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Who Will Make Your Financial Decisions if You are Unable to Make Them Yourself?

What good is having access to a safe deposit box if you don’t have the key and you’re not ont he signature card?

What if someone asked you to drive his car in an emergency but he didn’t give you the car keys?

What if a relative wanted you to handle financial matters for her, but the authorization she signed for you didn’t work?

In each case, you’re holding a firecracker but you’re missing the fuse. You have only half of what you need to do the job. Without the activation half — the “Launch Code” — you’re stuck where you are, and so is the person you’re supposed to be helping.

So, you can have very important-looking papers which authorize you to act if someone else is disabled. They have familiar titles, like “Financial Power of Attorney” or “Living Will.” They read right: you are to collect the income, pay the bills and do all the financial chores for that person. Read more

Deal with Inherited Real Estate Before Another Person Dies

houseIgnoring property to be inherited is a problem which never goes away. It inevitably gets worse. As a model, consider what happened in the family of T.L. Piggy, Sr.

In 1950, T.L. (short for “This Little”) went to market in East Cobb County. He liked some farm acreage and bought it for $30,000.     Read more

Protecting Your Aging Parents’ Assets

On the magazine cover, the cute but worried dog was staring at a man’s hand.  The hand was holding a gun to the dog’s head. The cover caption: “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog.”

This is not exactly a case of undue influence. Nobody has you in a chokehold, nobody is threatening to lop off your fingers one at a time, saying “Sign this or else!”  That’s what undue influence is usually about.

Aging adults, however, sometimes face the pressures of a different undue influence: being manipulated when they have diminished mental capacity. Who’s doing it? People – often relatives — who seek influence and financial control over the aged adult as well as financial benefit for themselves.   Read more

Your Documents Are Only Good if People Can Find Them. Just ask Jack.

This is the House that Jack left.

This is the basement, dingy and dark
In the house that Jack left.

This is the chest, so rarely opened,
Covered by carpets and dust and webs
In that basement, dingy and dark
In the house that Jack left.   Read more