During their 62-year marriage, George and his wife, Grace, had built a strong family and a successful business. Through it all, they worked as a team. When one was weak, the other was strong. As they approached their 63rd wedding anniversary, though, Grace noticed George was beginning to forget important things and had more trouble making decisions. Finally, the day came when George wandered into the street. He didn’t recognize Grace when she tried to lead him back to their house. It became obvious that he was no longer safe living at home. Grace wondered where to turn as she faced her husband’s incapacity.
Of course, she first turned to family and friends for support and advice.
Then, she wondered how to legally handle their financial affairs. Fortunately, George and Grace had consulted with an estate planning attorney many years before. Since then, they had been careful to keep their Wills and powers of attorney up to date.
Estate Planning Documents Already in Place
George’s durable power of attorney named Grace as his agent, with their oldest son named as successor in the event Grace was not able to serve. Using the authority granted by the powers of attorney, Grace began managing the couple’s financial accounts.
Armed with a valid health care power of attorney, Grace was able to speak with doctors about George’s care. She consulted with the doctors, basing her decisions on her prior discussions with George. She began looking for long-term care solutions like in-home care or residential facilities. Those were expensive, though.
Grace next starting applying for public benefits like Medicaid to help pay for the long-term care her husband needed. With the help of their advance planning and her family, she was able to care for George without losing their life savings to pay for it.
Facing Potential Incapacity.
Incapacity can strike at any time. Having plans in place beforehand can ease the burden of caring for someone who needs increasingly higher levels of care. When an individual lacks “capacity” to make decisions and sign estate planning documents, a guardianship or conservatorship may be needed.
You’re Not Alone.
Facing incapacity is the first step. Take the next step by talking to a qualified Alabama attorney. The lawyers and staff at Adams & Miller, P.C., help clients deal with both emergencies and advanced planning. Schedule an appointment by calling 256-251-2137. We help clients in Anniston, Talladega, Birmingham, Gadsden and surrounding communities.