Asset Protection
 Elderly assets: ARTICLE

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Help Protect the Assets of Your Elderly Parent or Spouse
by Shane Flait (2013)

An elderly parent or spouse may have solely owned and controlled his assets for the benefit of you or a spouse. But his sudden death or incapacity can prevent those assets from being used by the very people he wanted to help. Hereís whatís at jeopardy and how to quickly remedy the situation.

 Elderlyís unexpected loss of control may cause inaccessibility of his assets

Suppose youíre caring for your aging parent who owns everything in his or her name only. If he dies, his assets become part of his estate. You canít access any of his bank accounts to pay for the funeral expenses. And this is especially true if he has no valid will.

 Or suppose your spouse who likewise controls everything in his name becomes seriously ill and unable to communicate. You canít access his account because it's solely under his name.

 Or, suppose you canít afford to take care of an aging parent and put him in a nursing home. The funds deposited in his bank accounts Ė which you donít have access to Ė will be taken by the nursing home as payment for providing shelter and healthcare services. Thereís little one can do once your parent in a nursing home to protect assets in his name. His assets and the income they generate will be used to pay for the nursing home facility before Medicaid will pick up the cost for free.

 These circumstances put the control of your disabled or dead parentís or spouseís assets in someone elseís hands. And thatís probably not what your parent or spouse would have wished.

 Prevent loss of control of his assets so as to maintain accessibility to assets

Because of emotional reasons itís common to want to put off making even simple financial arrangements for the protection of a loved oneís assets. But delaying to do so is unwise. Begin today to eliminate the jeopardy that assets and accounts solely in your love oneís name are subject to.

 Hereís what to do now:

  • Explain the jeopardy of leaving assets solely in your love oneís name to your loved one, then
  • Add your name to any bank account that your elderly parent or spouse has
  • Have an attorney draw up a durable power of attorney for the finances of your loved one
  • Initiate a durable power of attorney for health care of your loved one in case he or she becomes incapacitated.

Doing so will keep the control of his or her assets in the family should he become ill or die. Thatís because youíll be able to use and control those assets yourself to handle those situations that will inevitably arise.

Setting up a living trust will keep your loved one in charge, but allow you to take over in case of death or illness.







Shane Flait is a writer and educator