Colorado Springs Legal Blog

Why do adult children fight over their parents' care?

When parents get older, it's only natural for adult children to step in and start to make arrangements for their care. Unfortunately, a family civil war can easily get started when the adult kids can't agree on how to care for their elderly parents.

Why do adult children frequently end up in disputes? Understanding what leads to family conflicts over senior care can help you anticipate some potential problems -- and head them off. Here are the underlying factors behind many family fights over aging parents:

How to prepare a living will before you deploy overseas

A living will is a health care directive that allows you to name someone to make health care decisions on your behalf in case you are incapacitated. It’s not a topic that usually occurs to a young couple, especially when one of them is getting ready to ship overseas with the military.

But it’s always a good idea to plan ahead, and a living will should be a key part of your plan.

Here's a great gift idea: A basic estate plan

Everybody struggles to find gifts during the holiday season that express their love for family and friends. While it might seem strange, an estate plan might be an absolutely wonderful gift for someone you love.

No matter how young someone is, a basic estate plan is a necessity these days -- but many people delay putting their wishes in writing because there always seems to be a more pressing issue to handle (and another place to spend the money). That's what makes an estate plan such an ideal gift. Many attorneys have modest fees for basic plans, like a will and power of attorney documents.

Internal Revenue Service announces new limits on estates, gifts

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the 2019 limits for gift taxes and estates -- and it's a huge relief for many wealthy seniors who may have been worried about any large gifts they hoped to pass along to their heirs.

In 2019, the annual gift exclusion amount is still just $15,000. However, an individual can now leave $11.4 million to his or her heirs without fear that any of it will be claimed by federal estate taxes or gift taxes after they are gone. Married couples can leave their heirs $22.8 million. The exclusions come as a result of the tax reforms instituted by the Trump administration. Prior to the reforms, the base exemption rate was only $5 million per person.

Should you try mediation for a guardianship dispute?

When a beloved relative's health and mental functioning are seemingly in decline, it's only natural for relatives to want to step in and protect him or her from abuses.

What happens, however, when there are different opinions about what's best for the senior? What if the senior objects to their attempts? After all, being given a guardian is the end of the senior's autonomous existence and personal freedom.

Heirs accuse singer-songwriter's widow of deceit

Did the widow of singer-songwriter Sir Mack Rice, the legendary composer of Mustang Sally and other iconic hits, defraud her husband while he was alive?

That's essentially the allegation by one of the songwriter's sons from another relationship. The son has filed a lawsuit on behalf of his father's estate claiming that Rice's widow conspired with a company called Music Royalty Consulting to get Rice to sign over his rights to some of his creations for a fraction of their value. The lawsuit aims to have the sale contracts voided based on the fact that Rice had dementia at the time of their signing.

How to discuss estate planning with your parents

If you have not yet brought up the subject of estate planning with your parents, you are not alone. Many families are just not comfortable talking about money around each other and the subject of death is never easy to bring up. Your parents may have also shied away from the subject because they feel insecure about discussing their finances or they may believe they will lose control of their money. 

The pros and cons of incentive trusts

Are you worried that the wealth you intend to pass on to your heirs will cause those heirs to lose their focus and falter on the path to personal success?

It does happen. Fortunately, something called an incentive trust can allow you to use wealth as a motivator and help you guide your heirs to a better future.

Who is the best conservator and guardian for your loved one?

What happens when an elderly loved one needs someone to handle his or her financial affairs as a conservator? What if they also need someone to take charge of their day-to-day welfare as a legal guardian? Is it better to have a family member of a professional handle the job?

It depends. There are some very good professionals out there who can assist family members with their elderly loved ones by either handling the conservatorship or guardianship entirely or by just advising the family members who are willing to take on the jobs. A competent professional can often ease family tensions -- especially if there are allegations of elder abuse or financial manipulation. Professionals can often resolve a lot of issues when family members can't agree on how to handle a senior's affairs by providing unbiased guidance.

Celebrities often bypass their heirs in wills

Do you have an obligation to pass your wealth on to your children?

You may feel a certain moral obligation to do so, but there's no legal obligation forcing you to leave your children anything, no matter what your wealth.

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