Estate planning is one of the most important steps any person can take to make sure that their final property and health care wishes are honored, and that loved ones are provided for in their absence. Though often overlooked or put off in favor of more immediate concerns, a comprehensive estate plan can resolve a number of legal questions that arise whenever anyone dies: What is the state of their financial affairs? What real and personal property do they own? Who gets what? Does a personal guardian need to be appointed to care for minor children? How much tax will need to be paid in order to transfer property ownership? What funeral arrangements are appropriate? Click here for more information.
Unfortunately, many nursing home residents end up exhausting their assets on long-term care. But it doesn't have to be that way. The best time to plan for the possibility of nursing home care is when you're still healthy. By doing so, you may be able to pay for your long-term care and protect assets for your loved ones. How? Through Medicaid planning.You worked hard all of your life to pay off your mortgage and build a retirement fund. You expected to live off your savings in the comfort of your own home, and you planned to leave something to your kids at the appropriate time. Suddenly, the unthinkable happens--you suffer a stroke at age 70 and must spend the rest of your years in a nursing home. What will happen to your life savings? Click here for more information.
If a person becomes incapacitated without having previously made a durable power of attorney, they may need a guardian. Guardianship is a legal procedure by which a court declares an adult incompetent and appoints someone to manage financial matters, living arrangements and medical care decisions. When a court appoints a guardian for an adult, that person loses the right to make some or all of their own decisions for themselves. For this reason, there are many safety mechanisms in place to insure that the alleged disabled person has an adequate opportunity to contest the appointment of a guardian, if they so choose. A respondent in a guardianship proceeding must be served with summons, and the court will typically appoint a guardian ad litem to interview the respondent to determine if the respondent objects. A respondent has the right to a trial by jury, a right to present evidence, and the right to be represented by an attorney, among other rights. The guardian ad litem informs the respondent of those rights when he/she meets with the respondent. Click here for more information.
Probate is the process by which the probate court identifies a decedent's heirs, determines the validity of the decedent's Will, someone to be responsible for administering the probate estate (called an Executor if there is a Will or an Administrator if there is no Will), and supervises the administration of the decedent's probate estate. Technically, probate also includes guardianship petitions and administration. However, when people speak of "Probate", they typically are referring to the administration of decedents estates. Click here for more information.
Nursing home admissions often occur during stressful times for a resident and family members. As a result the resident and family members are inclined to agree to whatever conditions presented by the nursing home. This inclination should be resisted. Some nursing homes, although not all, may present contracts with illegal or unfair conditions, that, if accepted, will come back to haunt the resident and his or her family. Click here for more information.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to recognize the wrongdoer in cases involving elder exploitation and abuse. Oftentimes, the wrongdoer may at first glance appears to be a trusted family member, concerned neighbor, friendly public service worker, or even a friend from church. However, their actions make financial motivations clear. At Delaney Delaney & Voorn, Ltd., we work towards protecting our client, the elder, against financial exploitation and abuse. Cases handled by the attorneys in our firm have included cases involving: wrongdoing by the power of attorney agent and embezzlement by caregivers. Click here for more information.