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Estate Planning

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Helping Family Members Who Have Disabilities


Last month, we discussed the most important documents you need to prepare yourself for a potential disability that impairs your ability to make financial or healthcare decisions for yourself.  This month we will discuss what to do if you are responsible for making healthcare or financial decisions for someone with a disability.

A few years ago, my father started to show signs that he was suffering from dementia.  He was always a very intelligent man and had good social skills, so the dementia was most likely hidden for a number of  years. 

At some point, he began paying his bills twice or not paying them at all, and he and his girlfriend got lost while driving to familiar places.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Protecting People with Special Needs: Guardianship of Young Adults


Most parents are conflicted when their children reach their 18th birthday.  For many families, that means their child will soon be leaving home for college, a new job, or the military.  For parents of children with developmental disabilities, it can be very scary when that child turns 18, because the law presumes an 18-year-old is an adult with the legal rights and responsibilities that come with adulthood.  When a child turns18, the parent no longer has the legal authority to make decisions for that child.

Joshua, a good-looking young man with a developmental disability, turned 18 six months ago.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Naming Guardians for Minor Children


Phew!  I’ve reached that point in life where I can relax – not much, but a little- because both of my children are adults and, for the most part, out of the nest.  Until just a couple of years ago, I broke out in a sweat every time I had to go out of town on business by myself.  Not only did I worry about whether my kids would get fed, get their homework done and make it to soccer practice on time, but I also worried about what would happen to them if I had an accident and didn’t make it home. 

If you have minor children, children under the age of 18, I’m sure you worry about that, too.  If you are not around, who will feed them, help them with their homework and get them to soccer practice?

Choosing someone to care for your children is difficult.
Read more . . .


Friday, April 8, 2022

Planning for Incapacity


Last month, we introduced our year-long project to organize our estates.  How did you do? Did you check all the boxes?  As with most projects, sometimes getting started is the real goal, so give yourself a gold checkmark if you did anything to start getting your estate in order. 

This month, it is time to make sure we have legal documents in place to protect in case we become unable to make or communicate significant decisions about our healthcare or our finances.

Years ago, I had a potential client whose daughter called my office several times to make appointments for him to get his estate planning documents prepared.  As each appointment time approached, he called my office to cancel.
Read more . . .


Thursday, March 31, 2022

Advance Directive for Healthcare

Adults, those persons who are over the age of 18, are presumed to have the legal right to make their own healthcare and safety decisions.  However, in the event that an adult cannot make or communicate healthcare decisions, there should be legal documents in place to allow someone to be a healthcare surrogate decision maker.   In Georgia, an adult who is able to understand what s/he is signing, can nominate an agent to make healthcare decisions for her/him for the time when s/he is not able to make such decisions.  The primary document for nominating that person is called an advance directive for healthcare. 

What is An Advance Directive for Healthcare?

An Advance Directive for Healthcare is a document in which you nominate an Agent to make healthcare decisions for you if you are not able to make or communicate those decisions for yourself.


Read more . . .


Thursday, March 31, 2022

Financial Power of Attorney

What is a financial power of attorney?

A Financial Power of Attorney is a document in which you nominate someone to make financial decisions for you.  When you appoint someone to make those financial decisions, you are called the Principal.  The person you nominate to act on your behalf is called an Agent.  A Financial Power of Attorney can be used for a one-time transaction, such as selling or buying a house, or it can be a durable financial power of attorney written to allow broad powers that can be used for many types of financial transactions for many years.  The term “Durable” in this case means the Financial Power of Attorney remains in effect even if you, the Principal, become mentally incapacitated.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Estate Administration Basics

What should you do when a loved one dies? How and when does the estate get administered?

Administration is defined as Court-supervised distribution of an estate during probate. Also used to describe distribution process for a trust. Probate means proving the will, but it can also be used to indicate a court process to handle a deceased person’s estate.

When a loved one dies, there is often confusion and panic about what legal and financial steps should be taken by survivors.  There may be little information about the finances of the decedent, and spouses or children are left to sort through what may seem like a never-ending mass of papers.


Read more . . .


Monday, December 28, 2020

What’s the difference between an heir and a beneficiary and why does it matter?

An heir is the person or persons who are related by blood that would inherit from a decedent ( a person who has died) if the decedent had no will.

A beneficiary is a person (or charity or institution) named in a will to whom the decedent wishes to leave his or her assets at the time of death.

Who are your heirs?  Take your wrist and place two fingers on your other hand and place them on your wrist.  Do you feel a pulse?  If so, you don’t yet have any heirs.  That is kind of a snarky way to explain that we cannot know who your heirs are until you are dead.

Read more . . .


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Preparing Older and Sick Loved Ones for Flu and Coronavirus

While we don’t believe that anyone should panic, we do want to encourage anyone with older or immuno-compromised loved ones to be prepared.

The CDC is encouraging everyone to have extra food and supplies on hand, in the event of sudden closures or quarantines. Please take the time to check on any seniors or people in your life who are ill/disabled to see if they need help getting things together. 

Key items to gather include:

  • Prescriptions and any over-the-counter medications

  • Those with breathing problems should ensure that any devices they use (nebulizer, oxygen) are working properly and they have enough medication on hand to power any devices.

  • A two-week supply of food

  • Drinks with electrolytes in the event the flu or another illness is contracted

  • Nutrition drinks such as Ensure for seniors

  • Lysol, disinfecting agents, and anti-bacterial soap

  • Extra toilet paper

  • Pet food for at least two weeks

  • Adult diapers, feminine products, and any other necessary supplies

Finally, it’s a wise idea to make copies of your loved one’s insurance cards and make sure that you can put your hands on any Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Directives that would allow you to legally communicate with doctors and make financial and medical decisions on your loved one’s behalf.


Read more . . .


Friday, February 7, 2020

Could Your Bad Estate Plan End Up as The Plot of a Book?

My favorite hobby is reading and I try to combine my love of reading with my profession of estate planning.  The plots of some of my favorite books are about dysfunctional family relationships complicated by really bad estate planning!

Here are three books I recommend where siblings were torn apart by their parents’ bad estate planning choices.

The Nest

by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

The four siblings of the Plumb family - Leo, Melody, Beatrice, and Jack- are the beneficiaries of a trust fund they call “The Nest” left to them by their father. The terms of the trust provide that the trust assets will be distributed equally to the four siblings when the youngest, Melody, reaches age 40.

When the book begins, Melody is fast-approaching her 40th birthday, and each of the siblings is anxiously awaiting the distribution that could solve their self-inflicted life problems.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

How to Have A Family Conversation with Aging Parents at the Holiday

Happy Holidays! 

 Is It Time to Have a Conversation About Long-term Care with an Aging Parent?

Like many families, mine is scattered all over the United States.  Work and other commitments make it difficult to visit distant loved ones more than a few times a year.  When visiting, it is hard to gauge the health and safety of family members because they are often not going about their normal daily activities. 
A few years ago, while visiting my dad in Oregon, I noticed that there was something not quite right with him.  He was repeating himself and telling stories about his history that I was pretty sure were not true.

Read more . . .


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The Elrod-Hill Law Firm,LLC assists clients with Estate Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid, Elder Care Law, Probate, Special Needs Planning and Pet Trusts in the North Atlanta area including the counties of Dekalb, Gwinnett and Fulton.



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