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Denver Elder Law Blog

Don't forget to include this important part of care coordination

When making plans for the future, there are a lot of things to consider. One of them is what would happen in the event that a Colorado resident is no longer able able to make decisions on his or her own behalf.  There are estate-planning documents that can help with respect to health and care coordiantion, as well as financial matters should that occur.

A power of attorney allows you to appoint someone you trust to take over making decisions for you if you no longer can do so on your own. There are generally two types of powers of attorney here in Colorado. The first allows your agent, the person you appoint, to handle your financial matters. The other gives your agent the right to make health care and medical decisions for you.

Can people change estate plans when they have dementia?

It is an unfortunate reality that a common part of aging involves losing mental faculties. Around the globe, over 50 million people suffer to some extent from dementia, and millions of more people develop it every year. 

It is sad for children seeing their parents slowly lose their memories. Another point of contention is that it becomes confusing as to whether this person can update an estate plan after receiving a dementia diagnosis. Various life events may cause one person to change an estate plan, such as the death of a loved one or a change in finances. Unfortunately, it becomes rather difficult to make alterations. 

Understanding Colorado guardianship rules

When a loved one is unable to care for him or herself, family members may struggle to make the best choices. There may be financial concerns, such as managing the estate of an elderly parent who is showing signs of dementia. Perhaps most urgently, family and friends may worry about the health and well-being of their loved one. At some point, they may have to reach an agreement about whether guardianship is the best option.

In Colorado, conservators are court-appointed to oversee the financial issues for those who cannot manage for themselves. Guardians, however, have a more personal role. They have authority to make decisions for the individual related to health care, living arrangements and other matters in an effort to keep the individual safe and maintain his or her dignity. Typically, guardianship is a useful legal option for those who may have Alzheimer's, brain injuries, mental disabilities or other conditions.

Will the Medicaid program waiver help you stay in your home?

You may be elderly and have an impairment, but you do not want to move to a nursing facility. You have heard about a Medicaid waiver that could help you remain in your home. What is this waiver all about, and how would you qualify?

Special needs planning critical for families with special needs

Raising a family and planning for its future can be a daunting task even in the best of circumstances. But for those Colorado families faced with the additional challenge of a special needs family member, this task is often magnified. In this case, special needs planning is a critical component of estate planning for the family's future.

In some instances, the family is aware that their baby will be born with special needs. In other cases, an illness or accident results in a family member developing special needs. Regardless, planning for the family's future and this member's future in particular is an important part of estate planning.

Remarriage and estate planning

After your mother died, you took care of dad. Now things have changed. Your dad remarried, and she also has grown children. The two of them are not wealthy, but they did get comfortable estates when their other spouses died. Is it appropriate to have a conversation with your dad about his estate plans now that he has remarried?

Frank and honest conversation during estate planning decisions may help avoid anger down the road.

Understanding the basics of a power of attorney

You have probably heard of something called a power of attorney, especially when it comes to your aging parent. When going over the estate and medical directives, a power of attorney is an important document to include.

What is a power of attorney and why is it so important?

Medicaid planning is an important part of estate planning

The will has been drafted, trusts have been created and the estate plan is in place. Once each of these items is taken care of, the Colorado resident may believe that he or she has adequately protected his or her family and estate. Yet, if Medicaid planning has not been included in this process, both could be left vulnerable.

Nursing home care is expensive and can quickly deplete one's estate thus drastically altering what you anticipated leaving to your loved ones. Fortunately, Medicaid can cover nursing care expenses; however, Medicaid does have specific requirements that must met before you can be eligible.  An individual applying for Medicaid benefits has to first meet specific income and asset requirements.

Preparation key to saving time and money with estate planning

As with most things, preparing ahead of time for one's initial meeting with an attorney can save both time and money. Estate planning encompasses a vast array of decisions which must be made and assets which must be addressed. By thinking through some of the basics and gathering the appropriate information, the Colorado resident can be prepared.

In addition to providing the attorney with one's basic information, the attorney will need to know one's marital status and if there are any children. Additionally, if there are children and one of them has borrowed from his or her portion of the estate or should be treated differently than any others, this should be noted. For example, one child may be estranged from the family, may be financially irresponsible or may have a disability that necessitates other considerations.

Is your elderly parent being exposed to financial abuse?

Let us say your mother, a widow who lives alone, is about to turn 80. She has always been alert and active, but lately, you have noticed some cognitive changes.

Your mom attends an exercise class at the senior center and has made a new male friend. Is it your imagination, or is your mother becoming too dependent on her friend's financial advice?

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