Legal recommendations for older adults

Jim Lemonds from Brown & Crouppen has three things we need to think about.

Aging brings its own legal challenges and issues. Medical problems, medical care and property distribution after death are all areas where taking steps now can save your loved ones a lot of time, money and heartache.

Here are three things that all adults—but especially older adults—should consider having.

An Advanced Health care directive

An advanced health care directive (sometimes called a “living will” or a ”health care directive”) is a legal document that can:

  • Specify whether you want to be an artificial life support if you become permanently unconscious or are otherwise dying and unable to speak for yourself.
  • Name somebody to act as your designated health care decision maker (if you don’t already have one.)

Long-term care insurance

70% of all Americans will need long-term care at some point after they turn 65. Health insurance, which is usually employer based, isn’t designed to cover long-term care costs.

Long-term care insurance is designed to cover long-term care services and support, such as:

  • Alzheimer’s care
  • Nursing home costs
  • In-home nursing
  • Assisted daily living costs (bathing, eating, dressing, housework, etc.)

Like any insurance policy, how much long-term care insurance covers will depend on the policy that is purchased.

For more information, visit the Administration on Aging’s website, www.aoa.gov or

http://longtermcare.gov/

A Will

If a person dies without a Will, they are said to have died “intestate.”  If you die intestate, here is what can happen:

  • A court looks to “intestate succession laws” to decide how and to whom your assets will be distributed. 
  • Your heirs are powerless to change the Court’s decisions.
  • Your heirs are powerless to fight for what you wanted, even if you verbally told everybody how you wanted your assets distributed

For the most part, any person eighteen-years-old, or any emancipated minor of sound mind may make a Will.  The term “sound mind” means someone who is competent to make contracts and perform all of his or her civil duties; and who has not been deemed incompetent in a prior legal proceeding.

  • There are several websites which can produce simple wills for little or no money.
  • You can also hire a probate attorney.


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