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Fresno and Oakland Social Security Disability Law Blog

Don't forget to consider trustee fees when estate planning

Using a trust as part of your estate plan is a wise option to consider. After all, trusts can provide more protection for assets, allow you to have more control over those assets and better protect your privacy. When creating a trust, you become the grantor, and you can name a trustee to manage the trust and handle its administration.

When considering a potential trustee, you will certainly want to choose someone responsible, trustworthy and knowledgeable. Some people choose to name friends or family members as trustees, but professional trustees are also an option. In either case, trustee fees will apply that allow the named individual or company to obtain compensation for their services.

Would your family benefit from a special needs trust?

Planning for the future is not easy, especially when your family has a member with special needs. You may need to craft an estate plan that will allow you to address future concerns, but you also need to consider what your loved one will need down the road. One way you can address these concerns is to establish a special needs trust. This is a tool that will allow you to plan for the protection and support of someone who cannot care for himself or herself.

A special needs trust is a tool used to set aside and protect assets for the benefit of those who will need long-term support and protection. This is a better option than simply passing assets down in a will, and it allows you to have more control over what happens to your assets and money. As you make a plan, you may want to consider how this specific option may benefit your California family.

Why does the Social Security Administration deny some claims?

A serious medical condition can affect your life in many ways. It can take a financial toll as you try and pay your medical bills and get other types of support you may need. In some cases, a serious physical disability or mental condition can impact the ability to work, which obviously causes additional financial complications. This is why many California adults who have a disabling condition seek support through a disability claim with the Social Security Administration.

The SSA reviews these claims and then decides if the applicant should receive disability benefits. Unfortunately, not every claim is successful, and many initial claims come back denied. If this happened to you, it may feel like a setback, but it is not the end of the road for you. Through the appeals process, you may still be able to secure the benefits you need and deserve. 

Advance health care directives bring peace to families

Imagine you are in an accident, and your injuries leave you unconscious and intubated to help you breathe. Doctors have several options for treating your injuries, some of which are more conservative and others with higher risk. Perhaps, any measure they take will leave you debilitated, in pain and with a poor quality of life. Which would you choose? More importantly, does your family know what your answer would be?

The families of many patients in this and similar situations are left with the heartbreaking task of trying to guess what their loved one would want. These situations often lead to disputes as personal philosophies clash. However, you may reduce the chances of such a devastating scene if you draft an advance health care directive.

Who is the best person to be your power of attorney agent?

Preparing an estate plan is seldom easy. It requires you to think about difficult possibilities, including the end of your own life. Many of the decisions you make can benefit your loved ones, not only by providing them with an inheritance, but also by saving them from wondering what your wishes would be. This may also prevent disputes if family members disagree about what you would want.

One important way you provide this comfort to your loved ones is by designating a power of attorney, which grants authority to someone whom you choose to make legal or medical decisions at a time when you may be unable to do so for yourself. If you should become ill or suffer injuries in an accident that leaves you unconscious or unable to communicate, who will make critical decisions on your behalf?

Alzheimer's can affect people younger than the age of 65

Most people think that Alzheimer's disease only affects the elderly. Perhaps when you think of this condition, you think of your grandparents in a nursing home who have trouble remembering who you are. While this disease does affect many people over the age of 65, it can also happen to those younger than that as well.

As you can imagine, it would be quite debilitating for anyone, but when someone who has not even had a chance to live a full life becomes affected, he or she may no longer be able to work, enjoy family and friends, and enjoy all that life has to offer. 

Do you know what an estate plan can do for you?

Over the past few years, you have undoubtedly heard of celebrities who passed away without leaving a plan for their multi-million dollar estates. Their loved ones and others spent years clamoring for a share in the wealth, and often, the legal squabbles consumed a considerable portion of the fortune. Also in recent memory are reports of celebrities left at the hands of unscrupulous caretakers because they failed to plan for their own futures despite declining health.

However, these stories are not exclusive to the rich and famous. You may not have millions, but you certainly have goals for how you would like to distribute your hard-earned assets. In fact, having fewer assets may make it even more important for you to make a plan, not just for your property, but for your own future as well.

Missteps with your estate plan can have future consequences

Estate planning is an important step for everyone, regardless of a person's income, size of his or her estate, or other financial factors. Having a solid estate plan in place can ensure that you have control over your health care in the future and can plan for the care of others. You do not have to be wealthy in order to benefit from having a thoughtful and up-to-date estate plan in place.

While estate planning is useful, committing certain mistakes during this process can have negative consequences in the future. As you draft a plan, it is beneficial to be thoughtful, cautious and intentional about avoiding missteps. It is also smart to review plans regularly and seek help as you make important decisions that could affect your future. 

Do you doubt the validity of your loved one's will?

If you recently lost a loved one, condolences are in order. Even if his or her death was not unexpected, it probably still hurts, and you will grieve in your own time. At some point, whether you are ready or not, the executor of that person's will may file it with the court in order to begin the probate, during which the court will ultimately distribute all property in accordance with that document. 

As an heir and/or beneficiary, you may receive a copy of the will or at least receive the opportunity to read it. When you do, you realize that something just isn't right. Its contents make you question whether the will is valid, but you aren't sure if your suspicions are backed up by a legal reason to challenge the will.

Steps to applying for Social Security Disability

You may think of Social Security as something you get when you are old. However, the Social Security Administration also provides benefits for qualifying people whose medical condition prevents them from working. Even if you are in your twenties, you may still have the need to apply for benefits from Social Security.

Applying for disability benefits is a long and complex process requiring honest and thorough documentation of your condition and its effect on your life. Depending on your condition, you may find that even applying for benefits is too much to handle without the help of a knowledgeable advocate. Such an advocate can also prove beneficial if SSA denies your application, which is often the case.

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