A living will, or health care directive, is a document that allows you to proactively set forth specific conditions for withholding certain life support measures in the event you become incapacitated or suffer from a terminal illness. This document allows you to make specific health care decisions in advance as opposed to having a court decide them for you.
A living trust allows you to move assets from your own name into a named trust and potentially avoid probate if the trust is drafted and funded properly. You can name yourself or another individual as a trustee. Your assets would then be distributed pursuant to the instructions of your trust. There are generally two types of trusts, a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust. With a revocable trust, you can change and amend the trust anytime you wish. On the contrary, with an irrevocable trust, you would have to name another person as the trustee and, in most situations, your initial directives or instructions remain in effect and cannot be changed. Irrevocable trusts are commonly used for life insurance, medicaid planning and other sophisticated estate plans.
Contact Baer Law today for more information on living wills and living trusts.
A living will is a legal document that tells health care professionals what medical treatment you would like to receive, or not receive, should you become too ill to make decisions. A living will comes into effect when you are terminally ill, in an irreversible coma or persistent vegetative state, or deemed incompetent.
By executing a living will, you elect to have certain measures taken or withheld. Generally, living wills address the issues of life support or resuscitation. Other key issues addressed may include: (1) when to start or not start tube feeding or other forms of artificial nutrition and hydration, (2) blood transfusions, (3) cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), (4) kidney dialysis or (3) medications use.
You living will can be canceled or changed at any time by destroying it, signing a statement that states you no longer want it, or preparing a new one. However, if you cancel or update your living will, you should also inform anyone who has an old copy that it has been changed or canceled.
May is National Elder Law Month and to celebrate, Baer Law is offering FREE initial consultations all month to Seniors on a first come, first serve basis. Call 720-222-1276 today.
At these FREE consultations, John Paul Baer will personally review your current estate planning documents, ensure your Colorado Advance Directives are up-to-date, and talk to you about the importance of long term care planning.
Contact Baer Law today to schedule a FREE consultation.
- Approximately 50% of Americans do not have a will.
- An estimated 40% of Baby Boomers do not have a will.
- An estimated 65-70% of adults under the age of 35 do not have a will.
Most individuals avoid preparing a will because:
- They don’t think they need a will;
- They fear that preparing a will is too expensive and/or complicated;
- They dislike talking about their own mortality and death; or
- They simply procrastinate.
However, everyone needs to understand that without a will, courts may be forced to intervene and decide how to distribute your assets and belongs or who will ultimately be responsible for raising your minor children, if applicable.
In all likelihood, the initial investment you make today will help to ensure your last wishes are sufficiently addressed and carried out. Save your family considerable amounts of time, money and stress by proactively documenting your wishes in a will.
All in all, having a will allows others to properly address your wishes after your passing, ensures that your wishes are carried out correctly, and, ideally, removes the court from making critical decisions as to how your assets are distributed or who raises your children.
Contact Baer Law today to discuss estate planning and wills.
Advance medical directives or advance health care directives are written instructions regarding your medical care preferences.
Your advance medical directive can be general and provide very few directions about your medical care preferences, or your advance medical directive can be a very detailed and specific document that clearly outlines the types of treatment(s) you would accept or refuse.
Advance medical directives are typically broken into five categories:
1. Living Wills;
3. CPR Orders / Do Not Resuscitate Orders;
4. Disposition of Last Remains; and
5. Organ and Tissue Donation Declarations.
By creating and signing an advance medical directive, you are ensuring that your beliefs regarding your health care decisions will be carried out if you are unable to communicate them.
Failure to execute an advance medical directive or appoint a medical power of attorney, or agent, means that your loved ones may have to go to court and pursue a guardianship, in the event you are incapacitated or unable to communicate your wishes, so they can obtain the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf.
A Medical Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to select a trusted person, or agent, to oversee your medical care and to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unconscious, mentally incompetent or otherwise unable to make such decisions.
A Medical Durable Power of Attorney can be as simple or as complex as you wish. However, at a minimum, the agent must be an adult (in Colorado: 18 years of age or older).
It is also advisable to name an alternate or successor agent in the event that your primary agent is deceased, unable or unwilling to act as your agent.
Did you know that one in five Medicare patients is readmitted within thirty days of a hospital discharge?
Two key factors contributing to patients being readmitted are patient failure to fill prescriptions post hospital discharge and medication misadventures resulting from patients being unprepared to manage the medications at home.
Historically, there has been very little integration between the hospital discharge process and the prescription being filled at an outpatient pharmacy. Generally, when a patient is discharged from the hospital, the patient is expected to go to a pharmacy, present a prescription if one has not yet been submitted, and then wait. If the wait times are too long or if the patient’s prescriptions are not ready, there is a strong chance that the prescription will not be picked up. Not filling or picking up prescriptions often leads to significant complications and hospital readmissions.
Today, outpatient pharmacies and hospitals are focused on combining their pharmacy management technologies to improve patient compliance, reduce medication errors, and to ensure patients are thoroughly educated on all their medications prior to hospital discharge.
Medication Therapy Management (MTM) programs between hospitals and outpatient pharmacies are being tested where outpatient pharmacists personally deliver filled prescriptions to discharging patients and then perform a thorough, personalized discharge medication reconciliation.
The new MTM programs are taking outpatient pharmacists beyond the counter and giving the outpatient pharmacists more time to concentrate on improving patient care. The MTM results continue to show improved patient compliance, lower medication misadventure rates, and decreased hospital readmissions resulting in significant hospital savings, but most important: improved patient safety.
In estate planning, choosing a trustee is one of the most important decisions you will make and should require much thought and consideration. Generally, your trustee handles your estate if you become disabled, incapacitated or after you die.
Trusts can be complex and trustee responsibilities, which commonly include routine administrative duties, investment decisions, tax filings and the distribution of assets to beneficiaries, can be quite time consuming and overwhelming for even the most knowledgeable person.
Therefore, you should strongly consider choosing a trustee that is honest, trustworthy responsible, reasonable, practical and very organized.
Common sense and good business judgment are also important trustee traits since your trustee will likely be dealing with insurance issues, selling assets, distributing funds, and other financial matters. Thus, simply choosing your trustee solely on the basis of friendship is not recommended.
Ideally, your trustee should live nearby, but this should be addressed on a case by case basis.
Remember, your trustee does not need to be an expert in all financial, tax and legal matters, but he or she must know when to seek the expert advice from financial advisors, accountants, attorneys or other professionals when complex issues arise.
That being said, choosing the most qualified and well-rounded trustee to effectively and efficiently manage your estate should be your primary goal.
Medication related problems and medication mismanagement result in an estimated 1.5 million preventable adverse events each year.
Pharmacists, the medication experts, are uniquely positioned to proactively identify the potential medication related problems, mismanagement issues and medication errors through their involvement in medication therapy management (MTM) programs.
MTM describes the broad range of health care services provided by pharmacists. These services include medication therapy reviews, pharmacotherapy consults, anticoagulation management, immunizations and many other health and wellness programs and clinical services.
All pharmacists actively monitoring patients under MTM programs strive to identify, address and resolve medication therapy problems by working directly with the patient, their physician (or physicians) and other healthcare providers. This generally includes, but is not limited to, extensive medication therapy review, the creation of a medication action plan and the possible addition, elimination or switching of medications. Exploring the financial benefits of using generic medications is common. Documentation and follow-up are also key components of a successful MTM program.
Ultimately, pharmacists want to ensure that the patient is taking the correct medication(s) for his or her health condition(s). This, in turn, ensures the best possible patient outcomes.
Patients that can potentially benefit the most from MTM include:
- Patient with multiple medications required for multiple disease states (i.e. diabetes, asthma, heart disease, etc);
- Patients seeking to address medication costs;
- Patients who have recently changed medications.
While MTM may not be covered by all insurance plans, the benefits of obtaining the services of an accessible, knowledgeable and qualified pharmacist are well documented, especially when it comes to improving patient outcomes and reducing health care related costs.
The National Firearms Act (NFA) was designed to govern the transfer of permissible weapons, to regulate possession of certain weapons, and to bar certain individuals from possessing any firearms.
A typical estate plan provides for beneficiary designation of assets, probate avoidance and tax saving strategies. Unfortunately, since most traditional estate plans do not adequately address the NFA regulations or other strict federal and state gun laws, many executors, trustees and heirs may be unknowingly possessing or transferring firearms. If done improperly, a seemingly innocent transfer of a firearm could result in hefty fines up to $250,000 and/or significant criminal penalties of up to 10 years in prison.
Therefore, individuals and families wishing to proactively address ownership, transfer and possession of firearms, should strongly consider having an attorney assist them in drafting a gun trust.
A gun trust is a special purpose revocable living trust to hold only firearms. Ideally, a gun trust will specifically address the issues of acquiring, managing and transferring firearms while also protecting beneficiaries, trustees, heirs and executors from violating federal and state laws. Having a gun trust will help to ensure you and your heirs do not end up inadvertently committing a serious crime.
By establishing a gun trust and transferring firearms into the trust, the trust becomes the legal owner of the firearms. You, as trustee, retain ownership and control of your firearms collection during your lifetime while providing for the disposition of your firearms to your intended beneficiaries.
Proactively plan ahead and tailor your gun trust to comply with the National Firearms Act as well as other state and local firearm laws.
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