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For seniors, putting legal matters in order early in life can protect not only their interests, but make financial matters easier to manage in the long run. Selecting a trusted person to serve as the authority in the decision making process should something happen to the senior. Without proper planning, families may become divided and battle in court over legal rights and guardianship regarding decisions on behalf of the senior.

While it is never easy to discuss death, it is inevitable and beneficial for everyone involved.

By outlining decisions in advance, seniors are able to dictate who they want to handle legal and financial affairs in addition to healthcare decisions. Final wishes can be appointed as requested. Assets can be divided and transferred to beneficiaries appropriately after death. Advance decisions can be made regarding life support and organ donation.

Written requests regarding future decisions will help to avoid future conflict. Though aging or disabled individuals are capable of making choices and assigning people to carryout their future wishes, a “Power of Attorney” is drafted to bestow the power to act on the seniors behalf to the designated party. The document can be limited to certain activities or expanded to include additional events.

In the event that no Power of Attorney has been declared, and the senior is no longer capable of making their own decisions, the court system has the ability to grant a “Conservatorship” to a responsible party, giving them the ability to make proper decisions on behalf of the senior.

To be considered incapacitated, he or she is unable to make decisions nor adequately care for their own health, wellbeing and nutritional needs. This diagnosis can come as a result of a mental illness, injury or brain damage. Often, a senior is able to care for themselves physically, but needs assistance with finances. The inability to properly manage bills can provide an opportunity for seniors to transition to an assisted living community.

According to attorney and Certified Estate Planning Specialist, Martin L. Pierce of the Pierce Law Firm, PLLC in Chattanooga, there are numerous differences between Power of Attorney, Conservatorship, Irrevocable Trust, etc. In cases, the roles of Power of Attorney and Conservatorship can be contested if the designated individual is not equipped to provide the necessary care.

When families dispute and become divided over money and health care after a debilitating condition has left the loved one unable to make their own decisions. Grown children may often express differences in retirement living and medical care.

To learn more about Regency Retirement Village and the options for retirement living, please call (205) 942-3355.

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