Estate Planning

How Not to Lose Your Home

In my job as an estate and elder law attorney, I speak to people who have decided to start their end of life planning on a daily basis.  As a part of the first conversation I have with these folks, I usually ask what made them decide to start planning now.  Many people live into their seventies before they decide to start planning.

I am often fascinated by their answers.  Most of the time, these people have seen something bad happen to a friend or family member because they failed to start planning in time.  As a result, they want to avoid the same happening to them.

The sad thing is that most people are driven to estate planning out of fear.  I’ll be making a list of the fears that drive seniors to do planning, so that hopefully some of the folks reading this won’t wait until something bad has happened to contact us.

I am going to share these over the next few blogs.  If you are experiencing the same fear, please seek legal counsel.  These fears are natural, but we can sort most of them out with some simple estate planning.

Losing Your Home Due to Bad Health or Mental Incapacity.

This may not be the most feared, but it is definitely near the top.  This fear is a mix of some of the things people fear most.  It involves not just losing your health, it also means the loss of independence, which often means the loss of your home as well.  Moving in good health is bad enough but being forced to move to an assisted living home, or even worse to a nursing home, can make a lot of people anxious.

What if your health or memory fails you?  What if you can’t drive or take care of your personal needs?  You can decide right now how you want things to go in these situations.  It is better to make these decisions while you have a healthy frame of mind instead of waiting until it is too late.

In other words, have a plan.  Get the basic legal documents in place.  Then seek legal counsel on more in-depth planning which suits you best.  Learn about your options from someone who’s had years of experience dealing with these issues.

One of the best things you can do to protect yourself is to force yourself to learn the technology which brings independence. Computer skills or smart phone skills may be the difference in staying home or not.  The ability to shop from home for all your needs is huge.  If your ten-year-old grandchild can do it, you can too.  These skills will allow you to get transportation, shop from home, find good housekeeping, maintain your loved ones ability to monitor your health, and will allow you to have quick access to security, police and emergency services, as well as alerts to health care providers in case of a crisis.

I will write about other fears some people experience in upcoming blogs.  If you are seeking someone experienced to take care of your needs, please give us a chance to help you.  It could mean the difference between staying in your home, and not.

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