Search for Elder Law Attorneys
Q&A: Estate Planning
Show me questions about:
After looking through our library of questions and answers first, you still can't find the answer to your question? Click Here
My dad had a stroke, which has led to aphasia and mild dementia. He can't communicate the right words but he seems to be able to understand, although he forgets things. Before his stroke, he put me on his bank account to manage paying his bills. I am also the beneficiary on his life insurance and annuities. Do I still need to have him sign a power of attorney or something?
How Does an Alternate Agent Under a Power of Attorney Take Over When the Initial Agent Is Incapacitated?
I am designated as the "alternate" agent in my mother's power of attorney. My father is the initial agent. He has been diagnosed with dementia and is not acting rationally. If my father is not willing to withdraw, how do I go about acting legally on my mother's behalf? How do I enforce the power of attorney alternative provision?
My wife is attorney-in-fact under a durable power of attorney for her dad, but her name is spelled Ann and it should be spelled Anne. Does this make it invalid?
We are getting ready to draft a trust. We have one son, so he will be the trustee. What is the best way to make sure he follows the rules set forth in the trust? We have read about nightmares with trust protectors, financial managers/advisors that control the investments, companies that control the trust, and trust managers. We have no other relatives.
What is a reasonable amount of reimbursement for me as an agent under a power of attorney who is paying bills, picking up prescriptions, and going on doctor visits and trips to buy groceries for my elderly mother?
I am an agent under a durable power of attorney for a friend with a challenging form of dementia. I can no longer serve as her agent, and she has no other friends willing to do it. What are my options?
I live in Kansas, and I am the agent under my aunt's durable power of attorney. Together, we appointed her daughter as power of attorney for health care. I would like to revoke the health care power of attorney, but my aunt is now incapacitated. As her agent under the durable power of attorney, can I draw up and sign the revocation of the health care power of attorney?
My 81-year-old mother lives in a continuing care community. She is bipolar and sometimes has questionable judgment. The bank in the community was taken over last summer by another bank. My mother does not trust the bank and refuses to order checks or use the bank, but she does use the ATM for cash. She has refused to pay her monthly facility fee for the past four months because she has no checks. My brother is her agent under a power of attorney and is being asked to use my mother's money to pay her fees (which have accumulated to $12,000+). Can he do this without her permission? He has access to her money and is willing to pay the bill. We just worry about legal consequences for him if he uses her money without her permission.
I recently became a widow at 61 years old. We never had children. I don't wish to leave my assets to anyone except a specific animal charity. But I want to be sure that my money will be able to take care of me if I need to go into a nursing home. Do I need a trust or should I spell it all out in my will?
I just learned that my elderly mother signed a reverse mortgage while I was her agent under a durable power of attorney. Is there anything I can do?
I live in North Carolina and am the executor for my aunt who lives in New York. I need to hire an estate lawyer. Can I hire a lawyer who lives in North Carolina, or does the lawyer have to live in New York? Or is it all about where the lawyer is approved to practice?
My sister was named executor of our parents' will. It has been three years since our parents passed away and my sister has not moved to probate the will. Does a will have to be probated within a certain length of time or can she drag it out forever?
My mom has given her boyfriend a life estate in her house. When she dies, what rights do we have once we inherit the house? We don't want to deal with the boyfriend and really don't want to pay upkeep on the house so he can freeload off everyone. If he doesn't pay the insurance or keep up the property, can we take him to court or evict? Can we simply just deed the house back to him?
As an agent under a power of attorney, how far back do I have to keep documentation for accounting purposes? I have been my mother's agent since 2004. My mother is in a nursing home and has enough assets to pay for her care with her private funds for at least a few more years. Because of the five-year Medicaid look-back period, I have been discarding all records that go beyond five years and have been doing so on a monthly basis. Do I need to hold onto everything, no matter how old it is, just in case of an audit (for example, at the request of my siblings) or is five years of recordkeeping sufficient?
I am the agent under a power of attorney for my father. There is an alternative agent named in the power of attorney document, but I'm worried this person will not be able to act as agent if the time came. Can I change the backup agent if I feel the backup is no longer responsible to take over if something happens to me?
What does the executor do with all the financial records of the deceased person after all his work is done? How long does he keep the records? Are the beneficiaries entitled to the financial records of the estate or is the executor in charge of them?
My significant other and I, who are both in our sixties, are buying a home together and will be listed on the deed as tenants in common. I am making a substantial down payment, and we will share the monthly mortgage. How do I protect the money I am putting in upfront and get it back when we sell or if I should die? We both want the other to have the right to live in the home as long as the survivor wants. After selling the house, we want the proceeds to go to my children. How do we set up our wills to indicate our desire?
As My Father's Agent Under a Power of Attorney, Can I Add My Son's Name to His Life Insurance Policy?
I have dual power of attorney for my father. At this time there is no beneficiary on one of his life insurance policies and I want to add my son's name as beneficiary. This is what my father would have wanted. Can I do this?
Do the family of the deceased have the right to be present at a will reading? And are they allowed to receive a copy of the new will that leaves everything to one person in the family instead of divided among the whole family?
My mother gave me money while she was alive and put it in my name in a bank account. She passed away several years later. Can the executor of my mother's estate request that the money that was gifted to me be returned to her estate?
I no longer want to be named as executor for my mother-in-law upon her passing. How can I resign?
My father recently died, and my sister is executor of his estate. An attorney is in charge of the probate and waiting for all bills to come in before settling the estate. I cared for my father for the past two years without help from anyone else in my family. Because of my help, my dad was able to remain in his home as he wished. I advised my family that I wanted to be reimbursed for my help and time off work after my father died, but now my family and the attorney will not talk to me about this. I intend to submit a bill for the care I gave to him. Do I need to have an attorney to assist me with this? Is there a certain acceptable way to bill for my care?
When one sibling is an agent under an elderly parent's financial power of attorney (POA) and another sibling is an agent under the same elderly parent's medical POA, does probate law define the duty or relationship that must exist between the two? In this case, the agent under the medical POA is seeking medical care for their elderly parent but needs the agent under the financial POA to release assets to pay for that care. What can be done if the agent under the financial POA refuses to release the assets to cover the cost? Is there an obligation to disclose financial or medical records if one agent requests it from the other?
I have both medical and durable power of attorney (POA) for my mother, who is living in a memory care facility. She has not been declared incompetent, but is obviously not competent anymore. She printed these POAs years ago with an inkjet printer, got them notarized, and gave me one original. The quality is not great. I am trying to sell some timeshares to help save her money and I am told that I need to send an original to the timeshare company and each county it has property in. I only have one original and I really don't want to let it out of my sight. Is there any way to get this document validated in some way and get more of them so I can give them to all these people who want originals? Also, the bank refused to accept my POA because of the poor quality.
My husband is the executor of the will of a recently deceased person. The decedent had no money or anything of value, and the deed to the house passed through right of survivorship. What do we need to do other than notify the bill companies that the person has died and that there is no money in the estate?
I am the agent under a durable power of attorney (DPOA) executed in 2013. Is the document still valid if I move to another state?
My wife and I have are agents under my 86-year-old mother's durable power of attorney. We are her primary caregivers because she is not able to cook her own meals, clean her own home, do her own laundry, do grocery shopping, drive herself to doctor's appointments, allocate her own medications, or pay her own bills. We are both with her 24/7. I gave up my employment 10 months ago in order to care for her. Are we entitled to some form of compensation under the power of attorney?
My mother wants me to be her agent under a power of attorney, and I went online and found a form I can print up and take to a notary. Is this legal?
My mother died 13 years ago. My brother has been in charge of her estate. He refuses to put her home up for sale, instead using the estate’s money to pay the upkeep on an empty house for 13 years. What can we do to get this estate settled? Can my brothers and sister do anything?
My brother was my father's primary caretaker for more than five years. Dad passed away and some siblings want to sell the home and divide the proceeds equally among the children. Does my brother, who cared for my dad, have any rights to stay in the house or will he be “kicked to the curb,” so to speak?
My mom has been diagnosed with altered mental status including: REM sleep behavior disorder, cerebral degeneration, and non-Alzheimer’s-type dementia, possibly Lewy body dementia. Is she legally able to sign a will and make changes to insurance polices that she bought 20 years ago? If she makes changes and signs the will, would it be void considering her mental diagnosis?
If we pay our child's bills, is that the same thing as gifting her $14,000 [the current annual gift tax exclusion]? Do we have to fill out a form 709? What if only one parent paid the bills and it's more than $14,000? Can we claim that each of us gave her the money and, therefore, be within the law if it's more than $14,000 total?
If a person has two power of attorney (POA) forms dated at different times to two different people and neither has anything in it regarding voiding the prior POA, is the more recent one valid? Both were drawn up by an attorney.
My sister holds the power of attorney (POA) for our mother, but I think she is stealing from my mother. How do I go about getting the POA transferred to me? What documents do I need?
When a person enters a nursing home, who signs the legal documents? Themselves, the wife, the children, the stepchildren? Does signing make the person financially responsible for the nursing home costs?
As the agent under a power of attorney for an elderly parent with progressive dementia, is it allowable to move any or all the parent's assets to a fund in my name or my siblings' names with the intent of paying for all costs associated with care until the five-year look back period for Medicaid has passed, with the remainder being protected by the move? Is this considered gifting, and prohibited under the provisions of the power of attorney, if it is consistent with all intents described in the will and revocable trust, and the agent under the power of attorney is also named trustee?
tags: Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Rules, Estate Planning
My mother has dementia and lives at home with my stepfather. He will not let two out of my mother's three children see or visit her. I want to know if I have legal rights to see my mother and, if so, how do I go about doing it?
I have a mortgage and a home equity loan outstanding. If I put the house in an irrevocable trust, can I still withdraw from my home equity loan, or will only the trustee be able to make withdrawals?
tags: Estate Planning, Medicaid Rules, Senior Living
I am a single woman and wish to add my daughter's name on the title of my home with right of survivorship. What are the pros and cons?
Does having gone through bankruptcy disqualify someone from serving as an an agent under a durable power of attorney?
My mother-in-law is in a nursing home and is mentally and physically incapacitated. She has run out of funds and needs to apply for Medicaid. We do not have a power of attorney or guardianship. We are supplying the information requested by Medicaid for the application. Is it necessary to have a guardianship for her before she can receive Medicaid?
tags: Guardianship/Conservatorship, Medicaid Rules, Estate Planning
My father has been married to his second wife for over 20 years. She has dementia and is going into a nursing home. The home they have been living in is in her name from a previous marriage. Her adult children are trying to get my dad to sign papers that he will vacate the house and it will be theirs as soon as she enters the nursing home. They are saying that the house is willed to them. Does he have to vacate the house or is he entitled to stay there?
I am planning on selling my house and buying a smaller and cheaper one. I am married and have been in my home for 40 years. Its sale price will be close to $2.5 million. I paid $358,000 and I have made approximately $250,000 in improvements. My new purchase will be about $1 million. What capital gains taxes will I be paying on the sale of my primary residence. (I live in California.)
My father will go on Medicaid long-term care assistance soon. He will receive only $95 a month in income; the state will take everything else for the nursing home. What is he to do with all his medical hospital and credit card bills? Does he need to file for bankruptcy? Does he do nothing since he has nothing to take. He has no assets and nothing of importance or value.
tags: Estate Planning, Senior Living
My dad passed away about a month ago. My brother and I are listed on his will as executors. We were both listed as power of attorneys (which I understand is void since he is deceased). My brother has no interest in following the will, which says to split everything between us. My brother has admitted taking all of the valuables out of the house, but I have no way to prove anything. The house/property was put in our names in 2002 and our parents retained a "life estate." Now my brother wants to let his son live on the property. I want to sell it and split that amount fairly. How should I handle this?
My husband has Alzheimer's disease. I would like to sell our home and downsize to a continuing-care condominimium residence. Can I do this without his consent?
Due to availability, I have been the person to take both parents to all of their doctor/dentist appointments over the past years. I am the eldest of five, and two of my younger siblings are currently agents under my father's power of attorney (POA). Recently, the doctors' offices and the VA have asked for the agent to be present and this is necessary to facilitate pursuing my father's pension and his VA Aid and Attendance benefits. My father wants me to be an agent under his POA, although my mother is not in favor. My father is still of sound mind; however, the siblings who are agents under the existing POA are saying otherwise. How do I resolve this? How do I ensure that the other agents are abiding by their fiduciary responsibilities?
If I give my daughter power of attorney over my finances and property, can I maintain a separate account not controlled by my agent to purchase food and clothing items for myself?
If I were approved for Medicaid coverage of my nursing home care, I know they would keep my Social Security and my small pension, but what would happen to the $6,500 balance on my credit card? I have no other assets. Could the credit card company make my children pay?
tags: Senior Living, Medicaid Rules, Estate Planning
My husband and I are considering setting up a trust for our estate. However, we will probably be moving to another state for his job in the next five years. Are trusts transferable to another state or would we have to re-set up everything?
My mother is the primary beneficiary of a trust left by my grandfather. She is not a trustee, and my sister and I are secondary beneficiaries. Are the assets in this trust counted as assets by Medicaid?
tags: Medicaid Rules, Estate Planning
tags: Grandchildren, Estate Planning
I recently put my daughter on my bank accounts. I did this in the event that I took ill and could not pay my bills. I felt it was the easist way for her to handle things if this event occurred, as I am living in another state. Her husband is adamant that I remove her, as he is afraid that it will affect thier credit. Also, if I should have any issues with creditors, will they come after them? Are his concerns valid? I have excellent credit, and have never bounced a check in my life.
My father-in-law gifted the family home to his daughter retaining lifetime living rights. He has not lived in the house for more than five years, nor does he contribute to the upkeep or maintenance of the house or property. At the father's request, the daughter took out a mortgage on the house and gave him a little more than double the price he originally paid for the property. The father now wants the daughter to "sell" the house and is demanding $50,000. What are the daughter's rights?
What are my rights as a daughter to information regarding my mother's medical and financial information? Approximately two years ago, my nephew had the power of attorney changed to him without my knowledge. She was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, and I feel she did not understand what she was doing. I never received a revocation. He now refuses to give me any information regarding my mother. The locks have been changed on her home. I have had the Office on Aging check into this and since then it has become even more difficult to get information. I only want to know what the condition of my Mom is and what is best for her. Do you have any suggestions?
tags: Estate Planning, Health Care Decisions
My widowed father-in-law quickdeeded his house to my wife as co-owner in Tennessee. Is there a downside to this? I've heard it can add costs. However, the house is now worth much less than when he purchased it a few years ago.
My wife and I are in our 60's and have had to deal with aging parents who made some poor financial decisions later in life. How can we protect our assets from being given away by us should our mental capacities diminish? If we put them all in our children's names and they are sued, would we lose our assets?
Son put $150,000 of renovations into home of his parents . Home is now valued at $875,000. A year ago, parents changed the deed to the house so it's owned by the parents and the son jointly with rights of survivorship. How would Medicaid handle this? Wouldn't it make sense to transfer outright to son now to start five-year look back?
tags: Medicaid Planning, Estate Planning
My brother recently died in Texas and at the time of death he was on state aid and had no money. My mother who lives in Arizona has recently received a few bills. Is she obligated to pay his debts? There is no estate. What does she do with these bills?
tags: Estate Planning, Senior Living
I am getting to that age where I need to start thinking about my assets and estate planning. Just wondering what the steps are and is it really necessary to see a lawyer? Thanks for the help or suggestions!
My aunt lives with my husband and me, having moved up here to Indiana from Texas where she and my uncle had no family down there to take care of them. My uncle is in a nursing home. My question is that I came across their wills that are about four years old and I need to have them changed because their living conditions have changed and I am now the full-time caregiver, power of attorney and whatever. Do I have to take them both to a lawyer to change this or can I just take my aunt who generally signs for my uncle?
My mother is 93, healthy, takes care of herself, does her own laundry, cleans her condo, fixes her own food and does her own grocery shopping. My sister, who lives an hour away, behind her back moved all of her furniture and belongings out of her condo and over to an assisted living facility where she does not want to be. They took her cell phone so she could not call me, and are now lying to everyone about her "memory" problems. She is heartsickened and devastated by the betrayal. She feels trapped and in prison. Can I move her back home, and if necessary pay for in-home care (or someone to check on her daily)? I went to my mother's doctor appointment with her and her doctor recommended assisted living because of her age. My sister has threatened to call protective services if I move her. Can I move her back into the area that she wants to live in -- either in her own home with "home care" or an "assisted living" -- without my sister turning me in to protective services? Does my mother have any rights?
tags: Senior Living, Estate Planning, Guardianship/Conservatorship
My father and mother executed a co-durable power of attorney naming my brother and me as joint attorneys-in-fact. My father is now deceased. My mother is owner of an investment portfolio with monthly dividends being automatically reinvested. My brother and I wish to have the dividends placed into my mother's checking account so that I may utilize the funds for monthly fees at a 'memory-care center.' A large investment firm/bank doing business in our state of Washington will not honor the 'power of attorney' because it is a 'joint' power of attorney. Apparently the bank would honor the power of attorney if the document specified that my brother or I were able to act alone. My mother can no longer sign her name in order to modify the existing power of attorney. What legal grounds does a bank have to deny us using a power of attorney?
tags: Estate Planning,
Can a nursing home refuse to allow my family to transfer my father to another facility if I have power of attorney? We were told because my sister placed him there I could not have him transferred until she approved it.
tags: Estate Planning, Senior Living, Guardianship/Conservatorship
tags: Estate Planning, Medicaid Planning, Senior Living
I have a question regarding moving my husband's 87-yr-old grandmother to Maryland from Florida since the passing of my father-in-law. We have already purchased a 55+ community condo for her, and will be moving her up in 3 weeks. She does not own a home, and it is my understanding that she only receives a small pension and Social Security. So, thankfully, there are no assets to fight over that we know of. She has one living son in NY with whom we have no contact. Other than ensuring she has a new medical power of attorney drawn up after the move, should we be addressing anything else?
I am age 87, retired-disabled; my wife is 78 and working part-time but looks forward to retiring soon. We own a home with a substantial mortgage, have a modest IRA, and about $70,000 in savings. We are being hit by excessive, crushing health insurance costs and our resources and SS income now are not quite enough to maintain a decent living standard. Our daughter has offered to help and we have discussed lending our savings to her business long term at 10% interest, which would be taxable income to us. Daughter is also willing and able to donate some gift money to parents if needed. Any alternate ideas; can I structure a plan where there will be no tax on the interest income? Or some kind of gift arrangement that would be better?
tags: Estate Planning, Retirement Planning