Written by Jason A. Penrod, B.C.S., CELA
As many of you know, not all estate planning documents are alike, just as not all estate plans are alike. People often ask if their documents are “OK” or “good enough.”
I typically answer with every attorney’s favorite response, “Well, that depends.”
There are many court battles over whether certain documents are sufficient for circumstances that have arisen. Lawyers litigate over this all the time. And clients pay them well to make these arguments to enforce these documents.
But when it comes to estate and elder law planning, we cannot afford to have any uncertainties as to whether our planning will perform well under stress.
For example, suppose someone is truly wondering whether his or her power of attorney (“POA”) is sufficient. In that case, one needs to have the POA reviewed and potentially updated. Understand that it is not enough to simply know that planning documents will be judicially upheld. What should be assured is that they will have the practical effect the person desires.
For example, the POA needs to act for his father suddenly because he is placed in a long-term care facility. He needs to use his father’s monies to pay bills and should consider Medicaid planning to help pay for that care. The son takes the POA to the bank to access the accounts, only to be told that the POA needs to be sent to the bank’s legal department for review.
Know that elder law planning documents are usually needed in an emergency.
And in an emergency, the last thing the son needs is another obstacle. Quite simply, there is no time for delay or fighting with financial institutions. What the son needs right then is to have immediate access.
I believe clients are seeking something I have coined “A Quiet Comfort.” This is a comfort that allows your head to rest on the pillow each night knowing that your wishes will be followed and that your affairs will be easily managed by your family.
Suppose you want to alleviate stress for you and your family. In that case, it is advisable to create or improve your planning under the advice of an Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney (preferably one that is board certified).
Once you accomplish this planning, I am confident that you will feel less stress and will begin to enjoy “A Quite Comfort.”
Jason A. Penrod is only the 20th attorney to be Board Certified as an Elder Law Expert by the Florida Bar and the National Elder Law Foundation. He is the founder of Family Elder Law which has offices in Lakeland, Lake Wales, and Sebring, Florida.
Our experienced team at Family Elder Law will make sure you have the right plan in place to protect your loved ones. Reach out to us today, and let us help you find the right options and create the legal paperwork for your security and peace of mind.