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Denver Elder Law Blog

Do not wait until you are broke to apply for Medicaid

Now that your parents are getting on in years, it is your time to take care of them. Sometimes the best way to do that is round-the-clock care, and this can be an expensive burden to take on.

Before you start draining your family’s bank accounts to pay for long-term care, consider sitting down with your parents to discuss Medicaid options. Eligibility for the state’s Health First Colorado program may be within your reach.  

Do you believe these estate planning myths?

A substantial amount of misinformation is floating around regarding a number of topics. While some myths and falsehoods, like which celebs may be getting divorced, may have no major bearing on Colorado residents' lives, some incorrect information could result in unnecessary difficulties for individuals or their families. For instance, there are certain misconceptions about estate planning that many people mistakenly believe.

One of the biggest myths regarding estate planning is that it is only needed by people who have a considerable amount of wealth. While it is true that individuals with high net worths can benefit from creating estate plans, it is not true that they are the only ones who can. Any adult can reap benefits from having an estate plan, and those benefits can range from ensuring that there are instructions in place for long-term care and for guardianship of minor children in the event that parents pass away.

One's estate planning needs may change over time

Life is full of changes. What was important to the Colorado resident in his or her 20s is probably very different from what is important as that individual ages. Families and finances change over time.  As a result, it is often necessary to make changes to your estate plan. 

A will is often the most important part of a person's estate plan and should be updated as family circumstances change. If an original beneficiary has died, the will may need to be updated to take this into account. This can be especially important if the deceased beneficiary was a spouse and the individual has since remarried.

What is financial elder abuse?

As your parent gets older, you may be primarily concerned with his or her physical and mental condition. While this is certainly a priority, you should not forget about financial health too. Sadly, elder financial abuse is a common phenomenon that deserves your awareness.

Elder financial abuse refers to the mismanagement or theft of an elderly individual's money, investments or property. Financial abusers see elderly people as vulnerable targets and unlikely to expose the abuse. The abuse can take place over years or be a single incident. Here is what you should know about this type of elder abuse

Estate planning and digital accounts

In today's world, almost every household has one or more computers. These devices have made life simpler in many ways. For example, the Colorado resident can pay bills, make purchases and communicate with friends and family without leaving the comfort of the recliner. However, this change in lifestyle has also made estate planning more challenging in some ways.

Now that so many individuals use the internet to pay their bills and review their investment and other financial accounts, the paper trail that was once used to track the deceased's assets and liabilities is often nonexistent. In many instances, loved ones must look through the individual's email and other digital accounts and devices to obtain a clear picture. Unfortunately, access to these accounts and devices may be hampered by password protection.

Living arrangements for the golden years

There is no question that medical advancements allow people to live longer, fuller lives. Many people require specific levels of support to maximize their independence while maintaining optimal health care. To meet these needs, the options for seniors can seem endless and bewildering.

Four of the main living arrangements for those who need services are senior housing, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and memory care communities for those with Alzheimer's or dementia.

3 reasons why becoming a caregiver is harder than you think

Over the years, you have watched your parents go from vibrant to frail. Now that your mother is gone, your father seems to drift from one place to another.

Your parents never had a plan for their care in later years. You and your siblings do not like the thought of a care facility, but no one is jumping in to take care of him. Your father prefers to stay in a familiar place, and as such, you decide to take him. A caregiver for an aging parent bears burdens you may not have thought about. The following three factors should give rise to a conversation about your dad's future residence.

Elder law is designed to protect a vulnerable population of people

Growing older is a fact of life. Whether you live here in Colorado or elsewhere, as you age, you could become a target for someone who believes you are vulnerable. One form of abuse many older people suffer is financial abuse. Elder law is designed to help protect you from these types of people.

Sadly, it is not just strangers who attempt to take advantage of older people. In many cases, family members are the ones perpetrating the financial abuse. You may think your loved ones would never do that to you, but what if you are wrong? 

Considering guardianship to protect parents' investments

Having an aging parent can be a blessing, but it can also come with its challenges. While Colorado residents are certainly happy to still have their older parents around, it can be difficult to see mental decline occur and to witness parents struggle to keep up with important financial and household decisions. In some cases, an adult child may need to pursue guardianship in efforts to prevent detrimental outcomes.

In particular, it can be difficult for aging individuals to keep up with their real estate investments. Because real estate investments are often lucrative, it is important that property continues to be handled in an appropriate manner. If an older person begins to suffer from cognitive decline, he or she may not collect rent as necessary or fail to complete needed maintenance for property upkeep. Property taxes could even fall to the wayside.

Family issues can cause trouble with estate planning efforts

The process of making important financial and legal decisions regarding the future is not easy. It can be especially difficult when a Colorado family is dealing with personal conflict and other issues that can complicate the estate planning process. Navigating difficult family dynamics while trying to make plans for the future can add stress to an already emotional and sometimes complicated process.

When asked to talk about estate planning, many people admit that the hardest aspect is dealing with family dynamics at the same time. While it may be tempting to practice avoidance, some family issues have to be dealt with and discussed in order to complete a plan and make smart decisions. Some people avoid estate planning altogether because they do not want to stir up difficult emotions or deal with drama. However, not having a plan is a serious mistake.

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