Article 70-Estate Planning Series: Is It Too Late?

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning, Long Term Care, Will

I met recently with a man who asked me if it was too late.  I could not give him the assurance he wanted.  His mother was a stroke survivor; and recently had a serious fall.  These are two of the most common reasons seniors need long term care, and both can occur in an instant.  Seniors make up almost two thirds of those hospitalized for a stroke.  Similarly, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for seniors. 

In this case, however, the issue was different.  His mother intended to change her will but hadn’t done it yet.  Her story was an incredible one, and there were apparently some significant changes that needed to be made. 

Unfortunately, her son was not sure if his mother still had the mental ability to change her will.  If she signed a new will, would it be valid?  Before I could answer that question, we had some work to do.  And the answer may not be what he was hoping for. 

Idaho law allows any person of “sound mind” to create a will.  The question, of course, is what constitutes a sound mind?  A person has a “sound mind” if that person understands the document to be signed is a will and the purpose of a will.  Additionally, he or she must understand, without prompting, the nature of the property he or she is giving, the people who will be receiving that property and his or her relation towards them.

We all know that circumstances can change in an instant.  The complications of life, such as failing health for us or a loved one, can occur at any time.   Once that happens, our options may be gone.  In this case, this mother may be passing on her estate to someone she no longer wants to receive it.  If you want to take control of your circumstances, act now and “plan when you can.”

© 2016 Steven J Wright  

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