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Colorado Springs Legal Blog

Guardianship: when it is needed and how to establish it

Caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be a difficult process. In addition to the emotional work of caring for your parent, Alzheimer’s patients sometimes can be stubborn and refuse care. There may come a point where it becomes unrealistic for your parent to adequately care for themselves.

In these cases, if your parent does not already have a power of attorney, establishing guardianship can help you provide care for your parent, and safeguard them from financial missteps.

How do you know it's time to challenge a loved one's will?

In many families, it is common for older adults to talk openly about their estate plans and last wishes. Although it is of critical importance that everyone has a legally binding last will or estate plan, it is equally important that your family members understand what your wishes are.

If a loved one doesn't communicate clearly about their estate wishes, that could lead to frustration and anger. They need to make certain that loved ones are ready for the contents of their last will. If you are the beneficiary of an estate plan or last well, your obligations are different.

When should you challenge the trustee on your trust?

Trusts are a major source of security for both the people who create them and the beneficiaries who rely on them later.

Unfortunately, not every trustee ends up being reliable. At some point, you may have to ask the court to remove a trustee that isn't doing his or her job correctly.

Consider an incentive trust for your heirs

You probably don't want to control every aspect of your heir's future -- but, at the same time, you may have some strong feelings about just handing someone a tremendous amount of wealth with no strings attached.

That's where an incentive trust can be valuable. Essentially, an incentive trust ties disbursements of money to a set of expectations. When the beneficiary meets those expectations, the trustee can make additional disbursements. Sometimes there's a base disbursement and additional money is offered as an incentive. Other times, the entire trust is held as an incentive.

Financial exploitation can leave seniors destitute and despondent

In news that's made national headlines and spurred an outpouring of support for the victim, suicide hotline workers at the Veterans Crisis Center may have saved the life of an elderly veteran of the United States Coast Guard after a couple of thieves managed to empty his bank account.

The 82-year-old veteran fell prey to the scam artists after befriending a 31-year-old woman several years ago. He periodically gave her money when she was down on her luck out of sympathy for her children.

What does 'financing death' mean?

Part of effective end-of-life planning includes figuring out how your loved ones will have immediate access to cash right after you are gone -- including enough money to pay your funeral expenses.

That can be a little trickier than it sounds. The average price for an adult funeral with cremation is $6,078. With a burial, you can expect your loved ones to have to pay $8,508.

What is an end-of-life doula?

There's often someone standing by to assist when you're born, so why shouldn't there be someone there to assist you when you die?

That's the concept behind the services of an end-of-life doula or midwife. Thanks to the Colorado End-of-Life Options Act, this state is one of the few that allow terminally ill adults who meet certain requirements to choose the hour of their own death.

Planning ahead: Picking your disabled child's future guardian

The natural order of things usually means that children outlive their parents -- and that's a big concern when you're the parent of a disabled child who will never be able to function completely independently.

How do you pick a guardian or conservator for your child once you are gone? It's natural to worry that you'll make the wrong choice and that the person you choose won't take the sort of care of your child that you'd expect.

Would you know how to spot financial abuse of the elderly?

When scammers cast their nets for victims, they often target the elderly, whom they perceive as easy prey. But many senior citizens are defrauded out of their life's savings not by snake oil salesmen but by their own loved ones and relatives.

Spotting financial abuse of the elderly can be tricky, especially when the elderly person has a close familial relationship with the one who is exploiting them. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), 90% of fraudsters are either close friends or family members of their victims.

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