is no longer able to make decisions. When this happens, the individual will need someone who can pay bills and conduct other financial transactions on his or her behalf. If this has already been addressed and a loved one or professional has been identified through durable powers of attorney documents, then there should be no problem. However, if this has not been done, it is too late for the individual to designate someone.

Estate planning even for those without apparent heirs

Every day, the typical Colorado resident makes numerous decisions. Some decisions, such as what to have for lunch, are usually minor while other decisions, such as which job to accept, are more significant. Throughout this process, there are also a number of decisions that the individual simply decides not to make. Perhaps the individual is uncertain which decision to make or simply doesn't want to think about the situation. Regardless, some decisions, such as those involved with estate planning, can be costly if not addressed.

Often, when an individual does not have a large estate or an apparent beneficiary, the assumption is made that estate planning is not necessary. However, the average individual will at the very least have some bills that need to be paid and some assets that will need to be transferred to another individual. Without some form of estate planning, such as a will, the individual will have no control over who becomes involved in this process.

How to challenge a guardianship decision

Many elderly citizens rely on the services of a guardian to help make important financial and life decisions. In many cases, the court ends up appointing a guardian. While many professional guardians will ensure the individual is safe, abuse has occurred in the past. 

Whether a person's guardian is a family member, friend or court-appointed professional, there are various ways for loved ones to contest the guardianship. Until there are significant changes to the law, it is up to you and your family members to remain cognizant of the guardian's activities. It can be difficult to remove a guardian, but with due diligence, it is certainly possible. 

Estate planning important to one's financial affairs

Sometimes it is easier to simply ignore the facts. However, while it may appear to be the solution, ignoring one's needs does not typically make them disappear. In fact, many Colorado residents need to establish and/or review their estate planning documents.

A will is the most common form of estate planning. In creating a will, the individual addresses exactly how he or she wishes assets to be distributed upon death. Beneficiaries are named and an executor can be appointed. If minor children are involved, their care and well-being can be addressed here as well. Upon the death of the individual, the will is presented to the courts and becomes a part of the public record.

Estate planning important for Colorado residents

As one ages, there are many decisions which must be made. Among these decisions, the Colorado resident needs to consider his or her health concerns, family dynamics, and assets. These issues provide the foundation for the various estate planning decisions that need to be addressed.

The most common estate planning tool is a will. However, many are finding that trusts offer a more cost effective and efficient way of transferring assets. In addition to the possible estate tax savings, trusts allow assets to be transferred without the need for and costs associated with probate.

4 signs your relative is financially abusing your aging parent

You want to think the best of your family members, but sometimes the signs are too alarming to ignore. If you are suspicious that your sibling or another relative is stealing money from your elderly parent, you are likely feeling anger and confusion. According to AgingCare, most financial elder abusers are family members. 

But how do you know financial exploitation is occurring? Here are four warning signs that your aging parent is experiencing financial abuse. 

Elder law attorneys can help to set up Medicaid planning programs

In Colorado and all states, long term nursing care and similar or related services for senior citizens are not covered by Medicare. Instead, for those who can't afford such care, including residence in a nursing home, they must qualify for Medicaid to receive benefits. Medicaid planning through an elder law attorney may be required well before the need for those benefits arises.

Medicaid planning will assure a far greater probability that benefits will be approved. One of the purposes of such planning is to transfer assets out of the senior's name and into those family members who can own the property without consequence. The problem is that this is only effective if done later than five years from the date of requesting Medicaid for long term care.

Need for care services increases as individual ages

Life support, ventilators, nursing home care -- these are but a few of the many decisions that the Colorado resident and his or her family may face as the individual ages. When it becomes necessary to make these decisions, the individual affected typically is unable to express his or her wishes. However, by recognizing the need for care services and planning ahead, these wishes can be expressed and planned for ahead of time.

Discussions regarding these issues are often difficult to have. The typical individual really does not want to think along these lines, and loved ones often do not want to recognize that there will come a point in time when everything changes. However, these are important decisions that need to be discussed and prepared for in advance.

Estate planning and revocable trusts

Planning for the future is a goal in many Colorado homes. Individuals invest in retirement accounts and purchase life insurance policies. Family homes are taken care of and investment accounts are managed. However, one area that is often overlooked is the need for estate planning.

Estate planning is often more than simply creating a will. A will is a good place to start; however, many find that through careful planning and structure, the financial implications associated with their death is minimized. Items that transfer by means of a will generally are subject to probate. However, items that are owned through a trust are not.

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