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Fresno and Oakland Social Security Disability Law Blog

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.

Get the facts on Social Security Disability benefits

Do you get confused when you see various acronyms regarding supplemental financial assistance and insurance benefits at work, such as SSI, SSDI or SSA? Navigating a benefits claim can be challenging enough without adding further complication if you don't understand the differences between these things. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a government agency that oversees programs offering retirement, disability and survivors' benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to people who have paid into the system through payroll deductions.

On the other hand, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is designed to help those who do not qualify for SSDI. If you have suffered a mental or physical disability and are unable to return to the workplace, you may have need of such benefits to help meet medical and daily living expenses. Outside guidance and support is often helpful if you plan to apply for SSDI or SSI, especially if the SSA denies your claim.

My Social Security claim came back denied. What can I do?

If you are unable to work due to a medical condition, you likely have grave concerns about your ability to buy the things you need, provide for your family and pay for the support you need. This is why it could be very important for you to secure Social Security disability benefits.

The intent of either type of Social Security disability is to provide financial support for people who cannot hold gainful employment in California either due to a physical or mental condition. Even with a valid medical need, however, it can still be difficult for deserving individuals to get essential support. If your disability benefits claim came back denied, you are not out of options.

Special estate planning tools for special needs loved ones

You know that every California family could benefit from a strong, thoughtful estate plan. Everyone needs an estate plan, but not every estate plan is the same. In fact, it is possible to draft a plan that uniquely suits the needs of your unique family. If you have a special needs family member who requires care today or who will in the future, you may benefit from adjusting your estate plan to include these considerations.

A special needs trust could be a beneficial way for you ensure the care of your loved one in the future. Even long after you are gone, you can provide continued care, housing and money for other needs for a family member who cannot care for or provide for him or herself.

A special needs trust may be a solution for your family

There is no way to know for sure what will happen in the future, but California families can take certain steps to ensure that there are protections in place for every member of the family. Estate planning is a smart way to decide what will happen to your estate after you pass away, but there are certain estate planning tools that can also help you meet specific goals.

If you are caring for a special needs child, or a person who cannot currently care for themselves or will not be able to do so in the future, you may consider establishing a special needs trust. This step can allow you to set aside money for a special needs individual, and it could be a beneficial addition to an existing estate plan. 

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