Friday, May 15, 2009

The Document Everyone Should Have on File

While waiting for the credit markets to loosen up so my clients can actually sell their real estate and businesses, I have been spending a lot of time with veterans, widows and their families.

As I have mentioned before, many who are now in need of daily medical and personal assistance can qualify for the Veterans Improved Pension benefit with Aid and Attendance Add-on. It is a life saver for those whose savings are being eaten up by care bills and also those adult children caregivers who perhaps have quit a job to care for Mom or Dad and now find themselves in a financial bind.

Perhaps one of the major road blocks I have consistently seen is an elderly person with dementia or Alzheimer disease, or perhaps now disabled from a stroke who did not sign over durable power of attorney to someone prior to becoming physically or medically disabled. Now it is too late and a family member must go to court to get custodianship and ask permission from the court before making financial or medical decisions on their behalf.

This can be very time consuming and expensive and is easily avoidable.

It does not matter if you are 30 or 80, you need to put a plan in action to give a chosen person power of attorney in the event of your physical or mental incapacity. Name contingent designees in case a spouse might precede you in death. The power of attorney should be for both financial and medical decisions.

Just having this document notarized and on file where someone can access it in time of need can mean the difference of being taken care of the way you want and having everyone hands tied so they can not help get your affairs in order when necessary.

An attorney is not necessary to implement this document. Templates can be downloaded online and you can write in your exact wishes and when the document becomes in effect.

Please take a moment and do this now. Tell your family and friends to do the same. Take it from those who wish this had been done and whose hands are now tied because they can’t access the funds of the incapacitated individual or make the medical decisions necessary for their care and well being without a court ruling.

Paula Straub
760-917-0858 M-F 8am to 5pm Pacific (More info on VA benefits)