Even with the best intentions, most senior citizens don’t plan for a future in which they may be incapacitated. Perhaps they didn’t want to face the prospect of losing autonomy, or perhaps they fell ill before they had a chance to plan. Either way, for those with elder relatives and loved ones who no longer appear able to make sound financial and medical decisions, petitioning for an adult guardianship, also known as a conservatorship may be a viable option.
When a child with special needs turns 18, parents must begin to think about sensitive issues such as long-term care planning and how to legally stay in control. Adult guardianship is one such vehicle that allows parents to have legal and financial authority over their children when their parental rights would otherwise be terminated.
As a Salt Lake County Probate Lawyer, I’m commonly asked, “What are the most important steps I need to take after the death of a loved one?”
While each situation is different, there are eight general tasks that I advise families to start with when attempting to finalize their loved one’s affairs and close out the estate. They are as follows:
Unfortunately, family feuds that center around someone’s will or trust are a tale as old as time. Even if this is not something you have personally experienced, you may have heard a few horror stories. While family squabbles after the death of a loved one are not always avoidable, there are a few strategies that can be utilized to decrease the possibility:
1. If you have dependents, plan for the “what if.”
Being a responsible parent is usually associated with bedtime stories with toddlers, homework reminders for grade schoolers and trying to decide whether or not your teenager is responsible enough to drive to school on his or her own. Creating an estate plan for those children is not something we usually associate with responsible parenting, but it is just as important as everything else.
Children with special needs, or Children with Special Health Care Needs as defined by the Social Security Act, are eligible to receive a number of government benefits to pay for the aid, care, and services that are available to them. There are many ways a child can qualify as a Child with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN), though it usually comes down to suffering from certain conditions, such as Down’s syndrome, ADHD, cerebral palsy, and autism. The following is a list of the benefits that are available to children with special needs:
Not too long ago, a person who decided to leave an inheritance behind for their pet might be considered eccentric, to say the least. Take, for example, the case of Leona Helmsley: when she died in 2007, she left her dog Trouble an inheritance worth $12 million. While there may have been other factors weighing in on her decision (such as sending a message to her grandchildren), Helmsley’s wishes for making sure her pet was cared for after she was gone are echoed by pet owners across the country.
Many people plan for their retirement by using Roth IRAs due to their great tax benefits, but most don’t know that Roth IRAs are also excellent for avoiding probate.
First, here are some basics about tax planning with Roth IRAs that Salt Lake County probate lawyers typically go over with their clients:
The elderly are too often targets of unscrupulous individuals who may try to take an unsuspecting senior’s money. Seniors are especially vulnerable as they become less cognitively able and thus more dependent on other adults. Unfortunately, elder financial abuse is common in Utah. Here are some red flags to watch out for with your elderly relative:
When it comes to creating a special needs plan for a loved one with disabilities, it’s the hope that all family members are in agreement and ideally on the same page. But, even if everyone is working together, there can be issues when the parents are divorced. Often, there are separate estates, separate finances, and other factors to consider for both parents when creating trusts and other care plans for children with special needs. By facing the following challenges now, divorced parents have the best chance of creating solid plans for the future: