Couple Makes Basic Planning Error and Loses Life Savings

A Pennsylvania couple may have lost their life savings by making a fundamental estate planning mistake. John DeStefano, 79, and his wife, Adeline, 83, have health problems. Four or five years ago they decided that in the event they became incapacitated and needed someone to pay their bills, they’d like their daughter, Cindy, to have

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Do You Have the Right Fiduciary?

When creating an estate plan, an important decision is who to name as your fiduciary. A fiduciary is a fancy legal term for the person who will take care of your property for you if you are unable to do it yourself, such as the executor of an estate, the trustee of a trust, or

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Guardianship and Conservatorship

Every adult is assumed to be capable of making his or her own decisions unless a court determines otherwise. If an adult becomes incapable of making responsible decisions due to a mental disability, the court will appoint a substitute decision maker, often called a “guardian,” but in some states called a “conservator” or other term.

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Hospital Trying to Revoke Daughter’s Power of Attorney

In an effort to discharge an elderly patient, a Chicago hospital was going to court to revoke the power of attorney of the patient’s daughter and substitute it with a guardianship. Dolores Bedin, 86, has terminal pancreatic cancer. Northwestern Memorial Hospital maintains that Dolores has been able to leave since September 18, and the hospital

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Make Sure Your Power of Attorney Complies with Federal Privacy Law

A power of attorney (POA) and a health care proxy are two of the most important estate planning documents you can have, but in some instances, they may be useless if they don’t comply with the federal privacy law. A POA allows someone you designate (your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) to make decisions for you if

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Prevent Your Power of Attorney from Being Ignored

A durable power of attorney is one of the most important estate planning documents there is. It allows someone you appoint — your agent or “attorney-in-fact” — to act in your place for financial purposes when and if you ever become incapacitated. However, many people experience difficulty in getting banks or other financial institutions to

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