Estate Planning & Elder Law

Frequently Asked Questions

I am getting older, what if I become ill?   Who will pay my bills?

You can give power of attorney to someone you trust. That will take care of your business when you become unable to do so.

What is the difference between a durable power of attorney and a limited power of attorney?

A limited power of attorney is for one time transactions, such as home sales, or for short periods of time when you expect to be indisposed. A durable power of attorney lasts forever, unless you revoke it.

If I am in the hospital, how can I be assured that my wishes will be carried out?

You can execute an advance directive which medical providers will have to honor once they become aware of it.

Will my Living Will be acknowledged if I become ill in another state?

Probably. Most living wills are subject to state laws which have reciprocal provisions.

How can I protect my assets so that I can leave something to my children if I become ill?

There are many ways to do this. You can make gifts during your lifetime, set up trusts, buy life insurance or do many other things that will meet your goals and needs. You should speak to an attorney to decide which option suits your situation.

My children want me to sign the house over to them with me having life rights, what does “life rights” mean?

It means that you will have absolute control of the house and pay the bills, but you will not be the legal owner. Life rights will solve some of the problems that your children are concerned about but they have pitfalls which should be discussed and considered.

I bought a house with my mother; if she goes into a nursing home can they take our house?

If she runs out of money and receives government subsidized in-patient care, there might be a lien on the house. They cannot sell the house out from under a surviving spouse or child who is a qualified caregiver, but they could do it to anyone else.

What can I do to minimize or eliminate estate tax liability for my heirs?

There are many options  and they all have pros and cons which require a longer discussion.