Many of us are facing the prospect of aging parents. It’s never easy to watch a loved one age, but combine that with the shifting role of child to caregiver and a difficult situation can get much worse.
Many issues aging parents face are health related. A lawyer can’t answer questions about treatments and doctors but there are ways a lawyer can help you navigate these new shores.
There are 5 crucial documents that will ensure that you can assist your parents in a medical or financial emergency and, at their deaths, make the distribution of their estate as painless as possible.
1. ADVANCED HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE
An advanced health care directive, allows your parent to set out what kind of care they want to receive if and when they become ill or incapacitated. This document also let’s your parent name a Health Care Representative who will ensure their health care wishes are followed when they can’t speak for themselves. The health care directive applies any time the person is unable to communicate, whether or not the situation is life threatening, and for however long is necessary. It can also contain “living will” provisions that allow your parent to determine what if any life saving means they want applied if they are not going to recover and are in a permanent vegetative state.
2. A DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTHCARE AND HIPAA RELEASE
A durable power of attorney for healthcare allows you to make healthcare decisions for your parents. A HIPAA release gives you access to your parents’ health records and physicians.
3. A DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR FINANCES
A power of attorney for finances allows your parents to appoint someone to handle their financial affairs. It can also be used to make life easier for your parents even though they still make decisions and handle some financial matters themselves. Or it can be used to handle all their financial matters when they’re incapable of doing so themselves.
4. A REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST
This trust allows your parents to retain control over their estate while making transfers of assets to beneficiaries. Your parents designate what property (home, investments, jewelry, and so on) goes into the trust and to whom it will be granted. During their lifetimes, your parents act as executors of their own living trust. A revocable living trust has an important advantage: it allows their estate to avoid probate at the time of their deaths.
5. A WILL
A will makes clear who will receive your parents’ assets and personal property. A properly written will helps to avoid disagreements over your parents’ estate after their deaths. Good estate planning is simply making sure that the financial assets that are most important to you and your family – no matter how much or how little — go to the intended recipients as quickly, cheaply, and easily as possible.
Having these documents won’t make watching your parents age easier-but they will make the transition to caretaker a little easier for both you and your parent.
Give me a call and I’ll be happy to answer any questions.
Kate's a practicing Attorney for over 20 years. She is a pet rescuer and a strong supporter of pets Rights. Kate expertise is Real Estate, Probate, Estate Planning, Personal Injury, and Business contracts. Kate is happy to discuss any legal or pet matter you may have and if she cannot help; she is more than happy to point you in the right direction. Kate Forte 17 Good Hill Rd Woodbury Ct 06798 Office 203-598-8847 Fax 203-841-1116