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October is a busy month with art festivals and Halloween, but it is also the month for Mental Health Awareness Week on October 2-8, Stroke Prevention Day on October 29, and Domestic Violence Awareness recognized with purple ribbons all month. These three situations have legal protections that you should know if a family member or heir has one of these issues.
Domestic Abuse. In a domestic abuse situation, the abuser often attempts to control and dominate the victim mentally, physically, and financially. Preventing an abuser or spendthrift spouse from access to an inheritance gives your heir more power and options. A good estate planning attorney can create a spendthrift trust in your estate plan for an adult heir with an abusive spouse or mental health issues. If your adult heir is the one with spendthrift tendencies, a spendthrift trust can protect the adult heir, too.
Mental Health. According to John Hopkins Medicine, one in four Americans have a diagnosable mental disorder. A durable power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney for a family member or heir with mental issues can help in future crises. Thinking long term with no crisis in sight, one grandmother set up a trust in her estate so that her grandson with significant mental disabilities would be cared for by a guardian and conservator long after she was gone. The parents were not viable options. An estate planning attorney can advise you about whether a guardian or a conservator is right for your situation.
Stroke. The CDC reports that in 2020, someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds or about 795,000 people a year. Strokes remain a leading cause of death even though huge advances in treatment now exist. A complete estate plan including financial and healthcare power of attorney and healthcare directive can be invaluable when an individual has a stroke. While the stroke victim is in rehab, the financial power of attorney ensures that bills are paid. If the stroke victim doesn’t recover, the healthcare directive and healthcare power of attorney allow someone to make the hard decisions about life support based on the stroke victim’s preferences. And with about 37% of Americans living alone, it’s important to have an estate plan in place to manage any eventuality.
Make sure your estate plan can manage these situations.
Partner at Holliman & Holliman, PLLC
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