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    Joshua and Laura Meier Newport Beach Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys Focused on Helping Families with Young Kids
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    Category Archives: Incapacity

    Why Everyone Needs an Agent

    Everyone needs an agent – and not the Hollywood type. An agent is someone you designate to handle your estate after you’ve gone or who can make decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself. Here are the kinds of agents everyone needs:smiling woman

    Executor – an executor is the person you designate to carry out your wishes for distributing your assets as listed in your last will and testament. You can choose a family member, a trusted friend or even a professional to fill this role.

    Guardian – if you and your spouse die before your children reach adulthood, a guardian is the person you designate to take care of your minor children as well as handle their finances. Sometimes people decide to split the roles – one guardian to raise the children and another to handle the finances.  Choosing a guardian (as well as a backup in case your first choice cannot serve) ensures your kids are taken care of by the people you know, love and trust, no matter what. One of the best ways to protect your children is to have a comprehensive Kids Protection Plan®. Without it, your children are at risk of being taken into the care of strangers if the people you’ve named as permanent guardians don’t live nearby or if your legal documents cannot be located.

    Durable Power of Attorney – this person is designated by you to make financial decisions on your behalf if you become disabled or otherwise unable to manage your financial affairs.

    Power of Attorney for Healthcare – also known as a healthcare proxy, this is the person you designate to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself and is an important decision when creating your advance medical directives. Their powers can be invoked if you become disabled and unable to make your own decisions about your health care, so your choice should be someone you know will carry out the wishes you have expressed in your advance medical directives or Living Will. They also need to be able to stand up for you if family members have different ideas than you do about your medical treatment.

    One of the main goals of our law practice is to help families like yours, plan for the protection of yourself and your family through thoughtful estate planning. Call your Newport Beach Estate Planning Attorneys today at Meier Law Firm today to schedule an Achieve Your Dreams Planning Session, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family.

    Incapacity – A Practical Problem for Estate Planners

    As medical advances extend human life expectancy, the likelihood that an individual will become incapacitated before dying increases. For…wealth planning and conservation purposes, it is important that we recognize when [someone] is incapacitated and thus unable to execute estate planning documents or manage his or her affairs.

    Estate planning requires the ability to understand what you are doing. But due to age, injury, or illness, at what point might you have too little understanding to make legal plans? That’s a tough call.

    What is incapacity for legal purposes, how do you define it, and how do you keep an accusation of incapacity from ruining your highest hopes for your loved ones? Much is at stake. The estate plans you make affect your life, the lives of your loved ones, and the management and disposition of your hard-earned assets.

    The topic of capacity or incapacity—being “of sound mind and body”—is indeed a difficult one. This issue was addressed in a recent article in the Journal of Financial Planning titled “Defining Incapacity in the Modern Estate Plan.” The article is based on California law, but if you are caring for an elderly loved one, the message is the same: defining legal capacity can be incredibly difficult.

    Much ink has been spilled by lawyers, judges, and family members over the years defining it, too. The biggest teaching point from the article (and my own experience with clients) is to “ink” your own estate plans sooner rather than later. You likely will never again be as sharp as you are today.

    Procrastination is the death bed of proper estate planning.

    Contact Meier Law Firm to discuss your estate planning today!

    Reference: The Journal of Financial Planning (May 2012) “Defining Incapacity in the Modern Estate Plan

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