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White Plains Long-Term Care Planning Law Blog

Should I approve a feeding tube for my loved one?

Imagine your mother or father suffered a catastrophic stroke and you're the designated health care power of attorney. Depending on the severity of your loved one's health condition, he or she could be incapacitated and unable to make decisions for him- or herself. As the health care "attorney in fact" or health care "proxy," you'll need to be the one to speak with doctors to ensure doctors give the kind of care your loved one would want.

In these circumstances, your loved one's doctor may suggest the use of a feeding tube. Should you approve? This article will help you consider your options.

What is the purpose of probate?

From time-to-time, you might hear someone refer to probate court. Although it may be commonly referred to in movies and television, not everyone has a clear sense of what probate is and its purpose. Hopefully this post will help shed some light on the subject.

Probate is the legal process through which property is transferred after a property owner's death. Generally speaking, probate calls for the gathering of all assets, paying off debts and distributing any remaining assets in accordance with an estate plan and the law. Typically, this process is carried out by an administrator who is either named by the deceased individual or appointed by the court.

Your estate plan should be multifaceted

You might think that only wealthy people need to create an estate plan, but that thought can end up harming you and your family in the long run. Every adult, regardless of age or social status, should have an estate plan in place.

An estate plan requires more than just jotting down whom you think should have which of your assets. These plans include a variety of points that can help to guide everything from personal care in your final days through what will happen to your assets after you pass on.

Common care planning mistakes

As we age, our needs change. While our younger years may be focus on building a family and accumulating wealth; our elderly years, may focus primarily on caring for ourselves and preparing to leave our assets behind to our loved ones. Although many people are aware of the estate planning process and how it can be beneficial to them and their family, some fail to recognize the importance of long-term care planning. Thus, it is imperative to understand some of the mistakes to avoid when considering this important issue.

There are many mistakes an individual can make when considering long-term care planning. Perhaps the most common is waiting too long to consider the matter. This can be problematic, as the need for long-term care is realistic. In fact, about 10 million people need such care each year. By failing to adequately prepare for long-term care, an individual may suddenly find him or herself in desperate need , and without the financial resources to meet those needs.

What is probate and how does it apply to me?

The passing of a loved one can kick start a process that triggers the distribution of the deceased's assets and debts. This process, as well as the court that can oversee it, is often referred to as probate. Many people cringe when they hear the word probate, as it causes them to conjure images of embattled relatives fighting over a deceased loved one's money. Although this can and does happen, this is not the sole purpose of probate.

In fact, the probate court has several purposes. First, it can hear cases where a will exists, determining whether the will is legally valid. Second, a probate court can select an individual to administer an estate, which can be key to how the estate is handled. Third, a probate court can be responsible for tallying all assets and liabilities in an estate and distributing those assets in accordance with a deceased individual's will, or when there is no will, in accordance with the law. In conjunction with that responsibility, it can be left to the probate court to determine who qualifies under the law as a beneficiary.

Despite emotional strain, guardianship appropriate for many

Aging can take a toll on us. Not just on our physical abilities but also on our mental capabilities. This can render day-to-day living extremely difficult, making dealing with healthcare and financial issues impossible. When an individual is unable to make these decisions for him or herself, it may be time to consider an adult guardianship.

A guardianship is different from a power of attorney, which is important for New Yorkers to realize. A power of attorney appoints an individual to make financial and healthcare decisions in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated, but the appointed individual can be changed at any time by the grantor without having to take the matter to court. A guardianship, on the other hand, occurs when the court appoints an individual to serve as the guardian of another. Oftentimes, guardianship only terminates when the protected individual dies or the court deems the guardianship no longer necessary.

The 4 stages of bed sores

You thought your mother was safe and the nursing home was taking great care of her. After all, you did everything you could to research the best nursing home in your area, and your family has paid a lot to ensure your mother receives the best care.

However, the last time you visited your mom, she was complaining of a bad sore on her hip. Upon closer inspection, you realized she may have a bed sore. "Isn't this is a common problem among the victims of nursing home neglect?" you wonder. Indeed, bed sores often result from the neglect of patients by nursing home staff. 

For decades, we have helped New Yorkers with care planning

As we age, our needs increase. We may need extensive medical care after the onset of an unexpected medical condition, long-term care may become necessary, and for some, a live-in aid may prove beneficial. As helpful as these services can be, they can also be quite costly. This can be problematic for individuals who are retired or are unable to work on account of their condition. This is why care planning is so important.

Previously, this blog discussed ways individuals could seek assistance in covering their long-term medical costs. Although Medicaid and Medicare can provide significant assistance to many individuals, it often isn't enough to fully cover the costs needed. Making matter worse, this is not the only thing that needs to be considered when thinking about one's future care. He or she also needs to consider what will happen to them in the event that they become incapacitated and are no longer able to care for themselves.

Celebrity's estate planning mistakes could be costly

To the unfamiliar, having an estate plan may seem relatively simple. One just needs to write something up saying how he or she wishes for her assets to be divided upon his or her passing and that's it. For better or worse, the process is nowhere near that easy. In fact, the process can be exceedingly difficult when estate planning matters are improperly handled. When this happens, it can be time-consuming and costly to resolve these matters, not to mention one's estate may not pass according to one's wishes. For this reason, competent estate planning is recommended.

To see an example of how seemingly minor mistakes can have major consequences in this realm, one need only look to Philip Seymour Hoffman's estate. Upon the actor's passing in 2014, his approximately $35 million estate passed to his then girlfriend who was supposed to use the money to raise their children. The first mistake was that Hoffman and his girlfriend never married, a move which would have allowed them to avoid estate taxes. The slip-up, which may seem minor, ended up costing nearly $12 million.

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White Plains, NY 10601

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