Top End of Life Documents You May Need

Most people already know that their last will and testament is the cornerstone of their financial and estate plan. However, many consumers don’t have this critical document in place. A 2014 American Journal of Preventive Medicine study found that up to three quarters of Americans don’t even have a health care proxy, an advanced directive or a living will. 

That’s in addition to only 42% of the population having a will. A well thought out will is one of the most important preparations to put in place as you age, but there are other estate planning and end of life documents that should be considered.

Your unique situation will determine which of these strategies and tools is most important for you and sitting down with an estate planning lawyer is one way to identify what will work for you as well as what you need to protect your best interests. These documents include:

  •      A living will
  •      Health care proxy or power of attorney for health care
  •      DNR – DNI orders
  •      Durable power of attorney
  •      Organ donor designation
  •      Diminishing capacity letters
  •      Life insurance
  •      Digital assets memorandum
  •      Personal property memorandum
  •      Relevant information collection

 

Make sure that when you spend all of the time to put together necessary documents to protect your assets and to articulate your end of life wishes, that you provide information for your loved ones or at least your attorney to access this. In a heat of the moment and in the midst of a crisis, it can be challenging for your loved ones to figure out where you have stored such information, but an experienced attorney can be one method for protecting your interests and your rights.  

 

Elder Fraud on The Rise-Up To $36 Billion

A recent study found that three out of ten state securities regulators have seen an increase in elder fraud complaints and cases. Many people are under the impression that it is only cognitively affected older individuals who are at risk for financial scams. However, one out of every 18 cognitively intact elderly people can fall prey to financial abuse or fraud in a given study. 

One 2015 report estimated that more than $36 billion is lost every single year to financial abuse and scams. That problem is increasing and older adults who are experiencing a decline in their cognitive abilities are only a part of the overall story. The population that is currently retiring is one of the wealthiest in recent history, in terms of their retirement savings and criminals know this and will target these elderly individuals to exploit them.

Seniors can also be more vulnerable. This makes it especially important to have assets protected with an asset protection plan and an estate plan. These tools should be updated at least on an annual basis to reflect any changes in your life. Consulting with an estate planning attorney can help you avoid many of the most common financial scams and abuse and to figure out a long terms strategy to protect the assets you have worked so hard to build.

If you are concerned about an elderly loved one who may be subject to financial scam and abuse, working with an estate planning attorney to protect those assets inside a trust can help your loved have peace of mind that they will have the funds they need to get through retirement and old age without a high chance of scams.

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