15- Mar2017
Posted By: Tony Fischer

Senior Care Plan Update: Have You Checked Your Elder Law Documents?

As written before in this blog, a good senior care should include solid Elder Law documents. Powers of Attorney, Advanced Directives, Will and Trusts are vital to you plan depending on your situation. They enforce the decisions you have made as part of your plan and give teeth to the consequences if the plan isn’t followed.  More importantly, the legal documentation of your healthcare choices gives clear direction to healthcare professionals in time of emergency.

Just like a good senior care plan, Legal documents needs to be checked and constantly updated.  During the course of a year there may be changes in finances, healthcare conditions and family dynamics.  All too often legal documents are update to reflect those changes and can become ineffective as a result.

Of course you should consult a good Elder Law Attorney to review your legal documents.  But before you go, look over your documents and consider the following.

How relevant is your legal plan?

Any good attorney will tell you that having a “some” sort of legal plan is better having none at all. However, that is not to say that all legal documents are created equal. Inexpensive “one-size-fits-all” documents don’t address your unique needs. These “one-pagers” also don’t address the intricacies of financial and state specific rules. Consequently, the documents you have may not do what you want them to do when a crisis happens.

So how do you know if you’re senior care legal plan will be effective?

Look at the Date

If your documents are dated before 2012, they probably need a refresh.  Some of the rules changed in 2012 that may have made your documents less effective.  You may also want to change who the documents appoint to be in charge.

Are They State Specific?

Every state has different laws.  If you have moved since your legal plan was written you will probably need to have state specific language included in your documents.  There is nothing worse than having legal documents that become invalid because they were not properly updated after a change in residence.

Have Your Decisions Changed?

People change their minds on medical treatments.  They may even want to change which family member is making decisions in time of a crisis.  It happens all the time.

The worst thing you can do is avoid making those changes in your legal documents.  Failing to change them could mean you get a medical treatment you don’t want or having the wrong person in charge of medical and financial decisions.

Is Your Plan Complete?

Who will be in charge of your health and financial decisions if you become incapacitated? Does your family know which medical treatments and procedures you refuse to have? Are your spouse’s assets protected in the case of costly stay in nursing home? Who will gain control of your assets if you should pass?  If you don’t know the answers to these questions then your plan is not complete.  Consult an Attorney soon.

Have You Fully Funded Your Trust?

As an Elder Care Coordinator I have sat in on a number of meetings with Elder Law Attorneys when it was discovered that the client has not fully funded their trust.  It doesn’t matter how much you spend or how complex it is, if you don’t fund your trust it will not be effective.  Funding your trust involves changing beneficiary designations and titling assets.  If you haven’t done that make sure you consult with your attorney or financial adviser.

Don’t Know Where To Start?

If you don’t have a senior care or legal plan the addresses the issues the come with aging, we can help.  Our Senior Care Sherpas can help develop a senior care plan designed to meet your specific needs and recommend an Elder Law Attorney to draft legal documents in support of your plan.  Our Sherpas will help you prepare by reviewing your current situation to ensure you are prepared for the challenges that aging in place represents.  For more information fill out the contact form below and one of our Sherpas will reach out to set up your FREE consultation.

Next Post: When Putting Together A Senior Care Plan Don’t Forget The Legals

20- Jul2016
Posted By: Tony Fischer

When Developing A Senior Care Plan, Don’t Forget Elder Law

Legal documents are often left out of a senior care plan, yet they are just as important as the medications people take.  In fact legal documents allow the senior themselves to maintain control over their health by appointing a healthcare advocate.  If incapacitated a healthcare proxy can make sure the healthcare decisions of the senior are followed. It is difficult to develop an effective senior care plan without addressing both the logisitic and elder law issues. You can have the most detailed care plan ever written but without the legal authority to enforce it you run the risk of losing control.  Conversely a legal plan that does not address healthcare challenges will also fail to be effective.

Let’s focus on the legal aspect of the senior care plan.  There are a couple of documents that are absolutely vital.

How Does Elder Law Help

Medical Power of Attorney

Strong Medical Powers of Attorney have two parts.  Advanced Directives and a Healthcare Proxy.  An Advanced Directive specifically states what the senior’s healthcare wishes are. They can include everything from directions about types of treatment to Do Not Resuscitate orders. The healthcare proxy designates a person or group of people to make healthcare decisions in case of incapacity.

Financial Power of Attorney

Many think that Power of Attorney documents cover both medical and financial.  While they can address both issues, having separate documents might be more effective.  Strong Financial Powers of Attorney can also be very specific and give specific instruction on how to handle bank accounts and insurance policies. The separation also allows you to appoint a separate people for each task.  That can be important if one family member is more comfortable making medical decisions than financial ones.

Certified Elder Care Attorney: A Member of Our Team

If you have a Power of Attorney in place, nice work you have taken an important step.  If your Power of Attorney documents were prepared a decade ago you may have to have them updated. States often tweak laws regarding power of attorney.  Be sure to check with a Certified Elder Law Attorney to make sure your legal documents do what they are supposed to do.