With the Walk to End Alzheimer’s coming up this weekend and National Long-Term Care Awareness Month starting today, elder law is on our minds.  So, this is the perfect time to share an elder law story that illustrates the value, and importance, of consistent planning.

Our client, “Diana”, thought that her father, “Fred”, had taken care of his disability planning by executing a power of attorney, naming Diana as his agent, several years ago.  However, when Diana’s mother, “Mary”, died, Mary’s former caregiver took control of Fred and his affairs.  The caregiver introduced Fred to an attorney who revoked the power of attorney to Diana and drafted a new power of attorney, as well as other documents, in favor of the caregiver.

Diana was forced to spend a significant amount of money to go to guardianship court to fight for the right to help her father take care of himself.  The caregiver has isolated Fred from his family and tells him awful lies about his daughter.  She may even have influenced Fred to change his estate plan.  This is a dire scenario, but unfortunately not an uncommon one.

We include comprehensive disability planning documents in our estate planning packages as a matter of course.  More importantly, we have our clients re-execute all of their documents every two years so that we build a record of consistency.  If Fred had given a power of attorney to Diana in 2006, 2008, and 2010, his intent would be clear and the court likely would have thrown out the new power of attorney early on, allowing Diana to protect Fred and his assets from the predatory caregiver.

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