I recently spoke with a client who told me that his mother is in a nursing home, but mom and dad didn't do any prior planning. He and his family were convinced that dad was going to lose everything. I needed a few minutes to talk him off the ledge.
In Pennsylvania, even if a person does not have prior trust planning done, as long as they have capacity or have a power of attorney that grants the appropriate powers, we are still able to protect 100% of the assets for the spouse who is not in the nursing home. The son could not believe that that was a possibility. Fortunately, mom still had the ability to sign a power of attorney granting his father the ability to make decisions on her behalf.
This story could have gone horribly wrong if mom still did not have capacity and the ability to sign a new power of attorney. Many people have heard me say that I believe anyone over the age of 18 should have a financial power of attorney. Although powers of attorney are inexpensive, they can provide the ability to protect 100% of assets for a spouse. In the event that a person is unmarried or a widow or widower, we can still protect 50% of assets.
Of course, any time we deal with laws and interpretations, things can change, so I often remind people that they should plan now, so that they don't have to rely on a law still being in plan in the future.
I was very pleased that in this specific case we we're able to help this family even when they didn't think that help was a possibility. If you're looking for some answers to your family situation, estate planning and/or asset protection planning, join us for one of our upcoming workshops. Just click here to find out more.