Your aging parent’s health can fail at a moment’s notice due to a fall or other unexpected event. Therefore, it is vitally important that legal and care arrangements be made while they are still well enough to be an active participant in those decisions. Here is a simple guide to some of the documents you will want to create or review so you can be prepared for the unexpected. Be sure you know where to locate these documents!
An Advance Directive allows your parents to confirm in writing their wishes regarding end of life care and treatment, so their loved ones do not have to make those decisions for them.
A Statutory or Financial Power of Attorney allows them to name an agent to make decisions about property and finances, pay bills, and make other business decisions.
A Medical Power of Attorney allows your parents to appoint another person to make medical decisions for them, if they become incapacitated.
A Last Will and Testament (same as directive) allows them to control what happens to their assets when they pass away and names an executor who will be in charge of carrying out their wishes.
Copies of medical insurance cards and any other insurance information, if emergency treatment is needed.
A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR), if they do not wish to be brought back to life during a medical emergency.
A list of medications they are currently taking, as well as doctor’s names and contact information.
A list of professionals, including their estate planning attorney, CPA and financial advisor, and the contact information for those professionals.
A client care notebook detailing their current plan of care if they are receiving in-home care today. This notebook should also contain the medication list, home safety assessment and list of medical providers.
Having all these documents prepared in advance of any emergency will be helpful, if they are ever needed. It is vital to keep these documents in a safe and accessible location where they can be located quickly in an emergency. Do not put them in a safe deposit box, which may be sealed upon their death.
Some seniors are reluctant to have these discussions, see the previous blog "Discussing Finances with Your Parents" for tips on starting these discussions.
For guidance on initiating a discussion about helping your loved one age comfortably, please contact Homewatch CareGivers of Sugar Land, (281) 918-4067 , and request the "Let's Talk" guide. www.hwcg.com/sugarland
If you are looking for professional legal guidance regarding estate planning for your loved one, please contact The Law Offices of Andrew Dunham at 281-769-1685 and DunhamProbateLaw.com Special Thanks to Mr. Dunham for his review of this article.