Monthly Archives: May 2010

Finding a Probate Lawyer

The unfortunate need for a probate lawyer is typically due to death of a relative or loved one. Although this is a difficult time, your efforts should go into finding a good attorney.

So what type of probate lawyer do you need? There are two overarching types that you should be aware of: those that handle administrative duties, and those who will represent clients in court. There is the instance where a lawyer can practice both – but as a general rule, they will sway in one direction. If you are in a suit over an estate, you should look for a litigator: if not, a transaction attorney may be your best bet. An elder lawyer with expertise in trusts or estate planning will be skilled in these situations.
You’ve determined that you need an elder attorney, and even understand which one you should get. Now, how do you find them?

Do some research – start by asking friends and family. This is a trusted source for referrals, as they will have first-hand experience on a suitable lawyer. Then, do some internet searches:  make sure that you read comments and reviews to gain some insight on the elder lawyer.

Once you’ve come up with a list, follow these steps to come up with some appropriate finalists:

1. Check the practice website for biographical information, including specialties, and probateeducation.
2. Contact the state bar to determine whether or not they are in good standing.
3. Check the membership directory of local, state, and national associations. Do you see a listing for your candidate?
4. Look for individuals with practices located in the same area.
5. Ask for references.

When you are about to make a selection, make sure to factor in your instinct to your decision. It’s important to feel a connection with your lawyer, as chances are you will be embarking on an emotional journey – and they will be at your side. Make sure to contact elder lawyer Adam Tobin today to see what he can do for you.

Read more here.

The Options for Power of Attorney

In regards to estate planning, a power of attorney is a crucial asset. However, there are a few different dimensions to power of attorneys, and it’s important to understand and utilize them appropriately.
So what exactly is a power of attorney? By definition, it determines who will act for you gl_feb_art_2008in the instance that you become incapacitated, and someone needs to make financial (or other) decisions. There are four different types of power of attorney:
•    Limited. A limited power of attorney gives someone else the power to act on your behalf for a very limited purpose.

•    General. A general power of attorney is comprehensive and gives your attorney-in-fact all the powers and rights that you have yourself. A general power of attorney ends on your death or incapacitation unless you rescind it before then.

•    Durable. A durable power of attorney can be general or limited in scope, but it remains in effect after you become incapacitated. Without a durable power of attorney, if you become incapacitated, no one can represent you unless a court appoints a conservator or guardian.

•    Springing. Like a durable power of attorney, a springing power of attorney can allow your attorney-in-fact to act for you if you become incapacitated, but it does not become effective until you are incapacitated.
Even with all of these options, choosing an individual to act as your power of attorney is an important decision. They will have much control over your finances, and should thus be someone that you trust completely.

While many pre-packaged do-it-yourself power of attorney forms are available, it is a good idea to have an elder lawyer draft the form specifically for you. There are many issues to consider and one size does not fit all. Contact an elder law attorney, like Adam Tobin, to learn more.

(Article source: Elder Law Answers)

The Financial Health of Aging

With our current economic challenges, those of us looking forward to retirement need to be well-informed about our financial needs in coming years. And not only pre-retirees, but individuals already in retirement need to be wise to the changing economic environment. The good news is there are trained professionals who keep abreast of changes in the current economy, changes in laws and changes in government programs for the elderly. Professionals in this field are equipped to handle everything from help with retirement savings accounts, investment advice, guidance on government programs, estate planning or even new funding options such as reverse mortgages. A little planning prior to retirement will allow you to maintain your current lifestyle; whereas, a lack of planning may require you to live on an extremely tight budget. For those already retired, taking time right now to deal with financial problems instead of waiting for a crisis to happen is well advised.

A large number of retired individuals felt that they had planned well for the future only to find that rising medical costs, damage done to investment portfolios (by the current economy) and many other factors have caused them to go into debt. According to an article in “USA Today”, seniors are racking up debt like never before. Elderly individuals who are in debt live with a constant burden over their heads. Most of these people are on fixed incomes and have no way of paying off credit cards and home equity loans that continue to mount to cover household budget deficits. In order to meet ongoing payments, seniors often forego purchasing medications and skimp on food budgets. They live like hermits — never going out and pinching every penny — in order to pay their obligations.

Most of these people worked hard their entire lives and managed their debt. They never anticipated the rising costs of prescriptions, expensive medical care or depletion of savings by living too long. The good news is there is help for these individuals. Here are just a few examples of some relief options that could be available. There are many more besides these.

Reverse mortgagesAging and financial planning

A reverse mortgage is a risk-free way of tapping into home equity without creating monthly payments and without requiring the money to be paid back during a person’s lifetime. Instead of making payments the cash flow is reversed and the senior receives payments from the bank. Thus the title “reverse mortgage”. For those seniors who are less fortunate financially but own a home, a reverse mortgage can allow them to remain in the home by creating extra income.

Life settlements

A life settlement enables older individuals, businesses and other organizations to sell life insurance policies they currently own – but no longer want or need – for an amount greater than the cash surrender value. In some cases the value can be 2-3 times the cash surrender value. Even some term life insurance policies with a conversion option to permanent coverage can qualify for a life settlement.

Government Programs

Some government programs such as food stamps provide temporary financial help for food. Other programs provide subsidized housing, help with medical expenses and provide tax credits. For veterans there is free health care, inexpensive prescriptions and disability income. Area agencies on aging offer individual counseling, legal help and advice with Medicare costs. (National Care Planning Council, www.longtermcarelink.net)

For some, living on a fixed income and dealing with debt can be an overwhelming burden. There are knowledgeable professionals and debt relief strategies that can assist in easing this burden. The National Care Planning Council keeps a list of financial advisers and attorneys who specialize in this area of planning at www.longtermcarelink.net.

Want to explore these financial issues further for you or a loved one? Be sure to contact an elder lawyer, like Adam J. Tobin today!