Legal Issues for the Elderly

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Just as you should be sure that all financial decisions are reviewed by an expert, all legal issues should be handled with the help of a trusted lawyer, accountant, or financial advisor, especially if there are complicated issues outside your scope of expertise. These issues include retirement timelines, tax advantages and disadvantages, tax planning, inheritance laws, asset protection, and federal and state financial rules and regulations. Many of the rules governing these issues fluctuate on a yearly basis and vary from state to state.

Discussing legal issues with your elder can be difficult, but you must forge ahead. Nobody likes a legal surprise, and it’s time to get everything out in the open. Be proactive and find the right expert to serve your elder’s need. You need a professional who has the skills and knowledge required to deal with the complexity of the situation.

One important legal consideration is: Do not allow your elder to die intestate, the legal term for dying without a will in place. When your elder doesn’t have a will, the state takes over all of the assets. It can become very complicated, and you’re sure to lose a hefty percentage of the true value of the estate. By making a will and assigning power of attorney, an elder will feel comforted that his or her wishes will be carried out.

As you know with most legal advice, Dr. Marion is not an attorney and the questions and answers below are meant to be general guidelines. You should seek your own personal legal advisement on any recommendations that are highlighted for seniors and caregivers.


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