Richmond Virginia Estate Planning, Elder Law, And Asset Protection

No Time Like the Present Pandemic to Get the Estate Plan Going

The pandemic has made many people focus on depressing things, like death. Many of us are worth more dead than alive.

Federal News Network’s recent article entitled “It’s your estate, but who gets it?” says that lack of control is one of the frustrating things about this already terrifying pandemic. We can wear masks, keep our distance and avoid crowds, but then what?

There are some very important and valuable things that are still under your control. One of these is estate planning.

Any number of things could have occurred in 2020 that are off your radar because you’re still adjusting to the many changes the pandemic has brought to our everyday lives.

Many people see their estate plan as one of life’s necessary chores. Once it’s signed, they simply file it away and forget about it. However, an estate plan should be reviewed regularly to be certain that it continues to meet your needs. Here are just a few of the life events that make it essential for you to review and possibly revise your estate plan with an experienced estate planning attorney:

  • The birth or adoption of a child
  • You are contemplating divorce
  • You have recently divorced
  • Your child gets married
  • Your child develops substance abuse problems or has issues with managing finances
  • Those you’ve named as executor, trustee, or agents under a power of attorney have died, moved away, or are no longer able to fulfil these obligations
  • Your child faces financial challenges
  • Your minor children reach the age of majority
  • There has been a change in the law that impacts your estate plan
  • You get a sizeable inheritance or other windfall.
  • You have an estate plan but can’t locate it
  • You acquire property; or
  • You move to another state.

If any of these events occur, talk to your estate planning attorney to see if it is necessary to revise your estate plan to address these issues.

Reference: Federal News Network (Nov. 4, 2020) “It’s your estate, but who gets it?”

 

What’s the Difference Between Nursing Homes and Assisted Living?

My parents had the best experience in the dozen or so years at the end of their lives, at a continuing care community in the Richmond area. But there are many choices for senior living.  US News & World Report’s recent article entitled “Nursing Homes vs. Assisted Living” explains that a big question is determining what type of facility is the best fit, a nursing home, assisted living or another senior community. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), long-term care residences include:

  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Nursing Homes
  • Board and Care Homes; and
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities.

We will look at the major differences among these options.

Assisted Living. Assisted living and nursing home facilities are different in many ways. One big difference is in how to pay for them. Some assisted living facilities do not accept Medicaid and are private pay only. Medicaid does cover nursing home care because states must do so under federal law. That’s the only way some can cover the cost in many instances.

Otherwise, the primary difference is in the level of care each can provide. Assisted living is for those who need some help with daily care, but not as much as what a nursing home has to offer. These facilities are for those who can still take care of themselves, but could use a bit of help with daily activities such as:

  • Housecleaning and laundry
  • Household chores and cooking
  • Bathing
  • Medication management; and/or
  • Transportation to medical appointments or stores.

The residents use any or all of the services offered and pay for the level of care they are receive. However, the more care, the higher the cost. Assisted living residents typically have their own private apartments and share common areas, like the dining room and community rooms. Most offer three meals a day for those who don’t want to cook, 24-hour supervision and security and socializing and recreational events with other residents. Many assisted living communities even permit pets.

Nursing Homes. Nursing homes are also called “skilled nursing facilities” and provide a higher level of daily care—especially medical care that assisted living facilities aren’t equipped to handle. Along with the same help for daily living that assisted living communities provide, a nursing home can offer:

  • Nursing care
  • Rehabilitation services, such as physical, occupational and speech therapy
  • Help getting dressed or in and out of bed
  • Frequent or daily medical management for chronic conditions; and
  • Some facilities specialize in memory care for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Board and Care Homes. Also called “residential care facilities” or “group homes,” these are small homes of 20 or fewer residents living in private or shared rooms. Similar to assisted living facilities, these places can provide personal care and meals but no nursing or medical care.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities. Also called “life care communities,” they offer different levels of service in one location, like independent housing, assisted living, and a skilled nursing facility all in one place. Residents can begin at one level of care and transition into higher care, as needed.

How to pay for care is another common misunderstanding, because unless you have long-term care insurance, assisted living is paid out of pocket. For a skilled nursing facility, if you are hospitalized and discharged to a care facility, Medicare will pay a set amount for a certain time. The responsibility for payment then goes back to the resident.

Only when a senior is legally destitute, can you use Medicaid. Talk to an elder law attorney about the details.

Reference: US News & World Report (November 52, 2020) “Nursing Homes vs. Assisted Living”

 

The Importance of a Will for Every Adult

Even during a pandemic, few people want to spend time thinking about death. However, having an estate plan means having some of the most important documents you’ll ever create. Having a will as part of an estate plan is a gift that alleviates the burden placed on loved ones after we are gone, says this recent article “Why it’s important for every adult to get a will” from Bankrate. In a time of sorrow, the family and friends will be spared the stress that makes grieving more complicated when there is no will, no guidance and no path forward.

What is a will?

In its most simple form, a will is a legal document that serves to transfer property at your death to the people you choose. It is revocable, which means you have the legal ability to make changes to it, as long as you are alive and have the mental capacity to do so. However, wills do more than distribute property. The will is your chance to state your wishes for who will care for your children, what happens to your physical remains and who will take care of your pets.

Are Wills Pretty Much the Same?

There’s a good reason why the best wills are those created with an estate planning attorney: they are created to suit your specific needs. Just as every person is different, everyone’s will must reflect their life. Some people want to name a recipient for every single asset they have, while others prefer simply to give their entire estate to a spouse, their children, a trust, or a charity. However, there are also different kinds of wills.

A Testamentary Will is a will signed in the presence of witnesses. It is the best choice to protect your family.

A Holographic Will is a handwritten will, which is not acceptable in many states and could lead your family into all kinds of expensive and stressful battles, in and out of court. Historically in Virginia, a handwritten will had to be entirely in the handwriting of the testator (not typed in parts), but the trend is now to give effect to the testator’s wishes if they are clear. But avoid these if possible. You do not want a court to decide what you probably meant!

An Oral Will is a verbal will that is declared in front of witnesses in some states, but don’t count on anything you say being considered a legally valid will.

A Mutual Will is also known as a “I love you Will,” when partners create a joint or reciprical will leaving everything to each other. (I have never seen one done in Virginia.) There can be some tricky things about these wills, since when one person dies, the other is still legally bound to the terms of this will. If the surviving spouse remarries, it could be very complicated. A=In my experience, absent a marital agreement, there is little or no protection that your wishes will be honored by your spouse or partner after your death.

A Pour Over Will is the ideal choice, when your plan is to pour assets into an established trust at your death, typically a revocable living trust.

What does a will do and not do?

Wills are used to determine guardianship for minor children and distribute assets and real property. Wills don’t control jointly owned assets, or contracts, like life insurance policies and retirement accounts (unless they are payable to your “estate”). These are controlled by beneficiary designation forms. It won’t matter if your will says that your current spouse should inherit your retirement account and you never changed the beneficiary from your first spouse. This is why estate planning attorneys always tell clients to check on beneficiary designations when large life events, like divorce and remarriage, occur.

What happens if there is no will?

Without a will, the state’s laws will determine what happens and your wishes don’t count. That includes who inherits your property, and even who raises your minor children. The court will make all of these decisions. The stress that this creates cannot be underestimated. When there is no will, the chances of litigation between family members and trouble from distant relatives seeking a claim against your estate rises.

Reference: Bankrate (Nov. 6, 2020) “Why it’s important for every adult to get a will”

 

What are Riskiest Surgeries for Seniors?

Are you considering the risk of surgery for yourself or an older family member as her healthcare agent? Consider this:  a team of researchers recently compiled a list of 277 risky procedures for older adults. They hope it’s useful in preparing for the potential of unwanted outcomes. The study was published in JAMA Surgery and was generated by using admissions data of patients 65 years and older.

Considerable’s recent article entitled “These 10 surgeries are considered “uniquely high risk” for older adults” says that scientists found 10 surgeries to be especially problematic for older patients.

  1. Adrenal Gland Removal (Adrenalectomy). This is the removal of one or both of the adrenal glands which produce hormones necessary in carrying out daily bodily functions. A tumor can form on the glands and causes increased hormone production. When this happens, the gland(s) needs to be removed. The typical recovery time after this surgery is two to six weeks. The risks include blood clots, infections and high blood pressure.
  2. Plaque Buildup Removal from the Carotid Arteries (Carotid Endarterectomy). This is a procedure that removes plaque buildup from inside a carotid artery in the neck. It is performed to restore blood flow to the brain when there are symptoms of reduced blood flow. A carotid endarterectomy is typically preventative of a stroke and removes blockages that might trigger one. The risks include clotting, stroke, or death, but taking anti-clotting medicines before and after can reduce these risks.
  3. Arm Blood-Vessel Replacement (Peripheral Vascular Bypass Surgery). Blood vessel replacement in the arm improves blood flow when one or more of the arteries become narrowed or blocked. A blood vessel from another part of the body or a synthetic blood vessel is used to replace the damaged blood vessel. Risks include irregular heartbeat, infection and death.
  4. Resection or Replacement of Abdominal Veins. When a blood vessel causes tissue injury in the abdomen, some of the tissue might need to be removed or replaced. Risks can include pulmonary embolism, infection and excess bleeding.
  5. Varicose Vein Removal. These veins form in the legs, when the valves in the veins aren’t functioning properly. This can cause pain, blood clots, or bleeding. A doctor might recommend varicose vein removal, which has risks that include nerve injury, heavy bleeding and infection.
  6. High Gastric Bypass. Weight loss surgery changes how the stomach and small intestine handle the food a person eats. There are several criteria that must be met to receive this procedure. High Gastric Bypass can pose major risks and complications, such as malnutrition, perforation of stomach or intestines and dumping syndrome (when food gets “dumped” directly from the stomach pouch into the small intestine without being digested).
  7. Proctopexy (Rectal Prolapse Surgery). This procedure is performed to correct stool leakage, inability to control bowel movements (fecal incontinence), or obstructed bowel movements. This procedure helps put the rectum back in place. The risks can include damage to nearby nerves and organs, narrowing (stricture) of the anal opening and development of new or worsened constipation.
  8. Bile Duct Excision. If a tumor is blocking the flow of bile to the bile ducts, a surgeon may remove them. Nausea, jaundice, or a high temperature (over 101) are potential risks.
  9. Urinary Reconstruction. Sometimes a person’s urinary bladder is removed because of cancer, a non-working bladder, or another medical reason. This procedure creates a new way for urine to exit the body when a bladder is not present. A risk of this procedure is urine backing up into the kidneys, causing infections, stone formation, or organ damage over time.
  10. Ureter Repair. When the ureter is injured (i.e., scar tissue forms after an accident or surgery), more surgery might be required to repair it. Complications include chest pain, blood clots and trouble urinating.

Before any planned procedures, be sure your Medical Directive and powers of attorney are up to date. Review any needed updates with an estate planning attorney.

A note on dental exams. Dental examinations should be considered before any surgery—but they’re especially important for certain heart surgeries, along with joint replacements that use implanted devices. With both joint replacement and cardiovascular valve replacement surgery, the risk of the bacteria from the mouth traveling systemically to the surgical site is very high. During a dental procedure, the gum tissue can be broken and that lets bacteria from the mouth to enter the bloodstream. The bacteria can go to any foreign material in the body and attach, frequently developing a biofilm. This makes it very difficult to treat with antibiotics alone. As a result, surgical removal may be required for complete eradication.

Reference: Considerable (Nov. 4, 2020) “These 10 surgeries are considered “uniquely high risk” for older adults”

 

How Do I Tell Fact from Fiction with the Flu?

Flu season officially spans October to May. We’re just getting going. That makes now an opportune time to get the real facts about the virus that claims tens of thousands of lives — a majority of them older adults — every year. AARP’s recent article entitled “7 Flu Myths Debunked” sets the record straight on seven common flu myths to help you strengthen your defenses.

Myth No. 1: Cold weather is the cause of the flu. Wrong. Viruses cause flu, not cold weather. However, the influenza virus survives better in colder environments. In colder weather, individuals also tend to gather inside with less air circulating, causing a higher risk of flu spread. Lower temperatures may also negatively impact the immune response, which makes us more susceptible to flu.  It spreads via droplets as people around us talk, sneeze, or cough.

Myth No. 2: Flu is merely a bad cold. Not every respiratory ailment is the flu. Influenza and the common cold can have similar symptoms, but they are caused by different viruses and each has distinct symptoms. A cold may give you a runny or stuffy nose, but the flu typically doesn’t. A cold can make you feel crummy, but the flu can make you feel like you were hit by a Mack truck. Colds also rarely lead to dangerous complications. However, a bad case of flu can move to the lungs and cause serious infections.

Myth No. 3: Antibiotics will help treat flu. Not true. The flu is a viral infection, and antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Sometimes complications from flu, like pneumonia, are treated with antibiotics, but flu itself is not. To treat influenza, in addition to over-the-counter drugs for cough and stuffy nose, there are approved antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu (which should be taken early in the onset of flu symptoms to be effective).

Myth No. 4: You don’t need a flu vaccine if you don’t get sick. Influenza is very contagious. Even healthy people can get it. A flu shot is the very best intervention we have to prevent flu infections and, sometimes, the serious complications it can cause. Everyone should get a flu shot every year—and in the middle of the pandemic, it becomes even more important. The flu virus can also mutate from season to season. As a result, if a strain circulates that your immune system doesn’t have experience fighting, you can be more susceptible to getting sick. Getting a flu shot will help because the shot will build immunity to the specific strains circulating in a given season.

Myth No. 5: A flu shot can make you sick. There’s no active virus in the flu vaccine, so it can’t cause the flu. Your body may hurt because it’s building up immunity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu vaccine stopped about 4.4 million influenza illnesses in the especially severe 2018-2019 flu season. It stopped 2.3 million flu-related medical visits, 58,000 flu-related hospital stays and approximately 3,500 deaths.

Myth No. 6: You might get a “stomach flu.” The word “flu” is often used incorrectly for several unrelated viruses and other illnesses. Although the flu can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, a stomach bug that causes nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea isn’t the flu.

Myth No. 7: If you get a flu shot, you won’t get the flu. After you get the shot, it can take up to two weeks for immunity to be built up in the body, but it’s not 100% effective at preventing the flu. That said, the flu shot will make any symptoms you do get less severe and help your provider distinguish between common flu symtoms and the COVID-19 virus. It’s also especially important to help lessen the strain on the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reference: AARP (Oct. 22, 2020) “7 Flu Myths Debunked”

 

Scottish Actor Sean Connery May Have Had Dementia

The famous screen actor, Sean Connery, who was famous for portraying the original on-screen James Bond, passed away recently at his home in the Bahamas.

Yahoo News’s recent article entitled “Sean Connery widow reveals he had suffered from dementia” reported that Connery died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family members, according to his widow Micheline Roquebrune.

“I was with him all the time and he just slipped away,” the 91-year-old told the London Daily Mail.

“He had dementia and it took its toll on him. He got his final wish to slip away without any fuss. It was no life for him. He was not able to express himself lately.”

Connery will be remembered at a private funeral ceremony, with a memorial event to be held later, according to a publicist. He was knighted in 2000 and won many awards during his decades-spanning career, including an Oscar, three Golden Globes and two Bafta awards.

However, it was his smooth, Scottish-accented portrayal of the suave licensed-to-kill spy 007 that earned him lasting worldwide fame and adoration. He was the first actor to say the unforgettable “Bond, James Bond.”

He made six official films as novelist Ian Fleming’s spy, giving what many still consider to be the definitive portrayal.

Former 007 actor Pierce Brosnan joined the flood of weekend tributes to the Scottish actor, who he said, “led the way for us all who followed in your iconic footsteps.”

“You were my greatest James Bond as a boy, and as a man who became James Bond himself, you cast a long shadow of cinematic splendor that will live on forever,” Brosnan added.

Connery was born in Edinburgh in 1930. He married French artist Roquebrune in 1974 after they met in Morocco in 1970.

They lived outside his native Britain for decades, previously owning a home in the Spanish resort of Marbella and then in the Bahamas.

“He was gorgeous, and we had a wonderful life together,” the Tunisian-born widow said. “He was a model of a man. It is going to be very hard without him. I know that. But it could not last forever and he went peacefully.”

Dementia can happen to anyone. For information on how families deal its onset and paying for care, visit www.nancelawfirm.net and our past blogs. Or call for a time to call and review matters.

Reference: Yahoo News (Nov. 1, 2020) “Sean Connery widow reveals he had suffered from dementia”

 

Good Planning for Life Is Also Good Planning for a Pandemic

The fear of the unknown and a sense of loss of control is sending many people to estate planning attorney’s offices to have wills, advance directives and other documents prepared, reports the article “Legal lessons from a pandemic: What you can plan for” from The Press-Enterprise.

However, people are not just planning because they are worried about becoming incapacitated or dying because of COVID. High net-worth people are also planning because they are concerned about the changes the election may bring, changes to what are now historically advantageous estate tax laws and planning to take advantage of tax laws, as they stand pre-December 31, 2020.

Regardless of your income or assets, it is always good to take control of your future and protect yourself and your family, by having an up-to-date estate plan in place. Anyone who is over age 18 needs the following:

  • Health Care Directive
  • Power of Attorney
  • HIPPA Release Form
  • Last Will and Testament

Any assets without beneficiary designations should be considered for a trust, depending upon your overall estate. Trusts can be used to take assets out of a taxable estate, establish control over how the assets are distributed and to avoid probate. You don’t have to be wealthy to benefit from the use of trusts.

Preparing estate planning documents in a last-minute rush, is always a terrible idea.

If you have more free time during the pandemic, consider using some of your free time to have your estate plan implemented or updated. This should be a top priority. The state of the world right now has all of us thinking more about our mortality, our values and the legacy we want to leave behind. Most estate planning attorneys encourage clients to think about the next three to five years. What would be important to you, if something were to happen in that time frame?

Estate planning is about more than distributing assets upon death. It addresses incapacity—what would happen if you became too ill or injured to care for yourself? Who would make medical decisions for you, such as what kind of medical care would you want, who will your doctors be and where will you live in the short-term and long-term? Incapacity planning is a big part of an estate plan.

When naming people to care for you in the event of incapacity, provide your estate planning attorney with three names, in case your first or second choices are not able to act on your behalf. Most people name their spouse, but what if you were both in an accident and could not help each other?

In recent months, Advance Health Care Directives have received a lot of attention, but they are not just about ventilator use and intubation. An Advance Health Care Directive is used to state your preferences concerning life-sustaining treatment, pain relief and organ donation. The agent named in your health care directive is also the person who will carry out post-death wishes, so provide as many details as you can about your wishes for cremation, burial, religious services, etc.

Trusts are a way to preserve a family legacy. A living trust gives you the ability to decide who you want involved, in case of your death or incapacity. You decide on your beneficiaries, and if you want your assets going directly to those beneficiaries or if they should be held in trust until certain goals are met, like finishing college or reaching a certain age or life milestone.

Your estate planning attorney will help you clarify family legacy goals, whether they include a beneficiary with special needs, a supplement for children who go into public service careers, etc.

Reference: The Press-Enterprise (Oct. 18, 2020) “Legal lessons from a pandemic: What you can plan for”

Suggested Key Terms: Pandemic, Estate Planning, Advance Medical Directive, Living Trust, Legacy, Incapacity, Beneficiaries, Tax Laws, Health Care Directive, Power of Attorney, HIPPA Release Form, Last Will and Testament

Doing good while doing well

How to Lower Your Medicare Premiums

Here’s a generous incentive for older Americans who want to help their favorite charities: by giving generously from the right asset source, they could manage their Medicare premiums for 2022. The details come from the article “Feeling altruistic? This tax strategy can keep Medicare premiums in check” from CNBC.  This is a way to help yourself while helping others. It is worth a read.

People who are age 70½ and over are allowed to make qualified charitable distributions from their IRAs. The IRA owner directs the custodian holding the account to transfer up to $100,000 directly to a charity. The transaction must be a direct transfer, and donor-advised funds or private foundations are not eligible for this strategy.

This is a staple of year-end tax planning for many, hitting two targets at once: older savers meet their required minimum distributions without a tax hit and their favorite causes get support. This year, there is no RMD, as a result of the CARES Act, the coronavirus relief measure that went into effect in the spring. However, a qualified charitable distribution still makes sense for people who were planning on making large donations.

Keeping a lid on Medicare premiums for 2022 Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) and Part D (Prescription Coverage) itself is worth consideration.

Giving via a Qualified Charitable Distribution will not inflate the Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) for that year, and you also won’t pay taxes on the distribution. Remember, Medicare premiums are based on the MAGI from two (2) previous years.

It’s great to support nonprofit agencies that have meaning to you. However, doing it without taking advantage of tax planning is a lost opportunity.

In 2020, single taxpayers with a 2018 MAGI up to $87,000 (or $174,000 for married and filing jointly) pay $144.60 a month for Medicare Part B. Premiums increase depending on your MAGI, all the way up to $491.60 per month for individual taxpayers with a 2018 MAGI of $500,000 or more.

This is something to work on with your estate planning attorney, as going just one dollar over your income bracket could raise your premiums by thousands. Your estate planning attorney will be able to guide you through the various brackets, which must consider any other sources of taxable income.

Charitable giving is a great tool to shave tax liability, while doing good. Donations of appreciated stock are another strategy. Just remember that for this type of giving, you’ll need to be itemizing deductions on the return, if you want to write them off. With the standard deduction so high, it may be hard to meet that hurdle.

Reference: CNBC (Oct. 23, 2020) “Feeling altruistic? This tax strategy can keep Medicare premiums in check”

 

What Should I Remember when My Parents Move in with Me?

Among adults living in someone else’s household, 14% were the parent of the head of household in 2017. That number is an increase from 7% in 1995, according to the Pew Research Center. What should you know if you are considering care for aging parents in your home?

“While the rise in shared living during and immediately after the recession was attributed in large part to a growing number of millennials moving back in with their parents, the longer-term increase has been partially driven by a different phenomenon: parents moving in with their adult children,” according to the Pew report.

US News and World Report’s recent article entitled “When Your Elderly Parents Move In With You” says that if your children also return home after college, you might wind up supporting your children and your parents at the same time.

The critical thing to do is to make a plan. Discuss your goals, the finances and the possibilities, which includes in-home care or nursing home care. Let’s look at how to care for aging parents in your home.

Get Financially Prepared. When Mom and/or Dad moves in, it will add new costs to your budget. In addition to health care for aging parents, the most disruptive implications are often the financial cost of supporting another dependent and having the space to accommodate them in the household. Talk about whether your parent will be contributing Social Security income or other retirement assets toward household expenses.

Think About Hiring Extra Help. Caring for a parent with significant health problems who needs help with basic living tasks can quickly become overwhelming for an adult child with children and work responsibilities. An aging parent might need around-the-clock care. A home health aide could be brought in during work hours or there’s also adult day health care services. However, these costs can add up. It’s not uncommon for the child who is caring for a parent to scale back his or her own career to accomplish both tasks.

Plan Before They Move In. Begin the discussion about the transition as early as you can. It can be doubly stressful to be executing a move in the middle of a crisis or urgent situation, like a health emergency or the death of a parent.

Remember that your parent in the house means you may need to schedule their activities and medical appointments. This can take time away from normal family routines. Or it can teach your children about care for others and passing the torch. It can be rewarding for the whole family.

Reference: US News and World Report (Aug. 30, 2020) “When Your Elderly Parents Move In With You”

 

Estate Planning for Young Families

Do I Need to Name a Guardian for My Children in the Will?

Many young couples with children and bills to pay may look at you askance, when asked about estate planning and say, “what estate?”  What is the hardest part of creating an estate plan for young families?

However, a critical part of having a will—one frequently overlooked—is naming a guardian. If you don’t name a guardian, it could result in issues for your children after your death. Your child might even be placed in a foster home.

For a young family, designating a guardian is another good reason to draft a will. If you and your spouse die together with no guardian specified in a will, the guardian will be chosen by the court.

In a worst-case scenario, if you have no close family or no one in your family who can take your child, the court will send them to foster care, until a permanent guardian can be named.

The judge will collect as much information as possible about your children and family circumstances to make a good decision.

However, the judge won’t have any intimate knowledge of who you know or which of your relatives would be good guardians. This could result in a choice of one of the last people you might pick to take care of your child.

Try to find common ground, by agreeing to a set of criteria you want in a guardian. This could include the following:

  • The potential guardian’s willingness to be a guardian
  • The potential guardian’s financial situation
  • Where the child might live with that person
  • The potential guardian’s values, religion, or political beliefs
  • The potential guardian’s parenting skills; and
  • The potential guardian’s age and health.

Next, make a decision, get the chosen guardian’s consent, write it all down, and then set out to create a will.

Ask an experienced estate planning attorney to help you do it correctly.

Reference: Lifehacker (Oct. 27, 2020) “Why You Should Name a Guardian for Your Kids Right Away”

 

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