Putting Off Getting A Will till You Fly? Think Again!

 

One of the biggest things that motivates people to our law firm to engage in estate planning or updating their wills is when they go on an airplane trip. The thoughts to traveling high in the air in a large aircraft scares people into executing wills and powers of attorney. The perception is that flying is very dangerous. However, human perception is sometimes not based in reality.

 

What is your probability of dying in a commercial airplane crash? According to statistics, you have a one in 3.5 million chance of being involved in a commercial airplane crash where at least one person dies (not necessarily you).

 

In comparison, statistics show that you have a one in 100,000 chance of dying in an automobile accident. That’s right. You are at least 35 times more likely to die riding in a car accident today than if you got on a commercial aircraft.

 

So, what is the moral of the story? Instead of waiting to estate plan when you are taking a trip on a plane, you should be much more worried about estate planning today if you are riding in a car. One should not put off estate planning or the execution of powers of attorney. Our health and/or capacity is not guaranteed. Plan today!

 

If you have any questions about wills, estate planning or powers of attorney, contact an experienced estate planning attorney.

 

Kent S. DeJean

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What Is A Living Will?

A living will is probably the most misnamed legal document.It has nothing to do with “living” and it’s not a “will”.

To put it bluntly, it is a directive to be allowed to die. A person that signs a living will is declaring that they be allowed to die if certain facts are present.  In Louisiana, euthanasia is illegal. Certain elements have to all be met before a living will becomes effective.  The required elements are as follows:

  1. The person must have an incurable injury, disease or illness
  2. This injury, disease or illness must be certified to be a terminal and irreversible condition by two (2) physicians (one of whom is the treating physician of that person) who have personally examined the person

 

  1. The physicians must determine that my death will occur whether or not life-sustaining procedures are utilized; and

 

  1. The application of life-sustaining procedures would serve only to prolong the dying process artificially

If all of these elements are met, the person may direct that all life-sustaining procedures be withheld or withdrawn. The person can also express a directive as to whether to allow food and water to be administered invasively if all the above elements are met.

The most common example of where all these required elements are met is if a person is in an incurable coma and whose life is being artificially prolonged by the use of a respirator.

A person interested in executing a living will, powers of attorney and a will, should consult an experienced estate planning attorney.

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Health Care Directives

A Health Care Directive is a legal document where a person can express whether they want or don’t want to try medical treatment in certain specific medical situations. These documents can be very lengthy and can cover wide ranges in hypothetical medical situations. It can take a long period of time to complete these lengthy documents.

This document is very important because it does two very important things:

  1. It allows the person who executes this document to remain in control of their medical treatment even though they become incapacitated. By expressing their preferences, family members or friends know what the person wanted and didn’t want in medical treatment.
  2. It removes very difficult medical decisions for family members and friends to have to make. Medical decisions can be very difficult because they have to be made during very difficult emotional times. By executing a Health Care Directive, the decisions are made for the family members and friends. This makes it easier for family members and friends during this difficult time.

 

A person interested in executing a Health Care Directive as well as powers of attorney, living wills and wills should contact an experienced estate planning attorney.

Can I Discharge My Student Loan in Bankruptcy?

The general answer is no. Student loans are not automatically discharged in bankruptcy. In fact, they are exempt from discharge.

In order to discharge the student loan, a debtor must file a special lawsuit called an adversarial proceeding to prove that the student loan poses an “undue hardship”. This is a very difficult burden to prove since the debtor must show that not only the debtor cannot pay the loan payments now but, that they will be unable to pay them in the future as well. Because of the high burden, discharges on student loans are limited to persons with health or disability issues.

If you have a question concerning bankruptcy, you should contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

 

Kent S. DeJean

 

 

2018 Veterans Benefits

Monthly Pension Rates

 Single Veteran

Basic Improved Pension:                                          $1,097

Housebound:                                                             $1,340

Aid & Attendance:                                                     $1,830

Standard 5% VA UME Deduction:                           $54.92

Married Veteran

Basic Improved Pension:                                          $1,436

Housebound:                                                             $1,680

Aid & Attendance:                                                     $2,169

Standard 5% VA UME Deduction:                           $71.92

Surviving Spouse

Basic Improved Pension:                                          $735

Housebound:                                                             $899

Aid & Attendance:                                                     $1,176

Standard 5% VA UME Deduction:                           $36.83

Veteran Married to Veteran

Basic Improved Pension:                                          $1,436

One Housebound:                                                     $1,680

Two Housebound:                                                    $1,923

One Aid & Attendance                                               $2,169

One Housebound and One Aid& Attendance          $2,412

Both Aid & Attendance:                                            $2,903

 

New Medicaid Numbers

 

Community Spouse Resource Allowance $123,600
Resource Allowance for an Individual $2,000
Resource Allowance for a Couple
(Both husband and wife in a nursing home)
$3,000
Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance $3,090.00
Monthly Personal Needs Allowance $38
Divestment Penalty Divisor $4,000
Maximum Home Exclusion $572,000

 

Wills Are Not Secrets!

One of the popular public myths is that wills are a big secret. From a practical stand point, this is not entirely accurate.

The fact that you have a will should not be a secret.

What is contained in the will can be a secret.

You should be very public about the fact that you have a will and where the will is located to those persons, who are named in the will.

You can be so secretive to the point that no one can find it. That defeats the whole purpose of having a will.

If you have any questions about wills, you should consult an experienced estate planning attorney. Kent S. DeJean

FREE SENIOR ALERT

 

 

 

ON

MARCH 28, 2018

AT

WYNDHAM GARDEN

5600 Bluebonnet Blvd.

Baton Rouge, LA

9:30am, 12:00pm, and 4pm

Refreshments served

 

 

 

CALL NOW TO GET YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW   225-892-9702

 

THIS FREE TALK IS A MUST IF YOU:

Þ Are a child who is beginning to worry about your parent’s health and the possibility that you may end up taking care of them.

Þ Do not have a long term care plan and you think that you have sufficient income to pay for long term care.

Þ Are already in need of long term care.

Þ Are eligible for Veteran’s benefits that may provide up to $2,126.00 per month Tax Free.

AT THIS FREE TALK YOU WILL DISCOVER:

Þ How the new tax law will impact your retirement.

Þ How to protect your home, income, and savings from the government.

Þ How to avoid probate

Þ Why a revocable living trust is a Medicaid disaster.

Þ How to increase your Social Security and Retirement income.

Form Requirements for Mandates (Powers of Attorney) In Louisiana

In Louisiana, a power of attorney is called a “mandate”. Mandates must be in writing. Verbal mandates are not recognized. So, you can’t just tell someone else that you want them to act as your agent over your person or over your property.

It must also be in authentic form. Authentic form means that it must be signed in front of a notary public and two witnesses.

The notary must be qualified to notarize documents in the state and parish where the mandate is executed.  The witnesses must be competent (over the age of eighteen and not be interdicted). The notary cannot serve also as a witness. Also, persons named in the document (principal and agent) cannot serve as witnesses or the notary.

It is very important that a mandate be executed in proper form to ensure that is legal and valid. Otherwise, it is not required to be recognized by third parties. In an effort to save attorney’s fees and costs, many people try to “do it yourself” in signing online powers of attorneys, forms written by the person themselves or forms provided to them by other people.

Persons should take caution in trying to execute their own powers of attorney. There is an old saying “you get what you pay for”.  Errors as to form can ultimately costs that person’s estate considerable fees and expense if the home-made mandate is not legal or unclear.

If you have any questions, you should consult an experienced estate planning attorney.

 

Kent S. DeJean

Who Will Make the Decision Whether I Die If I Have No Living Will?

Living wills are important legal documents. A living will gives the person signing it, the power to stop any life sustaining procedure if that person has an incurable non-treatable illness or disease in which the life sustaining procedure only artificially prolongs life.  Two doctors (one of whom is the treating doctor) must certify that all of the above elements or met.

In the event that a person doesn’t have a living will, the decision to allow the person to die under the above circumstances will be left to other person family members if the person dying loses capacity.

The following is the descending order of classes of persons that will make decisions concerning the patient’s death if there is no living will.

First, A person designated by the patient to make the decision in a written document.

Secondly, the patient’s court appointed tutor or curator;

Thirdly, the patient’s spouse not legally separated;

Next, the patient’s children;

Next, the patient’s parents; and

Next, the patient’s siblings; and finally,

The patient’s other ascendants or descendants.

It is important to remember that if there is any one in a class, the decision is made by person(s) in that class. If there are no person(s) in that higher class, the decision is made by the next class and so forth and so on.

It is also important to known that the decision making is not democratic. If any person in the class objects to the artificial technology being removed, it will not be removed to allow the patient to die.

If you have any questions about living wills, you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Kent S. DeJean