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Harlingen Estate Law Blog

What to do when it is too late for a power of attorney

It is paramount for people to make a durable and medical power of attorney when they are still young and all their mental faculties are intact. A power of attorney will give someone else the power to make medical and financial choices for you when you cannot make them independently. In the event that you delay making a power of attorney, then at some point, it may become too late. The process becomes much harder when a person loses his or her cognitive functions without a power of attorney in place. 

It is never too early to give someone power of attorney. In fact, you can help circumvent headaches down the line by giving a loved one, such as a spouse or child, this designation well before you actually need it. 

What if your parents have too many assets for Texas Medicaid?

Reaching the point when you and your parents know they need long-term care outside the home can be very difficult and emotional. You want the best for your parents in these final years of their lives, and trying to find a place that meets all your criteria is no small challenge, especially when you have a price range. Genworth Financial reports that the 2017 median cost of one month at an assisted living facility in Texas was $3,500. A semiprivate room in a Texas nursing home was $4,563.

Those who have low income qualify for financial assistance through Medicaid programs in Texas. What if your parents are above the maximum income and have too many assets for Medicaid but still not enough means for the expense of long-term care?

3 tips for guardianship duties

If you have an elderly parent who is no longer able to manage his or her affairs, and he or she did not appoint a power of attorney when there was still time to do so, you may find yourself in a difficult situation. This is a time when guardianship may be an option, so you can help your parent manage his or her affairs in a competent and responsible way, despite the fact that he or she is no longer personally able to do so.

The court has to order a guardianship, in which you then supervise your parent's affairs and make decisions on his or her behalf, including financial and health care decisions. Gaining guardianship is a process you can do through seeking the assistance of an estate planning attorney. Here are three tips that guardians should keep in mind.

How to determine if your parents might need a power of attorney

It is never easy to see your parents age. If everything went as you hope, your parents would stay sharp and healthy until their dying day. Unfortunately, it does not always go this way for Texas senior citizens. Numerous age-related cognitive and physical conditions may make it difficult or impossible for your parents to take care of themselves or make sound financial decisions.

Therefore, you might wonder about the best time to consider a power of attorney. This type of estate planning gives a trusted representative the authority to make financial, medical or physical decisions on behalf of the elder. The following situations might signal it is time to consider a power of attorney:

  • Your parents have fallen prey to common scams targeting the elderly that they would not ordinarily have been fooled by, such as a false IRS phone call or a sweepstakes “win” that requires money up front.
  • One or both parents received a diagnosis of a cognitive disorder, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
  • A doctor has said your parent may be at risk of a stroke.

How to know if you should serve as a parent's guardian

Many fine people in Texas work as guardians. People who wish to become guardians must go through a thorough vetting process and must submit an application. Guardians receive assignment for children, senior citizens and anyone who is not of sound mind to make important financial and health decisions. 

Although the court can appoint someone to serve as a guardian for your aging parents, you may decide it is best if you serve as a guardian. While it is a noble decision to make, being a guardian comes with numerous responsibilities. You need to be certain you are up to the task if you want to become a guardian. You can certainly make sure your parents are safe and happy while someone else handles most of the heavy lifting. 

What you are expected to do as executor of an estate

If someone has named you the executor of his or her estate, it is a good idea to know what the expectations are before you decide whether to accept or decline the job. Serving as executor of a complex estate can be time-consuming, stressful and frustrating. Even for smaller estates, it can still be a thorny process.

However, many people view the responsibility as more of an honor rather than as an obligation. After all, you were trustworthy enough to be tapped to distribute the deceased's assets in the way he or she wanted. So, what could be in store for you?

3 ways to transfer a family business

If you run a family business, you might want it to continue after you pass away. To ensure your business succeeds once you are gone, you must create a succession plan. This is an essential part of estate planning for any business owner. 

Planning how your company will continue is crucial to protecting the wealth of your family. There are a few different ways you can transfer the business, and here are some of the most common methods:

Named as a trustee? Here is a quick guide

Did someone just designate you as a trustee? If so, you probably have plenty of questions. As a trustee, you are legally responsible for handling any assets that are in the trust.

It is crucial to understand your responsibilities as a trustee so you can act in the best interest of the grantor (the person who set up the trust and named you as trustee). Here is a quick guide to being a trustee.

Sole proprietors and transferring a family business

As a sole proprietor, you likely spent a good deal of time, energy and effort to build and grow your business. Perhaps you are nearing the time other people retire, so it is natural to think about long-term plans for your business. Or maybe you are younger and heard about someone who got seriously hurt or killed in a car accident. What would happen to your business if you were involved in a similar accident?

One key thing to understand is that you at least need a will. This is because sole proprietors' business assets are treated the same as if they were personal assets. Die without a will, and your business could end up with someone you would rather not have it.

Mccullough & Mccullough

Serving South Texas For Three Generations

Office Location

323 E. Jackson Street
Harlingen, TX 78550

Phone: 956-320-1320
Fax: 956-423-4976
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