When Ashland residents begin to consider elder law issues and estate planning goals, there are a few typical questions that come up. Some of those questions are based on common misconceptions about certain elder law issues or about estate planning in general. In this article, your Ashland elder law attorney will try to clear up some of the most common myths out there. But, if you have any other questions, our Ashland elder law attorney is happy to answer them for you.
Your Spouse Cannot Automatically Handle Your Affairs
One common misconception that causes a lot of problems for many people is the idea that your spouse will automatically have the authority to take over your financial or business matters for you if you become incapacitated. While that may be true in some situations, it does not always work out that way. For example, a bank account that does not have your spouse’s name on it cannot be accessed by your spouse simply because you are married. This is why a power of attorney is such an important document to have.
Using a Power of Attorney in Your Incapacity Planning
The purpose of a power of attorney is to give someone you choose the authority to manage your affairs if you are ever unable to do so yourself. You can decide precisely how much power you want your agent to have. Creating a power of attorney is especially important as we get older because aging tends to result in decreased mental capacity for many of us. For that reason, even if you have a spouse, you should consider taking steps to put an appropriate power of attorney in place before you need one. Our Ashland elder law attorney is here to help you.
You Cannot Give Away Property to Become Eligible for Medicaid
An unfortunate mistake that many Ashland residents make is believing they can basically give away their property or put their homes in the name of a family member in order to reduce their assets to meet Medicaid’s threshold. This situation arises most often when a senior has reached the point that they need long-term or nursing home care.
To be eligible to have Medicaid foot the bill, an applicant can have no more than $2,000 in countable economic resources. The problem is, giving away your assets before applying for Medicaid can result in a delay, or even denial, of Medicaid benefits. Before you decide to transfer any property, talk to our Ashland elder law attorney to better understand your options.
You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Need an Estate Plan
A mistake that many people make is thinking that their estate is too small to really need an estate plan. In reality, everyone needs some form of estate planning because, if you die without a will or other planning, you have no control over who will get your property after your death. Our Ashland elder law attorney understands that for most people, being able to decide now how your estate will be distributed later is very important. But if you fail to plan ahead, then your property will be distributed based on the laws of intestate succession.
Intestate Succession Does Not Always Protect Your Loved Ones
Another important thing to remember is that Kentucky laws of intestate succession do not take into consideration whether an heir is incapacitated, has special needs, or is a minor at the time they inherit. In order to protect your loved ones who may need extra protection, you need to have a comprehensive estate plan and our Ashland elder law attorney can help you get started.
How to Start the Estate Planning Conversation with Your Parents
When it comes time to have that difficult conversation with your parents, about their death and their inheritances, there are a few things you could do to prepare. It may not be an easy conversation, but if you talk to your family first and make sure everyone is on the same page, it may go much more smoothly. You can have an opportunity to resolve any family disagreements ahead of time.
That way you can approach your parent in a united manner. Another tip is to make sure you allow your parent to participate in the decision-making as much as possible. If you have any specific questions about estate planning or elder law matters, ask our Ashland elder law attorney for assistance.
Join us for a free seminar today! If you have questions regarding elder law or any other estate planning matters, please contact the experienced attorneys at The Potter Law Firm for a consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us at (606) 324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or at (859) 372-6655 (Florence, KY), or for individuals in North Carolina at (704) 944-3245 (Charlotte, NC and Huntersville, NC).