Here’s a story that will scare you straight. Susan B. Garland of the New York Times writes about a family who learns first hand what can happen when a loved one fails to plan for incapacity.
North Carolina-resident Terri Black stepped in when her widowed father showed signs of dementia. But she may have been too late. Her father’s Las Vegas, NV companion had already siphoned $200,000 from her defenseless father’s account, and then barred Black from visiting her father or even taking him out to dinner.
To provide her father with proper medical care and safeguard his assets, Black and her husband embarked on a multi-year court case that cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars, explains Garland.
Don’t make the same mistake Black’s father made. Incapacity can strike anyone at any time, and once it strikes, it may be too late to get your documents in order. At that point, the only alternative may be a lengthy and very expensive court battle to gain control of the assets.
The best defense? Proper estate planning. Plan for your incapacity now by having your attorney draft a Durable Power of Attorney (naming someone to handle financial affairs for you if you’re not able), and better yet, a Trust.
Your attorney can outline the right strategy for your situation. The important point? Don’t delay. As Terri Black found out, tomorrow may be too late.
Need attorney referrals? Clients are welcome to call us. We can steer you in the right direction.