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Texas care planning: What is a DNH order?

Most people really do not like to give a lot of thought to how, when and where they want to die. Unfortunately, at some point, this is something for which one may want to prepare. When going through their care planning efforts, Texas residents who do no want to spend their last days in a hospital room may want to consider DNH orders.

A health care institute attached to a leading university issued a report noting that those who reside near teaching or more advanced hospitals are more likely to spends their last days admitted as a patient. This means spending one's final days being subjected to tests and procedures. Some people may not feel that they have other options, but that is simply not true.

POA, living will or both?

Getting a full estate plan together can take quite a bit of work. A lot of that has to do with figuring out what really needs to be included. For example, does one need a power of attorney, living will or both? Some Texas residents may not really know what the difference is between these documents to really make an informed decision.

A POA and a living actually serve two very different functions. A power of attorney gives an assigned individual the right to make decisions on one's behalf in the event of incapacitation. There are POAs for health care and for finances. The same person does not need to be named on both. If desired, it is possible to split the responsibilities among a few people so that it all does not fall on one person's shoulders.

Medicaid planning is not so simple

No one wants to end up in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, but it happens. When it does, figuring out how to pay for it can be a bit of a nightmare. Many people in Texas and elsewhere end up turning to Medicaid in order to pay their living and care costs. This is something for which they can plan, but Medicaid planning is not all that simple when the government is weighing what to do with the program.

As it currently stands, approximately one in three people who are 65 or older end up living in a nursing home or other care facility. That is a pretty significant number. Of those, approximately 62 percent are unable to pay for their care and living costs without help.

Care planning for assisted living

No one wants to give up the freedom and comforts of living in his or her own home. Unfortunately, with age or illness sometimes comes the need for a little assistance. Not everyone can afford private home care, so moving into an assisted living community may be the answer. Care planning for assisted living is good to arrange long before Texas residents need it.

Knowing when it is time to consider assisted living can be difficult. One may feel that he or she is doing fine at home, but family members may disagree. Some signs that it is time to consider assisted living include:

  • Being prone to falling
  • Not eating
  • Home and yard maintenance is lacking
  • Not remembering to take medications
  • Bills are overdue
  • One is isolated
  • One's overall life is limited due to physical or mental limitations

Why would a young adult prepare a will?

Wills are for older adults, right? Wrong. They are actually for anyone of legal age. But, why would any young adult in Texas or elsewhere want to take time to prepare a will?

When one is young and has more debts than assets, one may not feel that having a will is necessary or one may simply not want to think about his or her own mortality. At the end of the day, though, no one can escape death. It happens to everyone, and no one knows when it will come. It is a sad reality that many young adults lose their lives in accidents and to illness. When they do, without a will in place, who will decide what to do with their estates?

Don't start the probate administration process empty handed

Making sure that an estate is properly closed out is a burden placed on the assigned executor. It may not seem like a difficult task at first, but things can get overwhelming pretty fast. One way to make probate administration go over smoothly is to go in prepared. This means having all the necessary documentation in hand and ready to go for when the case is opened in a Texas probate court.

Taking inventory is simply an important part of an executor's job. Why? It helps him or her prepare for any issues that might arise during the administration process and ensures that all assets are on the table for distribution to beneficiaries. Without taking inventory of an estate, beneficiaries may end up receiving less than intended, and the executor can be held financially liable if that happens.

Appointing guardianship of one's minor children

Preparing for one's own death or possible incapacitation can be a challenging thing. However, for parents in Texas who have minor children to consider, it is something that really should not be overlooked. After all, wouldn't one rather have a say about who will care for one's children in the event that he or she cannot? As part of the estate planning process, guardianship of one's minor children can be specified, ensuring that the kids are cared for by the person best suited for the task.

What is a guardian? Who can be a guardian and how does a guardianship end? These are all great questions that some might have that need to be answered before they can make such a significant decision.

Even if one has no children, a will is good to have

Texas residents who have worked hard throughout their lives and built up their assets may not know what to do with them in the event of their deaths if they do not have children. As many people forgo having children as a personal choice or simply lack the chance to have kids, this is a problem that plagues quite a few individuals. The truth is, though, even if one does not have children or other family to whom one wishes to pass on his or her estate, a will is still a good thing to have.

What happens to one's estate if a will or other estate planning documents have not been prepared? This is called dying intestate. In such cases, a probate judge will get to decide what happens to one's estate. Not really an ideal situation, though it happens quite a bit, approximately 64 percent of Americans lack any sort of estate plan.

Medicaid planning a must in order to protect one's assets

Long-term care planning is something that many people in Texas and elsewhere fail to complete. At the end of the day, this only hurts them and their loved ones in the long run. Why? Long-term care is ridiculously expensive, and many people will require Medicaid in order to pay for it. However, without proper Medicaid planning, one may not qualify, and one's assets may be put in jeopardy.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that a 65-year-old person has nearly a 70 percent chance of needing the services of a long-term care provider. Approximately 35 percent of older adults will require care in a skilled nursing facility. The cost of such care is difficult for most people to afford, and a large part of the population does not have insurance that covers long-term care.

There is more to creating a trust than just the writing it

Texas residents who want to write trusts can seek assistance from an estate planning attorney in order to get the document completed. Is that where it ends, though? Does just putting everything down on paper really get the job done? No, there is more to creating a trust than just the writing of it.

There are many benefits to trusts. They can offer tax and legal protections not offered in other estate planning documents. However, if one does not fund a trust, the trust document is pretty much worthless.

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