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At the Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm, we specialize in estate planning and elder law but we care about all issues related to planning for the future and protecting your family. Accessibility, for instance, is one subject that weighs on our minds.
There’s no overstating the importance of accessibility in public infrastructure. If the government and state buildings, local parks, recreational centers, commercial businesses, and public transportation do not adhere to accessibility standards, these facilities fail to serve the public. Instead, they serve only a portion of the general population while leaving those with disabilities unable to use key infrastructure. In a nation where no one is exempt from funding public works projects by paying taxes, this is simply unfair.
Legislation exists that protects accessibility rights but often its implementation lags behind peoples’ needs. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990, prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public, myriad spaces continue to exist that do not respect accessibility rights. Airplane bathrooms are a notable example.
If you’ve flown anywhere recently, you probably remember the experience of trying to maneuver in a bathroom no bigger than your bedroom closet. A fully-grown adult with no mobility issues would need to train with Cirque du Soleil to comfortably turn around in an airplane lavatory and so you can only imagine what the experience must be like for a person with a disability. It is unthinkable to enter and move around in such a space with a wheelchair which means flying for thousands of adults is off the table.
All too often, laws designed to protect citizens’ well-being fall short of accounting for the diversity of individual needs. This is as true of accessibility legislation as it is of estate planning legislation.
Probate laws vary by state but all serve the common purpose of protecting your family and ensuring an individual’s estate is properly administered when they die. Should you pass without writing a will, your assets will be distributed according to state law. This is good insofar as it places a check on, say, a self-serving relative or dishonest advisor, but rarely if ever does probate law line up with an individual’s goals and wishes. Leaving it up to lawmakers to decide the fate of your life’s work is about as effective as trusting them to pass accessibility laws that meet every individual’s needs in every situation.
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to our nation’s accessibility shortcomings. However, there is an easy way to protect your assets from falling victim to the dictates of probate law. Planning for the future and investing in a professionally-drafted estate plan ensures your assets end up where and with whom you intend. A professional will leaves no room for misinterpretation of your final wishes and a trust, if appropriate, keeps your assets out of probate altogether.
To learn more about protecting your wealth through estate planning, do not hesitate to reach out to the Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm either by calling 417-623-2062 or using the contact form on our website.
Contact the Estate Planning Attorneys at the Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm