Copyright 2017 Jim Schuster, Certified Elder Law Attorney
(If you are looking for a checklist to complete, see our “Clients” page for a handy form)
We know it is hard for many clients to start the “estate planning process.” After who wants to think about dying! But, in elder law there is much living to do before we can consider dying. For example what if:
You are on a vacation and your home is damaged by the weather? Do you have a family member or friend who lives nearby and can take care of everything till you get back?
You have a fall and are in the emergency room? Who has your HIPAA and medical authorization to take care of your medical matters until you can again?
Then, of course, there is the simple fact it is good to have your affairs in order. Do your legal documents protect YOU? Have you provided protection for family when you are not available? Maybe you should take action today?
Here are some questions that may help you.
You must grant authority to a spouse, child or friend to take care of your legal and business matters. This is most easily done by a complete general durable power of attorney. If it is complete, it is one of the most useful legal documents you can have.
□ Have I given an “attorney-in-fact” (agent) authority to handle business matters for me when I am away or unable?
□ Have I named more than one person incase the first cannot do what I need done?
□ Am I concerned that I may become incapacitated and need to give family members authority now to help me take care of my legal affairs when I am not able?
□ Would I rather have the Probate Court appoint a guardian because I have concerns about my family?
□ Do I want my spouse or children to be able to sign legal documents for me if I am incapacitated?
□ If I have executed a durable power of attorney, am I sure that my banks, insurance companies, investment companies, credit card companies and all that I do business with will allow my named agents do what I want done for me?
□ Does my spouse have a Durable Power of Attorney appointing me as his or her Attorney in Fact?
□ Do I want to be able to access government benefits even if that means I must place some of my property in an “asset shelter”?
□ If I have executed a durable power of attorney, will my agent need to get doctors’ letters proving that I am unable to manage my affairs before they can help?
The medical field is extensively regulated and involves our most private matters. We need to name a person who can receive confidential medical information and make medical decisions, in accordance with our wishes, when we cannot.
□ Have I signed a HIPAA consent form?
□ Have I named healthcare agents?
□ Will my wishes and instructions be followed if I am incapacitated?
□ Can a signed copy of my MPOA be quickly and easily produced should I be in an emergency room?
□ If I am too sick to do it myself, do I want an advocate who fire doctors who are not helping me, hire specialists and argue with insurance companies who are wrongly denying me benefits?
□ Do I want to be kept alive by medical equipment if I am in a permanent coma or vegetative state?
□ Do I want tube feeding if I am terminally ill?
□ Have I stated my instructions about end of life medical care?
□ Have I chosen who will speak for me and be my Patient Advocate?
□ Have I completed a Designation of Patient Advocate?
□ Have I stated my wishes concerning gifts I wish to make after I die?
□ Do I want to make one last charitable gift after I die?
□ Do I want to make gifts to friends?
□ Do I want to be remembered as a person who helped others after I died?
□ Do I want to name the person, my “personal representative,” who will take
care of my legal affairs after I die?
□ Have there been any major changes in my life since I executed my Will?
□ Do I have a Will complete with all of my instructions?
□ Do I want to avoid Probate?
□ Do I have a family who will take care of me if I become incapacitated?
□ Do I want to provide instructions on how to use my property for my care should I become incapacitated?
□ Do I have a written plan for my care should my spouse die before me?
□ Do I have anybody I can trust with my assets if I am incapacitated?
□ Can I rely on children to take care of me as I wish if I become incapacitated?
□ Do I want to avoid having the Probate Court take over management of my property if I become incapacitated?
□ Do I want to give guidance and instructions to my loved ones on how to use their gifts after I die?
□ Do I want to help my loved ones with guidance and instruction after I die?
□ Am I my spouse’s caregiver and am concerned about who will take care of my spouse after I die?
□ Do I want to provide instructions and guidance for the care of my spouse after I die?
□ Do I have a disabled son or daughter?
□ Do I have a plan for the care of my disabled son or daughter?
□ Am I concerned about my spouse if I have to go to a nursing home?
□ Do I have enough assets to pay for a long term stay in a nursing home and have enough for my spouse and family?
□ Do I want to save money for my family should either my spouse of myself need to enter a nursing home?
□ Do I want to save my home and my life-savings if I long term need nursing home care?
□ Do I want to make an appointment with my attorney to get my affairs in order?
□ Do I want to call Elder Law attorney Jim Schuster at (248) 356-3500 to make an appointment?
Jim Schuster, Certifed Elder Law Attorney, 33900 Schoolcraft, Livonia, MI 48150 (248) 356-3500