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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: Living Will

    Estate Planning For Young Professionals

    Young professionals hear a lot about the importance of establishing a 401(k), paying off their student loans early, saving an emergency youngmanlaptopfund, and budgeting advice, but far too often one of the most important aspects of financial planning is left out of the conversation: estate planning.

    Estate planning is not just for the rich, the famous, or the elderly—it’s for young people too! Young professionals at a minimum should have a basic will that directs where their assets will go upon their passing. In some states such as California where the court process for passing your assets is very long and expensive, a trust should be strongly considered.

    Young professionals also need medical directives so designated family members or friends can make their medical decisions in an emergency situation. Under federal laws, doctors and hospitals are prohibited from communicating with your loved ones unless you have specifically authorized them to do so through proper legal documentation.

    Estate planning is also not just about money.  If you have young children, you also need to consider establishing an emergency plan for your children in case you are seriously injured.  Otherwise your children are at risk of temporary foster care, or having a judge choose who raises them.  You also need to document your wishes for how you wish for your children to be raised, and preserve important memories and hopes for them if you were to pass away.

    The best place to begin evaluating your estate planning needs is by meeting with your Newport Beach family trust attorneys. We can help you understand what would happen if you pass away without planning, and what estate planning strategies are best for you to ensure your money would go to who you want, and your loved ones would be cared for.  While online ‘do it yourself’ websites have become more popular, they typically have disclaimers disclosing that they are not attorneys and do not have a fiduciary duty to you, whereas attorneys do. When people do face a medical emergency or pass away, their family quickly realizes that the ‘do it yourself’ approach has failed them.

    Call Meier Law Firm today at 949-718-0420 and schedule a planning session to get started.

    Living Will Challenges

    Critical documents about your preferences for end-of-life care don't always work as planned. More flexibility might be the answer.

    Making end of life decisions means generating and updating your living will (or advance health care directive). These documents often appear simple, but that doesn’t mean the underlying issues themselves aren’t complex.

    According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal titled “A New Look at Living Wills,” unfortunately these issues are only growing increasingly complex.

    In its essence, the living will is a document in which you clarify your medical wishes. This allows your loved ones to implement them if you are incapacitated and unable to reflect upon them yourself in the future. Given modern medical science, doctors can keep a human body “alive” long after the “person” inside has lost what he or she would have regarded as a minimally acceptable quality of life.

    With each new advance in medical science, there seem to be more and more ethical and legal dilemmas. For example, the typical living will contemplates feeding tubes and respirators, but these can maintain a “persistent vegetative state” leading to shades of gray for the appointed health care agent and physician as they interpret your wishes. Moreover, the boundary between the patient being “there” or “not there” is only getting hazier as science progresses. In the end, even physicians don’t always seem to understand the power they may be wielding over life and death.

    Planning for your end-of-life scenarios is never easy, nor is it easy to faithfully interpret the wishes of a loved one. Nevertheless, as with all aspects of estate planning, communication with your agents, loved ones, physician, and spiritual advisor holds the key to success as you define it.

    Contact Meier Law Firm to discuss how you can create an estate plan that fulfills all of your wishes.

    Reference: The Wall Street Journal (June 8, 2012) “A New Look at Living Wills

    Elder Law

    Increasingly, my friends and I are starting to see the same thing: elderly parents and grandparents who are grappling with memory loss and finding it difficult to manage their finances. And most of us, I'm learning, are making the same mistake: we're waiting too long to act.

    Baby Boomers are discovering that one of life’s most difficult passages is when the child becomes the caretaker for his or her parents. Tough subjects and hard choices can leave us paralyzed when we need to act quickly.

    Communication, early and often, is critical.

    The primary problem with understanding and caring for elderly loved ones lies in recognizing a deteriorating mental condition. Alzheimer’s, for one, affects one in eight persons over the age of 65. Simple dementia, on the other hand, is difficult to define, but far more Americans within that age group suffer from it.

    If your elderly loved ones may be susceptible to Alzheimer’s or dementia, there are certain warning signs to recognize and steps to take. While there is no consensus on exactly how to approach the problem, a recent SmartMoney article titled "Talking to Mom About Alzheimer’s and Her Money" provides some practical advice on understanding and discussing the problem.

    Simply put, there are red flags that cannot be ignored. It is necessary to address this subject with your elderly loved one and begin to take steps to provide for their interests and care. At a minimum, make sure fundamental legal documents are signed while your loved one is mentally capable of understanding. Such documents should include Advance Health Directives, a Living Will, a Financial Durable Power of Attorney and a Last Will.

    Here’s the bottom line: if you and your loved one wait too late to have “the conversation” and take action, then the result may be unnecessary legal fees, courts and costs.

    Reference: SmartMoney (May 7, 2012) Talking to Mom About Alzheimer's and Her Money

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