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Estate planning organizes one's affairs during and after life

People in California and elsewhere go through all kinds of gyrations to escape the suggestion that they may want to get their elder law planning in order. For most people, that is a feared subject that brings up the very end of life and the horrific possibility of dementia or other disability. It is possible, however, to view the need for elder law estate planning as a time-saving, financially wise, and necessary function to best take care oneself and one's heirs when the time for doing so arrives.

It is will be critical for maximizing one's protection should a disability arise. Estate planning for disability can be as simple as preparing a power of attorney that will give a trusted friend or family member the authority to sign the individual's name to legal instruments and checks in the even of a total disability. Estate planning for elder law issues like institutional care, home care services and medical care are a bit more complex. In any event, the intended goals should be worked and planned out in cooperation with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Some people fail to plan for their later years due to some common misconceptions. One of those is the idea that one's estate is so simple that a will is all that is needed. However, wills are complex in themselves and if not drawn up properly, any ambiguous language could lead to a will contest, which is an expensive court battle that could bankrupt the estate. There are also several other documents in addition to a will that must be prepared in most cases and put aside for later implementation.

In addition, people don't believe that they could go to a nursing home. Unfortunately, circumstances sometimes make it impossible to avoid some form of outside assisted care. In California, the best way to get prepared for all eventualities is to see an estate planning and elder law planning attorney to assure that all of the complicated possibilities and options are considered. In that way, the right options will be selected and tailored to best protect the individual in his or her last years.

Source:, "Common misconceptions in elder law estate planning", Bonnie Kraham, Nov. 16, 2017

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