When Charlotte residents start thinking about elder law issues and estate planning, there are always many 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, a Charlotte elder law attorney will try to clear up some of the most common myths out there. But, if you have any other questions, our Charlotte elder law attorney is happy to answer them for you.
Your spouse might not be authorized to automatically handle your affairs
One common misconception that gets a lot of people in trouble is the notion that your spouse can automatically have the power 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.
The benefits of a power of attorney as part of 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 Charlotte elder law attorney is here to help you.
Giving away property to qualify for Medicaid does not work
An unfortunate mistake that many Charlotte 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 may need long-term or nursing home care. In order to be eligible for Medicaid , an applicant can have no more than $2,000 in countable financial 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 Charlotte elder law attorney to better understand your options.
You need an estate plan regardless of the size of your estate
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, you have no control over who will get your property after your death. Our Charlotte 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 is not sufficient to protect your loved ones
Another important thing to remember is that North Carolina’s 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 Charlotte elder law attorney can help you get started.
Having that estate planning conversation with your parents may not be easy
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 smoother. You can have an opportunity to resolve any disagreements the family members may have 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 Charlotte elder law attorney for assistance.
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 (704) 944-3245 (Charlotte, NC and Huntersville, NC) or for individuals in Kentucky at (606) 324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or at (859) 372-6655 (Florence, KY).