What Is Your Gut Telling You?

By Elder Lawyer Rick Law.  Managing Partner at the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law.  Senior Advocates in Western Chicagoland in Aurora, Illinois just off of the Farnsworth exit of the I-88 tollway.

One of the key practices of an elder law lawyer is to bring in clinical professionals when their “gut” tells them something is not quite right with a client. Many people think they understand dementia, but often we really need a clinical assessment.

It is not unusual for clients with dementia to fool their family into thinking they have capacity because they can be socially appropriate. They can work their way through a situation and look totally normal, but if a lawyer asks the right questions and they don’t have the mental flexibility to answer them perfectly, then a bona fide doubt exists.

The best lawyers utilize all available resources to totally understand their client and the type of problem that may be affecting their client.

When stating the reasons a guardian is needed for a person with disabilities, the petitioner needs to be sure that the allegations as stated on the petition conform to the statutory definition of a “disabled person” (i.e., mental deterioration, physical incapacity, mental illness, or development disability that renders a person incapable of making personal or financial decisions).

There are several definitions of “disability” and lawyers need to know how their state defines the term. For example, a severe loss in memory—brought on by Alzheimer’s— can support a finding that an individual is disabled and unable to manage personal affairs in many states. In Illinois, “disability” is defined as a person’s inability to manage one’s person or estate due to “mental deterioration or physical incapacity.”

In most states, an individual may be judged to have a disability by a court after a competency hearing. If the individual is determined to be disabled in Illinois, the court will appoint a guardian to promote the well-being of the disabled individual, to protect the individual, and to “encourage development of his maximum self-reliance and independence.”

If your loved one has memory problems and you’re afraid of the consequences that may bring, give our office a call today at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.


Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!

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