Care Giving Goes Easier With Legal Details Settled

Posted by Richard on April 6, 2020

Just when people begin to feel the changes of age, they become caregivers of people older than themselves, usually parents. It can be a time of much reward, and trial, sometimes in equal measure.
While this can be a sudden responsibility due to injury or illness, most often, people have time to prepare themselves and their loved ones for these final years. It’s a road best traveled with a balance between helping loved ones and allowing them independence.
If circumstances allow, it’s a good idea to develop a plan, not just for your charge’s health (but there will be that). One thing you’ll have to do eventually is take charge of financial and legal decisions.

* Take charge of the checkbook. Even if you are caring for someone who is fully in charge of their financial life, make sure someone, if not you, shares ownership of the checking account. It will save time should the patient become incapacitated. If there is an online account, make sure someone has the username and password.

* Learn the medical ropes. If you start caregiving when you are too young for medicare yourself, you’ll have to learn to navigate that system.

* Consult an elder law attorney. With many estates, there could be a way to preserve assets for heirs. Check with an elder-law attorney to see about your situation.

* Discuss. When a person begins needing care, they also need to begin considering what kind of care they want and how much care they want. These end of life decisions are subjects that may come up frequently and decisions might change. So encourage the patient to set down their wishes in writing or official documents.

* Find out about the will. If a will exists, find the location. If more than one exists, figure out where the latest one is or make a new one.

* Power of Attorney. Someone should be appointed POA to make the many legal decisions that are part of a person’s life. Something as minor as changing an address with the post office may require a POA and things as major as deciding medical care will require a POA.

Having legal and financial decisions in hand will at least free the caregiver up to handle the many day-to-day chores of living.