Nitsan Bar-Ilan Law Firm

Legal Assistance for the elderly

The importance of legal planning for the elderly

Property aspects: The purpose of planning ahead  is to allow you to make an informed transition from active productive life to less involved and more relaxed life, either by choice or as a result of a medical condition.

Physical aspect: Planning enables us to reduce the uncertainty of the manner and type of medical care that you choose to receive if, god forbid, you become incompetent to make these decisions concerning your health.

Preparing for a possible state of incapacity

A state of incapacity –Deterioration of mental health or physical incapacity can afect your ability of making rational decisions regarding your property or health and that is one of the main reaons for legal planning. Incapacity can be temporary or permanent, for a known or unknown period of time. In the absence or pre-planning, there will be no immediate and binding instructions as to the manner in which the incapacitated person’s property is handled or his health and other needs treated. When a person regain his or her ability, this person can discover that his property was mishandled or his health was treated in a diferent maner than his wishes, and that the decisions were made by people in a way he did not choose.

The making of medical decision in a state of incapacity

As for medical care, legal documents are available, allowing you to appoint a person of your choice to make decisions regarding the provision whether you choose a certain medical care or withholding it. Various provisions can be made for a state of incapacity arising from temporary incapacity, or provisions that come into effect only when an incurable medical condition is discovered, god forbid. Binding directives can be set in a separate document, without the involvement or discretion of any other person, regarding future medical care, or the withholding thereof. Such directives will be binding to the medical staff.

Such documents must be drafted having regard to the provisions of the Patient’s Rights Law, 1996 -and the Dying Law, 2005. It is important to know that not everyone is competent by law to be appointed as a representative under a power of attorney, and that some of the documents’ effective for period of only five years.

The handling and safekeeping of property can be arranged through various legal tools, such as a Trust and a ‘surviving’ power of attorney. These legal tools have many advantages when planning ahead. Trusts are a diverse and useful tool, allowing separation between ownership of property and the right to use it.

Advantages of creating a trust

The advantage of your choosen direction – property managed through a trust is handled in a flexible manner, compatible with the intentions of the creator of the trust. The terms of the trust can be kept confidential, and the beneficiaries have no vested right to inspect them.

The intergenerational advantage – preparing for the elder years, and for passing the reigns of the family business from the parents to the next generation. A trust allow a balancing of interests, and making arrangements for all family members.

Advantages and disadvantages of a power of attorney

  • Easy to implement
  • Inexpensive
  • Does not provide legal certainty
  • May expire just when it is needed

On property agreements and trusts

Therefore, through a trust, parents can protect property given to their by them to their children. The advantage of establishing a trust is that it does not depend on the son or daughter’s cooperation, and does not involve their spouses.

A will

Unlike the above listed legal tools, a will ensures that the property is transferred to the heirs only after the death of the testator, and the will only becomes effective upon his or her death. However, remember that the above listed planning tools need to be integrated into the will.

It is important to remember:

  • to draft legal documents in accordance with the law, and ensure that they are compatible.
  • to comprehensively check the legal situation at least once every four years.
  • to adjust provision, from time to time, according to changes in circumstances and wishes.
  • to consult with a profession experienced in the field, in order to ensure that the best arrangements are made for ourselves and for loved ones.