The prevailing rationale is that the grandchildren will be taken care of by their parents, but here’s how you might recognize grandchildren in your will .
Get answers to estate and long-term care planning questions from elder law attorney Ann Margaret Carrozza, Esq.
Now there’s no reason to put off creating your advance medical directives. MyDirectives.com makes it easy and effortless—and you can update them as needed.
Learn how to ensure your end-of-life wishes are met and keep loved ones from having to make these decisions for you if you no longer can.
Twenty years ago Congress passed the Federal Patient Self-Determination Act. One of the reasons for this act was to encourage Americans to prepare an advance directive. This document allows a person to communicate their wishes about how they want to be treated if they become unable to make medical decisions for themselves.
A will is one of those things our parents always intend to do pass on assets, do but do not ever seem to find the time to do. Waiting until one is faced with having to write a will creates stress and undue pressure. Some people are very resistent to creating a will, illogically thinking it will bring bad luck.
The duarable power of attorney for healthcare is one of two components of what are known as Health Care, or Advanced, Directives. The other is the Living Will. Together, these two documents allow your parent to express their wishes concerning medical treatment, particulalry at the end of life.
A Power of Attorney allows one to designate another person or organization to act on one’s behalf to handle financial, legal or medical if one is unavilable or unable to do so. The person designated is known as the attorney-in-fact. There are many types of powers of attorney, including general power of attorney, limited power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney. You should discuss these with your parent and, if appropriate, consutl with an attorney to see which ones would be prudent for your parent to have in force.
A living will is a document that expresses your parent’s wishes for medical treatment in specific circumstances. A living will is part of the advanced directive along with the durable power of attorney. This document will allow your parents to express whether they want to receive life-sustaining treatments in the event of a terminal illness or accident in which they are injured or otherwise become incapacitated.
Advance Directives is term given to legal documents that detail a person’s preferences regarding health care treatments and decisions should he or she be unable to make those decisions due to incapcitation due to such conditions as uconsciousness or loss of mental capacity. Advanced directives typcially include at least two documents: the living will and the durable power of attorney for healthcare. Some individuals prepare additional directives, such as organ donation preferences and do not resuscitate orders (DNR), sometimes used in situations of terminal illness, very advanced age or intractable pain.
The costs for elder care are increasing as the number of aging adults requiring in-home care continues to rise. Many times, it is a family member who winds up providing in-home care; and, in some cases, this task is thrust upon the individual after an elderly parent or relative has an accident. An elder parent may fall and break a hip, which requires hospitalization and extended care. Other times, warning signs of the necessity for impending care occur gradually with the elderly person forgetting names or getting lost in familiar areas. The family may determine that it is no longer safe for the elderly relative to live without proper supervision and care. Therefore, the family may decide to shoulder the burden of providing in-home care. Whatever the situation or circumstance, elder care affects millions of Americans each year, and that number is predicted to steadily rise in the coming years.
If you are able, take the time before your parents need help and while they are still functioning comfortably to ask about the "big" things. Solicit their preferences for managing financial matters or real property. Find out what treatment efforts, such as resuscitation and life support, they want and expect in the event they become incapacitated.
During a crisis, the last thing you want to do is search in drawers and files for paperwork needed for medical personnel, doctors, lawyers and the like. One of the best ways to help your parents is to assist them in creating necessary documents and keeping them in a file near the bedside. It also would be helpful to duplicate the information on a removable computer drive ("jump" drive) that you can quickly access and carry with you to the hospital if necessary.
Many Americans nearing retirement age may be considering options for financing future personal home care. Because many elderly people desire to remain in their own homes rather than move to an assisted living facility or nursing home, they are becoming proactive when it comes to finding ways to ensure that they’ll be able to do just that.
Due to the inexorable deterioration of the cognitive faculties of a person with dementia, there is a progressive inability to carry out the various activities of everyday life. There may come a time in the course of the disease when decisions such as living arrangements (independently, with relatives, assisted living or nursing care), medical treatment, financial affairs, and personal care can no longer be handled by the patient with dementia or Alzheimer’s. In these situations, someone must shoulder responsibility for managing that person’s affairs.
In certain cases, mental functions decline extensively with advancing age. The reasons for this progressive degradation vary with the individual, but dementia, sparked by conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, diseased blood vessels in the brain, and Parkinson’s disease, is a leading cause.