Monthly Archives: July 2011

It’s Never Too Early to Draft a Will: Tips and Information

Estate Planning and Drafting a Will

It’s never an easy topic to address, but if you care about what happens to your assets after death, creating a will is a prudent decision at any age.  Unfortunately, death can be unexpected and untimely; it is never too early to draft a will.

Last Will and TestamentDo I need a Lawyer to draft a will?

Today there are multiple websites and online providers of wills, while potentially cheaper than working with an attorney, using online avenues to create your will poses some serious risks.  Wills generated online or by programs are much lower quality overall.  They may not take differences in probate law among states into account, which could void your will.   If you have assets worth creating a will, you probably have enough money to make paying the little bit extra to work with an attorney worth it.

How much are standard attorney fees to create a will?

Fees vary, but it should not be difficult to find a qualified lawyer who will work with you to draft a will for only a few hundred dollars.  Besides probably having more expertise than a website or program, lawyers wish to keep their bar license and are therefore motivated to ensure that you receive a high-quality thorough document.  Additionally, the personal interaction is always a plus when creating a document that is so important to your personal life.

Lawyers can help fill major gaps in your legal knowledge and correct false assumptions that many people make.  For example, wills do not generally govern a person’s retirement account, which is usually someone’s most valuable asset.  There is a completely different set of rules that governs what happens to those assets.  However, if you work with an attorney to create your estate plan, you will have much more control over factors such as these, factors that you may have overlooked otherwise.

It’s as easy as asking a lawyer!  If you would like information or assistance with estate planning, contact The Law Offices of Adam J. Tobin today!

Choosing a Trustee

Creating a trust can be important for several reasons – a few of which include avoiding probate, protecting assets, and protecting minor children. However, choosing someone as your trustee can be a difficult decision. You must choose someone you trust to make responsible decisions regarding your assets should you become incapacitated and unable to do so yourself. Here are a few of the different types of trustees you may choose to appoint:

Family Trustee

In many cases a family member, such as an adult child, is chosen as one’s trustee. Typically, there is a high level of trust for family members and oftentimes adult children are already responsible for helping out with many financial decisions. Usually a family member will also carry out the duties as a trustee for little or no compensation which can make this a very appealing option.

Co-trusteesLiving Trusts

However, when appointing a family trustee there may be reasons to also designate a “co-trustee.” For instance, if you have any feeling that a single trustee might not consistently make the best decisions possible it might be a good idea to appoint a co-trustee to balance the situation. In this case two signatures must be obtained whenever a decision is made. While this can be a bit burdensome, having a co-trustee can often be a way to ensure that responsible action is taken.

Corporate Trustee

Depending on your situation it may be best to choose an outside party as a trustee. Although this is generally a more expensive option than choosing a family member, appointing a corporate trustee ensures that professional and impartial decisions are made. This option also provides longevity – a corporate trustee is more likely to be around in 25 years, whereas a family member may not.

When creating a living trust there are several options available in deciding who will be your trustee. You must evaluate your individual situation to decide what would make the most sense for you. For help with this process contact Living Trust Attorney Adam J. Tobin today!

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly

It’s a disturbing thought, but abuse of the elderly occurs all too often in our communities today. The elderly are some of society’s most vulnerable people. They become targets when their living situation makes it clear that they can not easily defend themselves.

As living in nursing homes becomes more common for senior citizens, it’s important for people to recognize possible signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. This mistreatment can take several forms, but two of the most prevalent forms of abuse in nursing homes are physical and emotional abuse. For the protection of your loved ones, it’s imperative to understand the various forms of nursing home abuse.

Sad Elderly Woman

Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes

Physical abuse is the most easily recognized form of nursing home abuse because there are often visible impacts on the victim<, such as bruises. This type of abuse is defined as "non-accidental use of physical force against an elderly person." The elderly are often more susceptible to serious injury because of their age and physical condition. Significant and sometimes fatal injuries can occur from physical force if left untreated. Other types of physical abuse can include the inappropriate use of drugs or the unnecessary use of restraints.

Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes

Although it is typically subtler, emotional abuse can be a much more detrimental type of nursing home abuse. This can result from verbal abuse which can cause long-lasting impacts and potentially physical symptoms from extreme anxiety. The verbal abuse can take the form of “shouting or threatening language, ridicule and verbal humiliation, and consistent blaming of the elderly person for things that are not his or her fault.” Emotional abuse can also take place in a more passive manner. The caregiver may ignore the elderly person or leave them isolated for extended periods of time. While this type of nursing home neglect isn’t always intentional it can take a serious toll on the victim leaving them with significant emotional damage.

Have you or someone you know experienced abuse or neglect in a nursing home?  Contact the Law Offices of Adam J. Tobin for a free consultation.