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I can’t remember

NOTE: This is an excerpt from the book, The Legacy You Leave, by Steven Andrew Jackson, Esq.  You can buy the book on Amazon or Kindle.  Click here for details.

They say we are statistically six to nine times more likely to become mentally incapacitated in a given year than to die. I have worked with an
administrator of one of the very large retirement communities nearby, and he said their feeling is that about one half of the residents in their
retirement community at age 80 or older have some form of dementia … some loss of mental capacity.

We think of some famous people recently who were in the news. Radio icon Casey Kasem was one of the people who declined mentally before he passed on. His adult children and his wife ended up in court over his care in both the State of California and the State of Washington because he had not done any mental disability planning.

NBA owner, Donald Sterling recently has been in court and had been involved in legal proceedings and difficulties because of his mental incapacity and mental decline. His wife was able to transact the sale of the team through their Living Trust, and the Living Trust was upheld quickly. But if they had not had that mental disability planning in the Trust in place, they would have been in court for years.

Motivational speaker, Zig Ziegler had fallen down a flight of stairs towards the end of his life and had a head injury which caused him to have dementia and affected how he was cared for.

We have all heard the stories about the billionaire, Howard Hughes, and his mental illness towards the end of his life. It is thought some of it was brought on by the numerous plane crashes that he had been involved in when he was testing new airplanes. Also, he took a lot of heavy pain medication due to the crashes which they believe had also affected his mental capacity.

Comedian Groucho Marx was involved in what many believe to be the first big televised court trial which was a trial about his mental incapacity where his adult children, who were the age of his then wife, were fighting over custody of him and how his money would be handled.

Personally, my mom and dad are good examples. My dad died at age 84 and was as sharp as he was when he was 50 years old. My dad was very bright. My mom has had a cocktail of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and vascular dementia for somewhere between seven and 10 years and has been steadily declining mentally. She is still the nicest person I have ever known, and she still knows me . Although now, she does not know my adult sons and she will ask me the same question about every 30 to 60 seconds. In my mom and dad’s estate plan, we had
mental incapacity planning which we were able to turn on for my mom as we needed it. It needs to be part of your estate plan.

In our Customized Protective Estate PlanTM, we build in a mechanism for mental disability. We create a panel of your attending physician and who you choose as the loved ones to decide if we need to flip on the switch to turn on the mental incapacity part of the Trust. We are very specific as to who gets taken care of out of your money. Make sure that the money is used for you and not others if you don’t want it to be.

Be real specific as to how you want to be cared for. Do you want to stay at home as long as medically and financially feasible? If you have to be in a care facility, is there a particular town you want to live in? Do you want to live in Western North Carolina, or do you want to live near a particular adult child or loved one or best friend? Who do you want to choose the care facility, if one is needed?

You can design these in your Living Trust. The goal in all of these situations on mental disability is staying out of the court system. If you do an adult incompetency or guardianship proceeding in North Carolina, you are filing a lawsuit, notifying all the relatives and any interested parties that there will be a trial. You list all of the assets of the person, so literally, the person that gets the paperwork as part of the lawsuit can see how much money they have.

Then, there is a trial and you go to court, and the parties go to court. It can be a jury trial. It can go on for a lengthy period of time, and the first question is, “Are they mentally competent?”, and the second one is, “Who gets control of the individual?” correspondingly, “Who gets control of his or her money?”

That is the downside of going to the court system. Again, any time you are in a court system, there is a huge loss of control because all the judge knows is who is right in front of him for a very short period of time. They don’t know the family history. They don’t know what people are like . Bad people can present well for short periods of time.

NOTE: This is an excerpt from the book, The Legacy You Leave, by Steven Andrew Jackson, Esq.  You can buy the book on Amazon or Kindle.  Click here for details.

At the Law Firm of Steven Andrew Jackson, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, we have helped hundreds of families protect themselves and their loved ones, avoid Estate Taxes and Probate Costs, and keep their Estate Plans current with the law through The Customized Protective Estate Planning Solution™.