Unless you’ve created a proper estate plan, when you’re gone, before any of your belongings are distributed, many of your assets must first pass through the court process known as probate. Like most court proceedings, probate can be time-consuming, costly, aggravating, and open to the public. Avoiding probate—and keeping your family out of court—should be a primary goal of most estate plans.

Giving up independence and being forced into a nursing home is one of the biggest fears elderly people have.  You may be somewhat relieved to know that as long as you have the ability to make your own medical decisions, no one can force you to go anywhere you don’t want to go. Your doctor or your nurse can’t force you.  Even a person who you appointed as your agent in your power of attorney (POA) can’t force you.  If your family is insisting that you go to a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, and you don’t want to, if you have the capacity to make the decision not to, no matter how poor that decision is, you have the right to remain home against everyone’s wishes.