If you have a parent that is aging and reaching the point where they are going to need more medical care, it is wise to speak with an attorney practicing elder law. As one, I find that it is much easier for families to transition to this stage of life if they meet with an attorney and develop a plan from the beginning. Doing so early on allows seniors to have more say in how life develops as they age and the care that they receive in addition to what happens to their finances and assets. Waiting too long can create a situation where things like memory loss, Alzheimer’s, or physical illnesses are consuming and limit their cognitive and decision-making abilities. As a result, the pressure is placed on children to try to make decisions that they think their parents will be comfortable with. It is far easier to be proactive and collaborate on issues together.
As an attorney practicing elder law, here some of the things I assist families with –
Making decisions in regards to assets. Working together, we can put a plan in place for what to do with your parents’ assets. For example, if your mother is currently living in her home and wants to continue to do so for as long as possible, there should be a plan and documents in place so that when she is no longer able to live in her home, that house can be disposed of according to her wishes. Since this may also be necessary to pay for long-term care, having a good plan in place can prevent future financial hurdles. Many families also find it easier to address large assets while parents are still living than waiting to disperse them through a will.
How to pay for medical and long-term care. Long-term care can be incredibly expensive especially if your parent ends up needing serious medical care. Hiring a caregiver to check on them is costly but needing intensive care due to serious medical issues can easily drain their bank account. There should be a financial plan in place regarding how their care will be paid for, how medicare will be utilized, etc. Having these discussions early on can be incredibly helpful and prevent stress in the future.
Daily financial management. Many families decide to create financial management plans so that when a parent is no longer able to handle their own finances someone else in the family is able to quickly step in. There are legal documents that can be drafted to protect assets and accounts, ensure that they are utilized as they are supposed to and to provide for transparency.
Wills and trusts. To ensure that your parents’ wishes are fulfilled upon their death, having a will and trust created is essential. Without one, a prolonged probate process or family infighting, unnecessary expense, and a lot of stress can occur. Even if your parent created a will when they were much younger, it is best to revisit it today since things have probably changed a great deal.
The purpose of elder law is to protect the elderly, their assets, and their wishes. As an attorney, I have numerous resources available to achieve those objectives. Call today to schedule a consultation and to discuss this in further detail.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.