If You Fear Losing It

New legal tactics let you name friends to take over your affairs as needed

Los Angeles lawyer Marc Hankin watched as his father's Alzheimer's gradually robbed him of his ability to function and imposed devastating financial strains on his family. So Hankin, now 51, vowed that he would be ready in case he ever suffered any such disability. He has worked out a novel strategy to define when to activate his living trust--a document that designates people to manage his affairs if he no longer can. He has named his wife and his three closest friends to a competency committee, and granted them the power to declare him unfit and take control. Says Hankin: "I...

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