Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. - Elder Law

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Chronic disease increases the importance of estate planning

Chronic diseases afflict over 130 million people nationwide. Many of them live in Florida, and they could spare themselves and family members financial headaches and losses with proactive estate planning. Chronic disease makes people prone to sudden medical crises or continuous deterioration that could interfere with the ability to manage finances or express preferences for medical care.

People can prepare for the threat of incapacity by executing HIPPA releases and medical powers of attorney. These documents give agents access to medical records and the ability to make medical decisions. On the financial front, people incapacitated by illness should make a financial power of attorney and perhaps consider a revocable trust for the protection of assets.

A financial power of attorney grants a designated agent the power to take care of financial matters, like paying household bills and taxes. With this document in place, a person with a chronic disease would not have to worry about personal finances falling into complete disarray during a medical crisis. A person has considerable control over the powers granted to a trusted agent. Powers could be determined by the extent of medical incapacity or limited to certain financial activities.

A revocable trust is a tool that holds assets and passes them on to heirs under certain conditions. Such a trust could safeguard assets. The benefactor may even set up provisions that protect against abuse, such as assigning a CPA to review financial statements or sending financial reports to multiple trusted individuals.

Every person’s situation possesses unique characteristics. Legal advice may help a person plan for the effects of a chronic disease and protect assets from neglect or exploitation. An attorney knowledgeable about estate planning may provide personalized insights about how to meet specific goals.