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Helping heirs and beneficiaries avoid disputes over money

Many aging parents in Illinois rely on at least one of their adult children to act as primary or assistant care providers as they live out their golden years. Some wind up leaving their homes and taking up residence in nursing homes or other assisted living facilities. Sadly, it's not uncommon for heirs and beneficiaries to begin to fight over money they believe is meant for their inheritance but is instead being used to pay for living arrangements and care.

A woman who had been the primary caretaker of her parents tells how her siblings became upset when her parents went to live in a nursing home and their needs were provided for from their private funds, which the siblings assumed had initially been set aside for their inheritances. The woman says she tried to stress to her siblings that what was most important was that their parents had everything they needed and were financially able to provide for their own care. The siblings, however, were focused on the money no longer available to them rather than the beneficial way in which the money was being used.

Some siblings in similar situations try to prevent the sibling acting as a care provider and living assistant to parents from accessing monies the parents have on hand or available in assets. Parents who take steps ahead of time to execute solid estate plans may be able to avoid this type of problem. They can designate a son or daughter as manager of their finances.

Illinois parents can also use the estate planning process to specify how certain funds are to be used in the event they suffer health-related decline or incapacitation that creates medical expenses. An experienced estate planning and administration attorney can help prepare the appropriate documents and oversee their execution. The lawyer can help design a plan that fits the particular circumstances and meets a parent's objectives with respect to his or her heirs and beneficiaries.

Source:, "Dealing With Siblings Who Only Care About Inheritance", Carol Bradley Bursack, Accessed on Jan. 10, 2018

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