Santa Barbara Estate Planning and Elder Law: How to Prepare for an Unexpected Disability

As a Santa Barbara will and trust attorney, I often see the results of what happens when someone does not plan for the possibility of an unexpected disability. Most people come to our office ready to plan for their retirement or how they would like to see their estates managed after they have passed away. However, many of them never consider what will become of those dreams should disability be in their futures.

A major disability can drain a family. The emotional repercussions are certainly difficult, but when the financial burden becomes a problem, a family is often thrown into total distress. These two factors can create a self-perpetuating cycle where financial difficulty feeds the emotional strains and vice versa. Planning for the possibility of disability will not necessarily prevent an unexpected illness or injury, but it will aid in dealing with the fallout should it happen.

To help you prepare, your attorney may suggest purchasing disability insurance. This can be very beneficial in preventing some of the cycle mentioned above. There are many different benefits and types of policies, and your attorney can help you determine what is right for you.

In choosing your policy, there are several things you will want to consider, including:

  • Medical costs
  • Loss of income
  • Monthly expenses
  • Caregiver’s expenses
  • Modifications to your home
  • Transportation

These are just a few of the topics that your Santa Barbara will and trust lawyer will discuss with you to make sure that you buy a policy that fits your needs.

Preparing for a potential disability is not limited to financial issues, either. There are other very important decisions that you may want to make in advance. For example, do you have an Advance Healthcare Directive in place? This document gives the person of your choice the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. This could become extremely important if you are either physically or mentally incapacitated and cannot make decisions on your own. An Advance Healthcare Directive is a fairly in-depth document that also allows you to record your wishes regarding a variety of medical interventions, as well as end-of-life choices. Having an Advance Healthcare Directive available can take a considerable burden off of your family and caregivers who may be in shock or simply unsure of what your wishes would have been in a given situation.

Will and trust lawyers in Santa Barbara do their best to help clients prepare for all kinds of situations. Putting some thought, effort, and possibly money into planning for an unexpected disability is a thoughtful and smart investment. If you would like more information about planning for disability or you are ready to get started, please feel free to call our office at (805) 946-1550 and ask to schedule a consultation.

Author Bio

Julianna Malis is the Founder and Managing Partner of Santa Barbara Estate Planning & Elder Law, a Santa Barbara estate planning law firm she founded in 2014. With more than 25 years of experience practicing law, she has dedicated her career to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including estate planning, elder law, Medicaid and Medicare planning, probate, and other estate planning areas.

Julianna received her Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific — McGeorge School of Law and is a member of the California State Bar Association.

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