It may not be a comfortable topic for many people, but preparing for old age and what comes after is very important. In the event that one becomes very ill or mentally incapacitated, certain decisions (such as financial and health decisions) have to be made by a court-appointed conservator on behalf of that individual (the conservatee). Legal advice and protection from a probate attorney and other advisors matters greatly when it comes to estate planning and will filing. But how does one protect oneself and their loved one from what’s known as “elder abuse?” And what does a probate attorney do, exactly?
Writing a Will
It’s always wise to write a will well before reaching old age. This way, a person’s wishes can be written clearly and with full autonomy. This eases the burden of those faced with making decisions for said person. Even though one can write a will after the age of eighteen, most people put it off for as long as possible. In fact, 41% of Baby Boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) and 55% of total American adults still don’t have a will or estate plan.
Creating a will doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. There are ways to write up an official will online for a relatively low cost. Doing so is more than worth it, since going without a will means risking emotional and financial stress for those one leaves behind.
Protection Against Elder Abuse
Elder abuse in this context refers to institutions (financial, health care, assisted living, etc.) using dishonest, sneaky, sometimes fraudulent means to take as much money as possible from an older person who cannot easily defend himself or herself. According to a 2011 MetLife Market Institute study, seniors lose a total of $2.9 billion annually from financial exploitation.
Hiring an elder negligence lawyer can help protect one again this kind of exploitation. These professionals look into the client’s records as well as those of the institution and/or persons accused. Before taking this measure, however, staying up to date on one’s expenses is always important, especially when it comes to caring for an elderly person.
What Does a Probate Attorney Do?
A probate attorney handles the filing process of the wills of deceased individuals. It isn’t always necessary to hire a probate lawyer, but it certainly helps in cases of more complicated wills and contentious family disputes. These lawyers also handle confusing aspects such as federal and state taxing and debt repayment.