health care

October 10, 2011   Estate Planning

The Importance of a Health Care Directive

By Olga Álvarez, Esq.
As soon as people find out what area of law I practice, they usually say, “I don’t know if I need a trust.” My response to them varies, but always ends with, “I am certain that you need a Health Care Di­rective.” Their eyes widen when I provide the following reasons:   Everyone over the age of eighteen (18) should have a health care directive (HCD). Life presents so many sur­prises and challenges including incapacity, at any age. The statutes in most states will, at the very least, place a family member or next of kin in charge of making those deci­sions. But, is that the person who knows and understands your client and her wishes? The three issues that arise regarding health care directives are (a) who will serve as agent?; (b) what are the c...
April 10, 2011   Disability & Illness

The Psychiatric Advance Directive: An Often Overlooked but Important Incapacity Planning Tool

By Suellen Fagin-Allen, JD, NCC, LMHC
Approximately five percent of Americans have seri­ous, chronic mental illness, according to official government reports, and since 1955, there has been nearly a fourfold increase in the number of reported psychiatric care episodes per 100,000 U.S. population. Regardless of the reasons for this astounding rise, up to half of us may be affected in some way by mental illness within our lifetimes. Yet, reliable sources show that few patients have executed advance medical directives for psychiatric care. Think this information has little applica­tion to you as an estate planning attorney? Consider the following true stories of my personal friends, told with their permission. Details have been modified to protect anonymity.  A professional man in his 50s with multiple advanced degr...
January 23, 2011   Estate Planning

On Your Mark, Get Set … Plan! Issues for Athletes in Estate Planning

By Ann M. Jasper, J.D.
As estate planning attorneys, we are often sensitive to the needs of clients engaged in professions with a heightened exposure to liability, such as doctors and our fellow attorneys. However, we should also ask our clients about their hobbies—if they listed a $3,000 bike as an asset or just told you about a triathlon they recently completed in record time, this should trigger a discussion with your client about healthcare planning.   Sports are no longer dominated by our teenage popula­tion—recent times have seen a sharp increase of people in their 30’s and 40’s engaging in “endurance sports.” On any given weekend, anyone can register to run a marathon, swim/bike/run a triathlon, or cycle a “century,” which is cyclist-speak for 100-m...
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