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Denver Elder Law Blog

Estate planning biggest mistake is failure to make a plan

People undertake projects every day. Some are completed successfully and others not so much. Of the failing projects it is often said that mistakes were made. People in Colorado are not immune to failure and a project where mistakes can happen is in estate planning. A basic understanding of what a plan should aim to accomplish can help avert mistakes.

One mistake regarding estate planning is the failure to create a plan in the first place. Some people mistakenly believe that they need a significant estate to warrant the creation of a will. In addition, if married, they may assume  everything will go to the spouse so a plan isn't really needed.

Care coordination for aging parents can provide peace of mind

People are living longer in Colorado and the question of how to do that gracefully is on the forefront of many people's minds. One term frequently heard is "age in place," which is the considered the best scenario and allows a person to remain at home. There are issues that should be addressed in order to make this goal a realistic choice. Care coordination undertaken before an aging person requires extra help is the best approach.

One factor to take into consideration is how well-configured the home is for aging in place. Will it accommodate a wheelchair if necessary? Can it be reconfigured for one-floor living if it is a two-story house? What remodeling changes are necessary to accomplish these goals and are they affordable?

7 things to consider about your estate plan after divorce

Estate planning allows you to control the distribution of your assets after your death. However, the priorities outlined in a will or trust often change after the end of a marriage. That’s why it’s crucial to scrutinize your estate plans going forward after divorce.

One of the first steps you can take is to have your estate planning attorney here in Colorado examine your divorce decree to see the obligations you have to your ex-spouse.

Estate planning tips for retirees

Transitioning to retirement can be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for many Coloradans, but it can also be a stressful time. There are many legal considerations you must make to prepare for this new chapter in your life as well as for those you love.

However, a recent study by shows only four in 10 adults in the U.S. have a will, and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) says nearly 40% of baby boomers have not done any estate planning.

How does an advance medical directive help me?

Even though you are getting older, you probably still feel alert and healthy. You may find thinking about future medical care unpleasant. Doing so requires you to think about being incapacitated in a hospital.

Approximately 64% of American adults don't have an advance medical directive. Planning for tough medical decisions before they are here can be difficult. But an advance medical directive is an important part of an estate plan. It makes sure you can let your loved ones know what your medical wishes are.

Elder abuse more likely to involve family members than strangers

Older adults face many difficulties that younger people do not. For some, the physical and mental decline that can come with old age may make it difficult to enjoy activities that they did previously. For other adults, those declines can be dangerous to their well-being. Older people in Colorado and across the country are often targeted by scammers hoping to make money off of those who may not fully understand how best to protect themselves. However, a recent study found that financial elder abuse is more likely to be perpetrated by people that a senior citizen knows, including members of the senior's own family.

The study examined almost 2000 calls to the National Center on Elder Abuse. It found that close to half of the calls reported instances of elder abuse, and over half of those were reports of financial abuse. This was the most common category of abuse perpetrated on older people. In 61.8% of abuse cases involving a family member, the alleged offense was financial abuse. Nearly a third of abuse cases perpetrated by a family member involved abuse of more than one type.

How to help older parents stay safe in their own home

As a parent ages, their home can potentially become more dangerous. Things that had been small risks suddenly represent serious hazards.

If a parent wants to stay in their home, it’s possible for you to help create an environment that minimizes the risks – and potentially prevents serious accidents.

Elder law planning can allow for a more peaceful life

Americans are living longer and healthier lives. But no matter how hard a person works to delay the onset of old age and preserve one's health into later years,  at some point, most people will require some form of assistance. One aspect of elder law in Colorado and across the country is to plan for possible disability later in life.

There are few things that many people fear more than the loss of independence. The freedom to do what you want and make your own decisions is something that everyone is loathe to give up. Planning for that eventuality, however, can allow you to have still have some control over what may happen if you become physically or mentally incapacitated, and is certainly preferable to having someone you have not chosen in charge.

Man's death reveals need for carefully planned guardianship

When people cannot make medical or financial decisions for themselves, a guardianship may be the best way to ensure their protection. Though some people worry that establishing guardianship renders a person incapable of making his or her own decisions, that is not the case. Guardianships may be the best solution for an elderly person and his or her family here in Colorado, and they can hire a professional to fill the role if necessary. Whoever the appointed person is, it's important that he or she is fully qualified and keeps the needs of the subject of the guardianship front and center. One out-of-state family is dealing with this issue right now, as they allege that the professional guardian of their loved one may be responsible for his death.

The daughter of the man who died claims that his professional guardian filed a "do not resuscitate" order for him without proper permission. She says that she filed a complaint to have the DNR removed, but that her father died four days later. Officials soon discovered this wasn't the first complaint filed about this guardian. Another family said that the guardian lied about provided medical care for their relative. Both families say these complaints were not investigated in a timely manner by the proper authorities.

Several people hoping court removes conservatorship in this case

Colorado, like most other states, is home to many Star Trek fans. Many people have a favorite character on the still-popular old TV show. Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura, ranks high on most lists, especially because she broke through racial barriers as the first black woman to hold a leading role in a prime time television series. Now age 86, however, the former actress is reportedly going through a stressful time in her personal life regarding conservatorship.

A judge ruled that Nichols's son should act as conservator, managing his mother's financial and daily life affairs. The court is convinced that Nichols suffers from dementia, hence the need for someone to act on her behalf. Several friends of Nichols, including her former manager and a TV producer, have adamantly stated that she is not delusional at all.

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