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    Steven developed a thorough plan to meet our complicated needs with a blended family and special needs child in a timely manner. - Cheryl F.

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    "Integrity, trust - a rare item - it's here! - Ron F.

Who is in control?

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.

We want to remain in control of our lives and our affairs as long as we can mentally and physically. We have achieved whatever we have achieved because of hard work and a lot of our own effort, and we don’t want to give up that control. The day may come when we are unable to handle our own affairs due to a mental decline or a physical decline. Many people want their spouse to handle their affairs for them if they cannot because that is who they trust. Others choose another person or even a Trust Company.

The main thing we see on the mental disability issue is mental decline which forces us to take action on the estate plan. This is a very important part of your estate planning. If there is not mental disability planning as part of your estate plan, there is something wrong. When you choose people to be in control if you cannot be, you want to choose people who are competent and trustworthy. They are going to be the ones in charge of your affairs.

When I ask my clients about this, I will touch my chest, my heart, and say, “Who’s trustworthy?”, and I will touch my head and say, “Who’s competent?” Those are the people you want. They may be family members. They may not be. In my situation, they are close personal friends.

When you are making decisions on who is in control of your healthcare decisions, it may be a different person that you want in control of your money. For some people, their strength is in handling medical matters but they a re not good with their money so they shouldn’t be in control of your money. When you are choosing someone for healthcare decisions, you want to choose someone that is going to follow your desires, not their feelings. This is a really important issue.

Many people will choose an adult child, and that adult child may have unresolved issues that will not let them carry out your desires.

When our existence is miserable, many of us want to be let go. Let us go. Let us pass on, but many family members cannot handle that emotionally due to their own issues.

Often adult children cannot accept that. They won’t let mom or dad go even though that is their expressed desire because of the adult child’s own emotional issues. You have to be real careful and think this through about who is emotionally strong enough and will put your desires ahead of their own emotional feelings.

Is the government in control? We rarely want the government in control in healthcare decisions.

You want to have people that you trust in control. You put the government in control if you have a Will based plan. If you have a guardianship or any incompetency proceeding, you are going to be in the courthouse. Anytime you are in the court system, there is a loss of control, plus it is public record, it is expensive, and it is slow.

You can avoid the government with the probate court loss of control with a well done, legally drafted Living Trust or Revocable Living Trust. You want to make sure that the assets are titled into the name of the Trust and that the Trust is properly administered. If it is, you can avoid the court system on mental disability and you can avoid the court system after you pass on.

As we have said, you want to make sure the Will or Trust that you create has the right person or people that you want in charge. Sometimes, people will forget and they will have chosen someone a long time ago, and now that relationship has faded. You want to have a strong relationship with the person in control. You also want to make sure you know and understand that if you have chosen individuals
to be in charge, that the law firm does not place themselves in charge.

I have seen this happen a number of times where a law firm will place themselves in charge of the client’s estate plan without the client even knowing it. That is something you want to make sure to avoid. “Can you trust your Trust? Can you trust your Will?” Make sure that your own attorney did not sneak a fast one by you.

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™.