The Elrod Firm

Ask The Pros

Relevant answers to the most common questions about estate planning and elder law.

Probate

Is Probate Really A Big Deal?

Justin, I keep hearing that I need to do everything I can right now to make sure my estate doesn’t wind up in probate court when I die. Is probate really that big of a deal? How much effort should I put into this?

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Asset Protection

Should I Use A Trust Department?

Justin, I heard you should name a trust department to serve as the trustee of your trust to wrap things up when you die. Isn’t that just added expense when my kids could do it for free?

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Long-Term Care Planning

Are There Programs To Help With Home Care?

Justin, My name is Pam and I am a long-time reader of your column. I am writing about my mother, Geraldine. She lives at home and is in decent health. Over the last two years since my father’s passing, her health has declined. She stopped driving and reluctantly hired in-home care for a few hours per day as recommended by her doctor. She is concerned that she will be forced into a nursing home one day when she can no longer afford to pay for home care. Mom owns her home, some savings, and is the widow of a Vietnam veteran.   Do any programs exist to help her?

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Guardianship

Do I Really Need A Healthcare P.O.A?

Justin, someone told me that I need a healthcare power of attorney so my wife can make medical decisions for me if I’m unconscious. Don’t the doctors always let the family members decide what to do? 

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Asset Protection

What Is The Most Common Problem With An Old Trust Plan?

Justin, My name is Mike, and I am a long-time resident of Hot Springs Village. Before retiring, I had my attorney in Jonesboro setup a Revocable Living Trust for me. I had to go through probate court when my father died, and I wanted to ensure my children avoided that. I think my legal affairs are in order, but I need a specialist’s opinion for peace of mind. What is the most common problem you see with old trust plans?   Should I be worried?

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Asset Protection

How Can We Afford This Nursing Home?

Justin, My mom is currently in rehab at a nursing home, and her insurance is covering all the charges. But her care team told us yesterday that she will need to transfer to the long-term care unit soon. My dad still lives at home, and they don’t have enough to cover the nursing home costs and meet his expenses. I was told that Medicaid could help, but they would have to get down below $2,000. My dad will be broke! Do we have any other options?

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Asset Protection

Why Was My Mother Denied Medicaid For Owning A Home?

Justin, after waiting four months for a decision my mother was recently denied Medicaid for being over-resourced. The nursing home said before they could apply for Medicaid she had to spend all her savings to below $2,000, but she would be able to keep her house.

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Probate

Why Won’t The Insurance Company Talk To Me?

Justin, my mother recently passed away, and I called to ask for the claim form on her life insurance. The company refused to give me any information. She was a widow, and I’m her only child. Why won’t they talk to me? 

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Asset Protection

How Do You Leave Assets To A Child Receiving Disability?

Justin, I have a son who has down syndrome. I want to make sure he is taken care of when I die, but I don’t want him to lose his disability payment. Should I disinherit him and leave everything to the person I want to take care of him?

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Estate Planning

What Is A Springing Power of Attorney?

Justin, My dad recently named me as his power of attorney, and he emailed me a copy of the document. From what I can tell, it appears to be something called a “springing durable power of attorney.” Can you tell me what exactly this means?

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