Specializing in Elder Law
Obtaining guardianship of our loved ones who become incapacitated is the mechanism whereby interested persons seek legal authority through the courts to make decisions regarding the person, such as medical, educational, residential, and any issues regarding the person. Conservatorship is the mechanism to obtain the legal authority to handle the incapacitated person's estate--their property, finances, monies, etc. The guardian and conservator must act in the best interests of the incapacitated person at all times and involve that person as much as possible to the extent possible.
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Guardianships and Conservatorships of persons with developmental disabilities should be sought in the most restrictive means so as to preserve the autonomy and the individual rights of the person with the developmental disability, while providing a mechanism to ensure their physical health, safety, and appropriate management of their finances.
A will is a document that sets forth the disposition of one's property/estate after his/her death. Anyone 18 years of age or older and of sound mind may make a Will. A Will is advisable for most people, even if they have few possessions. If a person passes away without a Will, their property is distributed according to Idaho Law.
Probate is the legal process that takes place in the Court after a person dies wherein the Personal Representative is given authority to administer the estate--identifying the assets in the estate, paying outstanding debts and taxes, and distributing/transferring ownership of the property as set forth in the Will.
Advance Directives are Powers of Attorney, Powers of Attorney for Health Care, and Living Wills. Powers of Attorneys are documents whereby one gives another person the legal authority to act on his/her behalf for personal, financial, and health care affairs during his/her lifetime. A living Will is a written declaration regarding a person's wishes as to the use of life-prolonging medical care should a person become terminally ill, have an irreparable injury or irreversible disease, and be in a comatose or persistent vegetative state, facing imminent death. Everyone 18 years of age or older with capacity should have advance directives that are at least effective upon their incapacity appointing someone they trust to take care of their affairs and make decisions for them in the event they become incapacitated.
Everyone with capacity should put together an estate plan that takes into consideration their individual needs, facts, and circumstances.
There are a variety of factors a person should consider when putting together an estate plan in anticipation of possible future Medicaid assistance for long-term care. Many myths and misunderstandings run rampant when it comes to Medicaid. It is important to get your questions answered correctly. How much do I need to spend down to qualify for Medicaid? Am I protected if I put everything in a trust? Can the State take my house? What is this thing I Heard called a `Miller Trust'? Is there any assistance for long-term care through the Veteran's Administration? What is a Marriage Settlement Agreement?