Brent D. Coldiron often speaks as a courtesy for groups. Here are some excerpts from one of Brent’s talks.
Oklahoma City and Midwest City probate, will and trust attorney Brent Coldiron realized the importance of estate planning one day when a young couple came into his office. They were young in their middle twenties. They had never been to an attorney before. Like many young couples money was spent on necessities. They thought they had plenty of time to take care of doing a will. Unfortunately the wife lost it. She developed a mental illness. To the point that she had to be hospitalized. The young husband was forced to seek a guardianship. Experienced attorneys often refer to a guardianship as a living probate. If anything could be more technical and difficult, it is a guardianship. That led to even more problems financially and even more strains. Had there been a durable power of attorney, it would saved them a lot of grief and money.
A durable power of attorney allows another person the authority to make decisions and pay bills if a person is incapacitated, for example by car accident, mental health, or physical issues, such as stroke or dementia. The power of attorney can be specific and limited such as one for certain financial matters, others can be for medical situations.
A durable power of attorney is a sensible instrument for a husband to have for his wife and for a wife to have for her husband. Not for every marriage. If your spouse would use it for harm, then no, don’t give him or her one. But in most normal marriages it is good planning.
Estate planning no longer just involves a will or trust. The end-of-life scenario. It is a good game plan to avoid the hazards of incompetency or incapacitated. While it is more rare with young people (approximately 10-20% risk), it is more urgent for couples past age 50. The chances go up from that age. Estate planning just helps to keep your affairs in order.
If you don’t believe estate planning is more than just a will and trust, do an internet search. You will see a variety of information on estate planning dealing with trusts, wills, Medicare, Medicaid planning for nursing home care, powers of attorney, guardianship and conservatorship, long term care insurance, transfer on death deeds, and joint tenancy to name some of the more common topics.
A will and trust allows a person to disperse his or her estate after he or she dies. They are both put in place during the will maker’s and trust maker’s lifetime. The will goes through probate, while a living trust avoids probate. Probate is costly and can be avoided with proper planning.
Estate planning has been and always will be important to a person who cares about his or her family or friends. Estate planning is about taking care of yourself and your family.
According to an AARP study, 60 percent of Americans above the age of 50 have a will, 45 percent have a durable power of attorney, and 23 percent have a living trust. More and more people are realizing the need to put in place testamentary documents that fulfill their wishes. But think about it. That means two-thirds of the people do not even have a will.
Since 1900, the percentage of American over 65 has more than tripled 4.1 percent in 1900 to 12.7 percent, according to the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. The most rapid increase is expected from 2010 to 2030, when the baby boom generation reaches 65. The Baby Boomers are reaching retirement and that is the biggest age group. They have accumulated some wealth and want to protect it. People are living longer. Now, its not unusual for people to live in for 100. Protecting the inheritance or the community spouse from Medicaid nursing home spend down is something that an experience elder law attorney will know how to do. It is possible to shield important family property by the use of a Medicaid or VA Shield Trust.
A lot of people see me and say they were glad their parents had a trust because it was so convenient and well done. That is not an accident. When I started out in 1976 I didn’t even know what a living trust was. It is a pleasure to prepare great documents for my clients. Documents that I know will serve them and their family well. Their wishes will be accomplished.
Here are some tips to remember about estate planning:
1) Do you estate planning now. Don’t put off estate planning. The biggest problem is probably procrastination.
2) Talk to an experienced probate, will and trust attorney. Estate planning can turn into a mess in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. That’s why its good to rely on an expert in probate, will and trust law.
3) Get durable powers of attorney that can be used if a “what if” happens to take care of the financial transactions and medical decisions.
4) Use a living trust so that your estate will not be probated. Also get a pour-over will, that way if something gets lost out of trust and has to be probated, the judge will transfer it to you trust.
5) If you have a living trust, get it out and read it every five years. If you see something you want to change, call your will and trust attorney.
6) Make sure your property and accounts are owned by your trust. Not every asset should be put into a trust. Check with your probate, will and trust attorney on which assets to put into your trust.
7) As soon as there is reason to believe that a nursing home is eminent at some future date, go see an elder law attorney who understands Medicaid (member National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is a good place to start your search) and can explain the benefit of a Medicaid or VA Shield Trust and knows the ways to protect the community spouse and the family property.
If you need an experienced probate, will and trust attorney, contact Brent D. Coldiron, attorney at law, 1800 E. Memorial Road, Suite 106, Oklahoma City, OK 73131 or 2801 Parklawn Drive, Suite 503, Midwest City, OK 73110; telephone (405) 478-5655 and 737-2244. Brent has over 41 years experience handling a variety of legal matters, including probates, will, trusts, business formation, elder law, Medicaid qualification for nursing home care, VA Aid and Attendance qualification, corporations, limited liability companies, and guardianships. Give Brent a call, he knows what to do!