DID YOU KNOW…
That if you were to pass away or become incapacitated while your child is at school, the authorities may not release your kids to those you listed on the school emergency card?
Because by law, the authorities can only leave your kids with their “legal guardian” or surviving parent if something happens to you.
If the surviving parent is unavailable or something happens to you both during school hours, your child will may possibly be placed into the care of social services until a judge (who doesn’t know you or your wishes!) should decide where they should go.
That is NOT a position you want to put your kids in—especially during a time of grief!
Fortunately, putting a plan in place to make sure your kids are protected if something happens to you is EASY!
Here’s a brief checklist to help you “get your ducks in a row” before the school year starts:
- Have I legally documented short and long-term guardians to care for my kids if something happens to me and/or my spouse during school hours?
- Do the people I listed on my child’s school emergency card match those I’ve legally named as guardians? (If not, your emergency contacts will only have permission to pick your kids up if they are sick – not care for them if something happens to you).
- Have I provided my chosen guardians with the documentation they need and instructions on what to do if called upon in an emergency situation?
- Have I prepped the babysitter who watches my child either before school or after school on what to do if something happens to me so child services are not called in?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, now is the perfect time to get a plan in place before the hustle and bustle of school season starts!
Just call me, Cobb County family lawyer, Steve Worrall. As a dad and a lawyer I am passionate about ensuring young families protect their children. Call 770-425-6060 and ask to schedule a Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session at no charge (up to $600 value) and get $100 off a Will based plan or $250 off your Trust based plan (see our 3 levels of planning packages here) with the mention of this “Back to School” Article.
Together we’ll legally document your choice of guardians and create a plan that ensures your kids are cared for by the people YOU want, in the way you want, if the unthinkable happens.
A will is one of the most basic estate planning documents in Georgia, and a Marietta Estate Planning Lawyer will tell you that every adult should have one to make sure that there is no question about what will happen to your assets and your children if something happens to you. But there are some reasons having a trust in addition to a will is essential. Here are 6 reasons:
- You want to avoid probate or conservatorship.A fully funded trust will avoid the probate process, which will save your loved ones time and money. In order to carry out your instructions in your will, a probate will have to be filed in the Probate Court of the county where you lived before your death. Also, if you become incapacitated, your family will also have to file in the Probate Court for guardianship and/or conservatorship over you. A will does nothing for you in that case, because it only goes into operation at death. These steps may not be necessary if you have a created a trust.
- You want to provide for a person with special needs.If you have a child or another dependent who has special needs, a Special Needs Trust can protect the assets for a special needs person without jeopardizing their ability to qualify for government benefits. A will allows you to transfer assets to a special needs person, but may not fully protect those assets.
- You want privacy. Since a will has to go through probate in Georgia, it becomes a public record. A trust is completely private.
- You have a blended family.If you are part of a blended family, a trust can give you the flexibility you will want to make sure that your children from a prior marriage are provided for in the way you want.
- You have out-of-state property.If you own property in another state besides Georgia, you can more easily transfer ownership via a trust than a will. Transferring out-of-state property in a will usually means additional legal expenses because you could have probate in multiple states and that is an additional, and costly, hassle for the people you love.
- You want to provide asset protection for someone else.If you want to protect the assets you leave your loved ones from creditors (including bankruptcy and divorce) a trust is the best way to do it. It’s a gift you can give your loved ones that they could not easily (if at all) give themselves.
Our Marietta Estate Planning Lawyers can help you determine if a will or a trust is best for you and your family. Call us at 770-425-6060 to schedule a Georgia Family Treasures Planning and Discovery Session ($600 value) at No Charge.
Here in Atlanta, living will attorneys know full-well the ramifications of not planning ahead for an unexpected disability. Even those clients who understand the importance of estate planning tend to overlook what would happen if they should become unable to care for themselves. It’s not the happiest thought, but the reality of not having a living will can make the situation considerably worse for both you and your family.
A major disability can be devastating to an entire family, both emotionally and financially. Pre-planning for the possibility can reduce some of the heartaches that often accompany these situations.
You may assume that your spouse would simply make decisions for you if and when a major problem takes place. Ask yourself, if he or she really wants to be responsible for some of those decisions. For example, if you were in a coma, how would your spouse react to making the choice of whether or not to stop life support? Even if your loved ones know your wishes, simply having them in a formal document can remove a considerable burden and amount of potential guilt.
A living will attorney can help you to draw up these documents so that your family does not have to make these choices. The attorney can also assist by offering insight into situations you likely wouldn’t have considered. Are you opposed to a blood transfusion? Are you adamantly against ending life support? What needs to happen if you become mentally disabled? Who should be given power of attorney over your other health-related issues?
Having a major illness or injury is very expensive and can keep you from working during and after hospitalization. Your Atlanta living will attorney will also advise you on what needs to happen financially if you are unable to take care of your own needs. For example, you will likely set up a power of attorney, as well as to determine how long-term care will be paid for. Will you need to sell your house? Will you be eligible for disability insurance? These are all questions that the living will attorney will go over with you.
There are plenty of other considerations that need to be addressed by an Atlanta Georgia living will attorney. From what will happen to your children to where you might end up in nursing care, there are choices that need to be made. Planning in advance with your attorney in Atlanta will ensure that your wishes are being followed if the time should come.
If you are ready to get started in creating a plan that will protect you and your family should incapacity or disability occur, give our office a call at 770-425-6060 and ask to schedule a Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session. These sessions are normally $750, but you can come in free with the mention of this article. However, these sessions are limited to 10 per month so call today!
By Steve Worrall, Atlanta GA elder lawyer
As an Atlanta GA elder lawyer, I help people plan for long-term care costs on a regular basis.
Long-term care can include any service that helps people who have a prolonged illness. The illness can be a physical disability or a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia. The services may include help with activities of daily living, home health care, adult day care, hospice care, nursing home care, or care in an assisted living facility. The level of assistance required can include physical therapy, administration of medication, and help with daily activities such as bathing, eating, and dressing.
Paying for long-term care can be financially devastating to families. Contrary to what many people believe, Medicare coverage will not pay for most of the long-term care they will need if they suffer from a long-term illness. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average costs in the U.S. (in 2009) are:
- $198/day for a semi-private room in a nursing home
- $219/day for a private room in a nursing home
- $3,131/month for care in an Assisted Living Facility (for a one-bedroom unit)
- $21/hour for a Home Health Aide
- $19/hour for a Homemaker services
- $67/day for care in an Adult Day Health Care Center
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because you are now young and healthy you don’t need to worry about long-term care, but consider this:
- Life expectancy after age 65 has now increased to 17.9 years, up from 1940 when life expectancy after 65 was only 13 extra years. The longer people live, the greater the chance they will need assistance due to chronic conditions.
- 44% of people reaching age 65 are expected to enter a nursing home at least once in their lifetime and 53% of them will stay for one year or longer.
So, the bottom line is that millions of us are going to need long-term care. It is important to put an estate plan in place that will protect your assets if you become disabled. I’ve seen too many instances where a family has waited until a crisis strikes to take action. Most of the time it’s then too late to save their assets and income from the hands of such a facility.
But instead, you can talk to an estate planning attorney now to ensure your bills will be covered in the long-run without losing your house, your assets or other income sources in the process. To get started, simply call me, your neighborhood Atlanta elder law attorney at 770-425-6060 for a free Peace of Mind Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session.
Together we’ll walk through the complicated world of long-term care planning to ensure your family is protected when they need it the most.