If you are caring for your elderly loved one, it is important for him or her to have powers of attorney in place. These documents can help your loved one make certain that his or her needs will be taken care of if he or she becomes incapacitated. At Elder Care Direction, we help families to understand the documents that they need to have in place so that their healthcare and finances will be taken care of when they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves.
The Documents You Should Have in Place
If you are growing older or are in charge of taking care of an elderly parent, having powers of attorney in place is vital. If you are the caretaker of a person who is still competent, you might want to talk to them about what types of medical care they would want to receive if a time comes when they are unable to make the decisions for themselves. You should also talk to them about choosing someone who will handle their financial matters if they become incapacitated. These plans should be finalized in powers of attorney, which are documents in which people who will be in charge of handling medical and financial decisions will be named. The documents only become effective if the person giving the power is incapacitated and no longer able to make decisions on his or her own.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney is a document that names a trusted person who will make decisions about health care for someone who is incapacitated. The person who will serve as the health care representative may be called a health care proxy, attorney-in-fact or agent, depending on the state in which you live.
If you are a designated health care representative with a medical power of attorney, you will work with your loved one’s health care providers to make certain that your loved one gets the care that he or she wants. You will have a legal obligation to follow your loved one’s wishes to the extent that you know what they are.
To make the wishes clear, your loved one can also complete a living will or health care directive to give precise instructions to both you and his or her health care providers. In some states, medical powers of attorney and living wills are combined into one form. Elder Care Direction can help you to understand what documents you need in your own state.
Financial Power of Attorney
A financial power of attorney is very important. If your loved one becomes incapacitated, you will need this document so that you can access his or her accounts, pay his or her bills and take care of his or her other financial needs. This document designates a trusted person to serve as an attorney-in-fact. The person who is designated will have the full authority to handle all of your loved one’s financial matters when he or she is no longer able to manage them on his or her own.
Talking to Your Loved One
Some older people resist writing powers of attorney. It is important that you approach the topic carefully so that your loved one will understand why it is important to have these documents in place. Elder Care Direction can help to facilitate this conversation and can help to answer any questions that your loved one might have. In many cases, older people may be more willing to draw up powers of attorney if they understand that having these documents is the best way for them to maintain control over their lives. This is because the person who they give the power of attorney to must follow their instructions. If an older person becomes incapacitated and does not have powers of attorney in place, the probate court may appoint someone to act as a guardian, and that person may make all of the decisions for the person without any input from him or her. If your loved one is already incapacitated, you will need to request that the court names a guardian to manage his or her affairs.
Contact Elder Care Direction
Having powers of attorney in place is important for older adults. If your loved one is getting older but is still competent, you should talk to them about why powers of attorney are necessary. Elder Care Direction can help to explain these documents and answer any questions that your loved one might have. We can also help to complete the preparatory steps before you consult with an attorney so that your costs will be reduced. To learn more about the help that we can provide to you and your loved one, contact us today at (267) 368-4201.