How to be a Caregiver for an Elderly Parent

Caregiving is a tough job and having the right elder law tools in place can make the duties of a caregiver much less stressful. There are certain elder care documents every aging parent should have in place to avoid placing unnecessary burdens on caregivers and loved ones and avoid elder abuse. The following will provide a senior care overview of important elderly law forms:

Durable power of attorney - A durable power of attorney is essential to prepare so that the affairs of aging parents can be handled by a named agent if they are unable to be handled by the principal, due to illness or mental incapacity. A durable power of attorney allows the agent to pay bills, conduct banking transactions, sell property, sign healthcare documents, and others matters as specified in the power of attorney. If an elderly parent is suffering from Alzheimer's, a durable power of attorney may still be signed, as long as the parent is able to understand the meaning and importance of the document. Ideally, a durable power of attorney should be signed before the onset of Alzheimer's disease, but a doctor may attest to the mental competency of the principal if it's challenged.

A trusted person should be named as the agent to prevent elderly abuse. Without a power of attorney, it may be necessary to establish a guardianship or conservatorship to handle the financial affairs and personal care of aging parents. Guardianship and conservatorship involve lengthy, expensive court procedures that can be avoided by simply filling out a durable power of attorney

Living will - A living will, also referred to as an advance healthcare directive, allows elderly parents to express their wishes for life-prolonging measures and medical treatment in the event they are terminally ill or permanently unconscious and unable to speak for themselves. A living will can also be combined with as medical power of attorney, naming a healthcare agent to make medical decisions for them according to the wishes expressed in the living will. Creating a living will is a vital elder care form that can avoid undue anguish on loved ones in a difficult situation when dealing with a health crisis. Waiting to sign a living will until elderly parents enter a nursing home may be too late.

Last will - A last will appoints an executor to manage your estate after you die, making sure your final wishes are carried out and your property goes to intended beneficiaries. Creating a last will is a vital elderly law tool for preventing family disputes and sale of family heirlooms. A will can also provide tax benefits. Without a last will, the state will decide how a person's estate will distributed.

Medicaid trust - A Medicaid trust can be used to ensure eligibility for Medicaid benefits. A Medicaid trust needs to be prepared at least five years before entering a nursing home for effective Medicaid planning. An attorney who specializes in senior care and Medicaid planning should be consulted to review a Medicaid trust, as this is a highly specialized area of elder law.



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