Elder Law Minute – Avoiding the Dangerous Gap When No One is in Charge

In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson discusses why planning ahead is better than risking a moment in time where no one is in charge of making crucial decisions in your loved one’s life.


Hi! I’m Wes Coulson from Coulson Elder Law, proudly serving clients throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area and beyond. I’d like to welcome you to our Elder Law and Estate Planning Minute. We do these to help educate people, give them some little tips, and especially to let them know the questions they need to ask, things that they’ve maybe not thought of. Our thought on that is that we can help you best if you realize the things that you need help and that we can help you with. So I hope you enjoy. Thanks!

Today, I want to talk about what I call avoiding the dangerous gap when no one is in charge. So, what do I mean by that? Well, there are two situations. First, if someone is alive and they have, what’s called, a springing power of attorney, in another video you’ll see I’m not a real fan of that, that’s a power of attorney that doesn’t become effective until the doctor has declared the person to be incompetent. So, if you have that, you also have a situation in which between the time that somebody really can’t be in charge of making their own decisions, and the time that you can get a doctor to give an opinion letter to that, doctors are busy people, you can have a situation where literally you have no one in charge.

That’s necessarily the situation if you don’t have a power of attorney in place and you have to go to court to get a guardianship. Because guardianship proceedings take some time to process. SImilarly, it’s a big advantage of having a living trust over a will. If you have a living trust, the trustee takes over immediately when the initial trustee can’t do it anymore. So, essentially if they’ve been in charge for their life, the day they die is when the new trustee takes over. Whereas, with a will, you have nobody in charge until you can get to a lawyer’s office, get the will filed with the court, and open a probate proceeding.

People have needs, bills need to be paid, a lot of stuff can go on during those times. Just because somebody has become disabled or died, it doesn’t stop life from going on and things from needing to be done. And so, that’s why we think it’s wise to do planning in a way that will avoid that dangerous gap when no one is in charge. Something that we would be happy and proud to help you with. Thanks!

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Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (877)995-6876 or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.