Recently, there was a case in the news of a Brooks Astor, a New york city socialite, who is now 104 years of ages. Her grandson remains in a heated fight to remove his daddy as Mrs. Astor’s caregiver. In court papers that were filed, the grandson accused his dad of ignoring Mrs. Astor’s health and individual requirements and asked for a pal of Mrs. Astor’s be selected as her guardian.
While we may not all remain in Mrs. Astor’s social or economic position, senior custody battles are being moved by a variety of market shifts. As the population ages and more individuals live longer, more elders are likely to eventually lose their psychological or physical capability, leaving choices over their financial resources and personal care to others. With divorce and 2nd and third marriages resulting in tension amongst children and stepfamilies, there is even more stress over the care of aging family members. The ensuing custody battles are driven many times by long-standing family rifts and the desire to control the family assets.
Today lots of family members live far away from each other, making it more tough to monitor the condition and care of elderly relatives. In some cases member of the family are not even knowledgeable about the requirements of the elderly relatives or the current condition of their care. For all of these factors, it is essential to have senior citizens take proactive actions ahead of time to decrease the possibilities of guardianship proceedings or custody battles later.
In Illinois, a person who is of sound mind and memory might designate a person or a bank trust business to act as a guardian (and may designate follower guardians) on the occasion that she or he is discovered to be a disabled person by the courts in Illinois. The classification needs to be in a composed document and signed in the exact same manner as a will. The court will identify if the visit of the designated guardian will be in the very best interests of the person at the time the court determines that the individual is thought about handicapped under the law. A person is thought about disabled under the law if that person, because of mental degeneration or physical inability is not able to manage his personal or monetary needs.
There are several other steps that a senior ought to think about taking. First, the senior should have a current monetary power of attorney in which the senior designates a reliable representative, often a partner, another member of the family, or an advisor, to make financial choices if the senior ends up being unable to make them. The senior need to also think about the usage of a living trust. The senior transfers the title to all of their properties into that trust. The senior manages the trust up until the senior is no longer able to do so, and is then been successful by a follower trustee designated by them in their trust file. In case the senior is again able to handle his monetary affairs, the senior can once again control and manage the trust.
The use of the financial power of attorney and living trusts which hold the title to all of the assets might preclude an intense family fight later. In many scenarios, there will not be any requirement for a court designated guardian. Instead, the trustee that was appointed by the disabled senior deals with all of the monetary matters for the disabled senior and the representative selected by the financial power of attorney deals with monetary and other items that are not owned by the trust. In that case, all of the decisions have already been made by the senior before she or he is unable to do so.
Currently, couple of people plan ahead. The survey done by AARP in 2003 which examined 1,500 individuals age 45 and older found that only 27 percent had actually produced a financial power of attorney file. So, if you don’t wish to resemble Mrs. Astor as a pawn in a custody battle, you had much better plan ahead!