Area of Practice
Estate Planning & Elder Law
Longer life spans and the aging of the baby boomer population have resulted in a historically significant aging population. This age group has seen tremendous strides in healthcare developments but have also experienced higher divorce rates and declining birth rate. Without adequate family support and financial support, our elderly are too often left in substandard housing, or are without housing, lack access to adequate health care. The mental and physical challenges faced by the elderly also mean they are more susceptible to mismanaging their finances and their health, as well as being taken advantage of by people who are willing to exploit their limitations for financial gain.
By 2030, all members of the baby boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964) will be 65 years old or older and is expected to make up 20% of the US population. For many years, people 65+ years old were the fastest growing age group in the US, with those 85 years and older growing the fastest. Women continue to outnumber men in this age group and have a higher risk of living in poverty.
A Guardianship and a conservatorship are legal tools that can help you care for an elderly loved one who is struggling with limited cognitive or physical functioning or mental health issues. A guardianship grants one or more people with the authority to make medical, mental health and other personal decisions for your loved one. A conservatorship authorizes one or more people to manage your loved one’s finances and make financial decisions for him or her.
Other ways to plan for your or another family member’s later years include: establishing or updating a will or trust, understanding and obtaining Medicare or Medicaid benefits, establishing a power of attorney for decision-making (including medical, financial and legal issues) and setting up an advance directive for end-of-life medical treatment.
Our attorneys can work with you, other members of your family and healthcare providers to determine how to best assist you and protect you and your loved ones.
Wills & Trusts
Powers of Attorney
Wills and Trusts
If you do not have a will in place, it may be time for you to get one. If you have a will, but have not reviewed it recently, your will may need to be updated to address changes that have occurred in your life. Establishing a trust as part of your will is an added benefit for those who want to provide oversight of the distribution of their assets to a beneficiary, most often when the beneficiary is a minor or young adult.
Knowing your estate is in good hands and your loved ones will be provide for in the event of your death is invaluable.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to designate a trusted person – your “attorney-in fact” – to make decisions for you when you cannot. Sometimes, expected and unexpected life events – such as deployment overseas or an illness that renders you incapacitated – can leave you in a position where you are unable to make important financial decisions for yourself. By having a power of attorney in place ahead of time, you can take comfort in knowing someone you trust will step in to manage your finances with your best interests in mind.
A power of attorney can be general or limited. A general power of attorney provides your attorney-in-fact with all the rights and powers you have over your finances. A limited power of attorney is created for a more specific purpose, such as signing legal documents if you will not be available to do so.
A durable power of attorney designates an individual to step in to manage your financial affairs and make decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Without one in place, if you become incapacitated, a court will have to appoint someone to serve as a conservator to manage your finances, which can be a lengthy and expensive process.
Living Will and Advance Directive
A living will is a power of attorney that allows someone else to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated and unable to make informed medical decisions for yourself. Your designated agent will be able to provide or refuse consent to medical treatment and procedures on your behalf.
An advance directive, or advance medical directive, is a legal document that informs medical care providers about what kind of medical care you do and do not want in the event you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself.
Wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills and advance medical directives are essential tools in safeguarding your future and providing for your loved ones after you are gone. If you do not have these estate planning tools in place, or your estate planning documents need to be updated, contact Cisneros, McElroy & Boone, PC and schedule a consultation today. Your future deserves protection.