Planning for The Future

Planning For the Future 

Preparing for the future is a good idea for all of us. Creating a plan and starting early with the process for a loved one who has a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia is even more important. Your loved one may want to participate in the process by sharing his/her wishes for the future. This allows the loved one to choose who they want to be in charge and what they want their care to look like. And before they can sign off on a legal document they must still have the ability to understand the meaning of the document. So Don’t wait!  Sometimes these documents take time.

3 Key Documents

(Also Known As –  Advance Directives) include:

Living Will & Last Will & Testament – Advised family members their wishes about end of life and beyond

Living Will –  comes into play when your loved one is incapacitated and can no longer communicate his/her wishes in specific medical situation. Often times it includes end of life decisions and how they feel about artificial life support

Last Will & Testament – This document identifies the person  who will manage a person’s estate, (the Executor) and who will receive the assets of the estate (the beneficiaries). This document is only effective once a person dies.

Durable Power of Attorney – designates who is to make decisions about finances and other assets. This document gives the assigned person the right to manage and make decisions according to the stated wishes of the person who has granted power of attorney.

Designation of Healthcare Surrogate  – Designates who will make medical decisions when your loved one is no longer able. The agent or person assigned makes decisions regarding doctors, medical treatments, care facilities and end of life.

Elder Law Attorney

You can complete certain legal documents without a lawyer, but getting legal advice and services from a board certified Elder Law attorney who specializes in elder law can be especially helpful. A board certification assures the public that they attorney has substantial experience and demonstrated special knowledge, skills and proficiency in certified areas of practice and professionalism and ethics in the practice of law.

Proper planning may create peace of mind for the person who has a chronic and/or progressive disease and for the entire family. Having documents that outline wishes can also help alleviate family disputes.

If you meet with a lawyer, be sure to discuss options available concerning health care, especially if your loved one has dementia, options for managing the person’s personal care and property and possible coverage of long-term care services, including what is provided by Medicare, Medicaid, veteran benefits and other long-term care insurance 

What To Bring To The Lawyer

Gather all documents relating to the assets so you can bring them to your appointment.

Itemized list of assets (e.g., bank accounts, contents of safe deposit boxes, vehicles, real estate, etc.), including current value and the names listed as owners, account holders and beneficiaries

Copies of all estate planning documents, including wills, trusts and powers of attorney

Copies of all deeds to real estate

Copies of recent income tax returns

Life insurance policies and cash values of policies

Health insurance policies or benefits booklets

Admission agreements to any health care facilities

List of names, addresses and telephone numbers of those involved, including family members, domestic partners and caregivers, as well as financial planners and/or accountants

Finding An Elder Law Attorney

Call Your Local Leeza’s Care Connection Program Director  or Use one of the following resources:

• Online directory of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

• Visit Eldercare Locator online or call 800 677 1116

• Visit LawHelp.org to learn about free or reduced cost legal aid programs in your community

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