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Boston Area Elder Law Blog

How long can an estate be stuck in the probate courts?

As with all legal matters, readers should be aware that their individual probate timelines may be very different from those of others who also must go through the process. As every Massachusetts resident will pass on with a unique estate, the individual characteristics of their property, assets, and wealth will influence if their probate process is lengthy or brief. Therefore, this post is offered as information only and not legal guidance on any individual probate situation.

In the first few months after a decedent passes on, their will may be validated and their administrator located. The estate may then be subject to a probate hearing, which will address issues with the estate and may include the identification of creditors. During the first year of the probate process, items of property identified by the decedent may be located so that they may later be distributed to beneficiaries.

There are many reasons to have an estate plan

Estate planning is an often overlooked area of responsibility for many Massachusetts residents. While some individuals may not believe that they have enough money to justify creating estate plans, others may worry about getting their plans right and not offending any of their family members with their decisions. Despite their concerns, pretty much anyone can benefit from having a basic estate plan in place.

One reason is because an estate plan is not just a set of rules for what to do when someone passes on. In fact, certain estate planning documents can be vitally important to ensuring the care and financial management of a person who may become incapacitated. In an estate plan a person may appoint individuals to manage their affairs and make medical decisions for them in the event that they are not able to do so.

Organization is key to applying for MassHealth

There is no secret that health care costs in the United States are astronomical. Any Massachusetts resident who has had to visit an emergency room or undergo an unexpected medical procedure can attest to the exorbitant costs that may appear on their bills once they are home and recuperating. Though individuals with health insurance may see those balances negotiated down by their providers, people who have limited or no health care coverage can be left with significant and burdensome debts.

MassHealth is an important form of government-based assistance for individuals who require long-term support and care. The costs of providing for someone with a medical condition or who has reached an advanced age are incredibly high, and MassHealth can help those in need cover those necessary and important expenses. In order to apply for MassHealth benefits, individuals must pull together extensive documentation.

What legal issues can complicate the end of a person's life?

For most individuals, growing old is a blessing. As they age they are able to witness their kids and grandchildren grow and find their own successes. Many are able to bestow upon their loved ones gifts to make their lives easier and more enjoyable.

Massachusetts residents who are lucky enough to reach old age may wish to protect their financial health and legal rights by addressing some of the issues that can complicate their remaining years.

A review of guardianship for elderly adults

Establishing a person as the guardian of another individual is a complicated legal process. Many readers of this Massachusetts legal blog may be familiar with situations where courts grant adults guardianship rights over children who are in need of care. What they may not know is that in some situations guardians must be appointed for adults, particularly those who are aging and unable to take care of themselves.

Adult guardianship may be necessary when a person cannot attend to their own needs. It is a sad reality for some aging individuals that living alone and maintaining their own needs are too much for them. When a person cannot manage their own health care needs, provide themselves with basic hygiene practices, or attend to other significant daily requirements they may need a guardian to help them.

Legal support for aging adults

Anyone who has had children or who has spent time with youths will be able to tell you just how fast their needs and requirements change. While an infant may need 24-hour care, support with eating and sleeping, and other significant types of help, a 7-year-old may be able to bathe themselves, eat their own meals, and conduct themselves responsibly while they are out of their home at school. What a child needs from its parents and caretakers will diminish significantly as the get older.

However, it is a sad truth that the opposite can happen as men and women move into their later lives. Particularly when illnesses and injuries affect the cognitive and physical well-being of older adults, those individuals begin to feel as though they need more help to manage their affairs. Individuals who want to ensure that they are making good decisions about their futures and are protecting their loved ones in the process may want to discuss their concerns with elder law attorneys in their communities.

The benefits of a health-care proxy in an estate plan

No one wants to think about a future where they cannot make important decisions for themselves. Whether they are unavailable due to illness, injury, or death, a person who does not have control over their own prospects may have concerns over how their wishes for the future will be respected.

In Massachusetts, individuals can take some of their concerns out of the picture by creating strong, sound estate plans.

How will I ever pay for nursing home care?

There is one constant across almost all nursing homes: they are expensive. Whether you are looking into nursing home care for yourself or are concerned for a loved one, the cost of quality care can leave a lot of uncertainty toward a person’s future. Don’t hamstring your search for care too early, though. There are options for those in need.

Massachusetts offers several programs and benefits for qualifying elders. It can mean financial support to cover nursing home residency and other vital types of care. Consider the following if you or a loved one are considering the nursing home option.

What do I do if my MassHealth application is denied?

Healthcare is expensive, and securing health insurance to pay for medical visits, prescriptions, and emergencies is not possible for all Massachusetts residents.

While some individuals are able to get health insurance for themselves and their family members through their jobs, this option is not available to every person who lives in the state. For those with low incomes and those who are in need, MassHealth can help.

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