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Denver Elder Law Blog

3 diagnoses that are signals to start elder care planning

Sometimes it is difficult to face a challenging idea early on. For example, it is natural to reject the fact that your aging parents may need care.

It is understandable that you may want to wait, but you should not make the same mistake that many people do. Do not wait too long before you establish a strategy to pay for the long-term medical attention your parents might need. Consider your finances and those of your parents if one of these three diagnoses comes up.

Secrets can be an estate planning concern

Secrets are by definition meant to be kept confidential. Yet, when these secrets involve an individual's assets and the individual dies, these secrets can be cause for concern. While keeping certain information regarding assets secret may be preferred by the deceased, that information should be accessible as part of  the Colorado resident's estate planning. As the executor of an estate, one may discover that the deceased did not disclose his or her entire estate in the will or other estate planning documents. This can leave the executor struggling to piece together information so as to properly account for and dispose of assets.

Once the executor begins to suspect that not all assets have been included in the documents at his or her disposal, a search for undisclosed assets should be conducted. One place to begin such a search is in the records maintained by the county assessor where the individual lived. This website will include all real estate owned within the county.

Life care planning can include long-term care insurance

Approaching the latter part of one's life is not a particularly pleasant thing to consider, but it is important to determine certain aspects in advance. This can include how assets will be left to beneficiaries under a will,  or how one wants his or her end of life medical care managed with durable powers of attorney. One point many people here in Colorado and around the country fail to think of is how to pay for long-term care. Allocating certain finances to cover the cost of a nursing home or other facility is an essential part of life care planning.

As good as the care is in many nursing homes and long-term care facilities, it can be very expensive. One study says that the median cost per month in 2018 for a semi-private room is nearly $7,500, and a private room can cost over $8,600. Experts say that the best thing a person can do is make plans ahead of time for how to pay for this type of care if it is needed. Some people assume that their regular health insurance or Medicare can cover the cost, but they do not cover long-term care.  One option is that families may purchase long-term care insurance policy if they qualify, which can offset the expense of a nursing home.

Should you create an estate plan with a mobile app?

It seems as if there is an app for everything these days. You may not think an estate planning app exists, but it does. There is a new app that aims to help people create wills, trusts and other estate planning documents. 

While this may sound like a convenient way to develop an estate plan, it is worth considering whether it is reliable. Here is an analysis of whether you should trust a mobile app when making important decisions regarding asset distribution and other end-of-life decisions. 

When a loved one refuses to consider estate planning needs

Having certain legal and financial protections in place are important for everyone, yet there are some who refuse to consider what they may need in the future or what loved ones may need. Estate planning is a smart way to provide assets and money and ensure they go where a person wants them to go after his or her death. Colorado children and heirs may wonder what they can do when a parent or other loved one refuses to consider estate planning needs.

One thing that may help is to discuss the need and benefit of taking certain steps, such as drafting a will. People are reluctant to move forward with estate planning for many reasons, including fears over privacy. Drafting a will is a smart first step, and there are additional steps a person can take if he or she wishes to make privacy a priority when transferring assets after his or her death. 

How guardianships and conservatorships differ

Watching your parents age is often difficult, and it can prove particularly so if they are also struggling with memory loss, health problems, mental illness and similar issues. Over time, such issues can, in some cases, hinder an older American's ability to carefully consider important matters and make sound decisions on his or her own behalf. If this describes your particular situation, you may be wondering whether it might be time to establish a guardianship or a conservatorship over the parent in question.

While both guardianships and conservatorships involve assuming decision-making power over an incapacitated person's affairs, there are some clear and important distinctions that exist between the two.

Ensuring proper asset titles important part of estate planning

Creating an estate plan is a beneficial step that many Colorado adults choose to take. However, if mistakes with those plans exist, the estate planning process they went through could end up being for naught. In particular, if a person wants to avoid probate or has other specific wishes for his or her estate and assets, mistakes could easily derail those intentions.

In particular, if individuals do not properly title their assets, those assets may not pass on as previously thought. In efforts to avoid probate, some parties may choose to transfer the titles of their assets into the name or names of their intended beneficiaries. However, even if one piece of property or account is not properly titled, that asset will likely have to go through probate, especially if the asset remains in the name of the deceased.

How to afford a nursing home without going broke

Most people set aside a significant amount of savings during their lifetimes. This type of financial planning is both wise and widely recommended. However, it may also be a source of frustration when this planning seems to fall short.

It would be completely natural to become dismayed upon facing the prospect of long-term residential medical care. The national average for this type of living situation is around $8,000 per month. Even if someone were to save for several years of care at that rate, it could come as a surprise when care centers started quoting the significantly higher Colorado nursing home prices. The money saved for care may even seem to disqualify certain people from receiving payment assistance. However, even in these situations, there is often hope.

Proper estate planning can help make dreams come true

The ability to dream and then watch these dreams become reality is something that most Colorado residents aspire to. They dream of growing old and living life to the fullest. They also dream of leaving a legacy of memories for their families to cherish. One way to ensure that these dreams become reality is through proper estate planning.

Part of the process of creating pleasant memories is making sure that family members will not be left to wonder and perhaps even argue over what a loved one wants once that individual is no longer able to communicate this information. Creating a will is the first step in this process. One of the primary functions of a will is to make the individual's wishes known; it directs how assets are to be distributed and can be an effective tool in preventing family dissension and possible legal action.

Estate planning useful for all adults, even those without kids

Estate plans can serve a number of purposes, but some Colorado residents may only know about one or two. For instance, they may know that they can use their wills to name guardians for their children, but since many people do not have children, they may mistakenly think that they do not need an estate plan. In fact, estate planning can be beneficial for any adult, even those without kids.

Individuals who do not have children still need to dictate where their assets go after their deaths. If they do not create plans with these instructions, the state may decide where assets go, and as a result, personal property could land in the hands of random relatives or other individuals. Instead, parties may want to leave specific items to nieces or nephews, close friends or charity. If plans are not made indicating these wishes, they will likely not be carried out.

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