Wednesday, 12 June 2013 10:32
I often get calls from individuals who request an immediate appointment for an elderly loved one or friend who is mentally slipping away because of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. They want to help the elderly person complete or make changes to his or her estate plan before it's too late. I always feel sad for having to deliver the bad news: unfortunately, by the time the signs of mental instability are noticed, it might already be too late for the loved one to be able to make any legal decisions concerning his or her estate.
Both dementia and Alzheimer's are progressive medical conditions. Both usually begin with minor memory losses and language problems. As the conditions progress, memory loss becomes severe and the sufferer becomes unable to understand documents, what he or she owns, and/or the identity of family members or other people they should know. Because the conditions are progressive, sufferers generally have "good days" and "bad days". On a good day, a person might have legal capacity to create or modify an estate plan. On a bad day, which could be the next calendar day, that same person might lack such capacity. In addition, different legal acts or decisions may have different legal capacity standards. A person might be competent to sign a deed but incompetent to make a will or trust. Capacity issues have to be handled on a case by case, transaction by transaction basis. An attorney does not have a legal duty to determine capacity; however, a good attorney will make an initial assessment and refuse to participate in legal transactions where it appears pretty clear that the person has diminished capacity. This is especially true if there has been a medical diagnosis of either dementia or Alzheimer's.
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 10:13
Three Things a Father Must Teach His Kids About Managing Their Money
As a father of five teenagers, it feels like all I do every day is teach my kids lessons. These lessons span a wide range of topics – from "how to treat others," to "being a team player," to "exude confidence not cockiness." It has taken me years to determine the most important lessons pertaining to personal money management, which is one of the most important skills they need to learn.
With all the issues facing teenagers today, why do I say this? Three reasons:
1. Schools teach them absolutely nothing about personal money management.
2. The example set by our society is to spend more than they make (in other words, debt is good).
3. It is one of the most important skills they need to take into adulthood.
It is imperative to set the right example for your children when it comes to money management. In my book, "Why Didn't They Teach Me This in School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By" (www.whydidntthey teachmethisinschool.com), I discuss these lessons in a simple, memorable manner.
Here is what I consider every dad's three "must teach" principles:
Always live below your means. If you want to manage your money successfully, this is one of the most important principles to follow. And, this is where most Americans have gone, and will continue to go, wrong. People want to have everything ... now. They just can't wait until they can afford it. But you must wait until you can afford something before you buy it. If you make a habit of purchasing things you can't afford, you will quickly begin a downward spiral that will continue until you go bankrupt. Plus, you'll enjoy your purchase all the more.
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