Doesn’t it seem like you finish school and settle down only to have the years fly by? Soon, your parents are aging, you’re getting older, and plans that should have been made years ago are now pressing matters. It’s time to have some tough conversations about aging with your mom, dad, and other important family members.
What Medical Treatments Are They For or Against?
One area of concern needs to be whether your parents have an advance directive in place. They need to have this legal document drawn up and filed with their doctor and hospital. Their children should also have copies.
An advance directive gives your parents the chance to make their wishes known in terms of care. If they fall ill or are in an accident and can’t speak for themselves, would they want doctors or even the court system making choices for them?
Would they want to be put on a ventilator if there was no hope for recovery? How about a feeding tube? Are there religious beliefs that keep them from having surgeries or certain medications? Are they organ donors?
Who Do They Trust to Make Medical Decisions for Them if They Can’t?
At the same time, they should have a person who can act as their agent when it comes to medical decisions. This is especially important if a parent has dementia or there’s a family history of dementia. As cognitive skills decline, there will come a time when your parent will not be able to make decisions. Speech often declines and leads to the person no longer talking.
A power of attorney provides the person your mom or dad picks with the power to make medical decisions following their wishes. The person who is named POA has a copy of the advance directive and uses those guidelines, along with the medical expert’s opinion, to decide what care is offered.
Who Gets What?
If your parents have a home, valuables, and other assets, who would they want to inherit their wealth? Would they be okay with the government determining who gets everything? In most states, beneficiaries start with a spouse and proceed to children, parents, siblings, aunts/uncles, and cousins.
You have an older brother who walked away from the family 30 years ago. Your parents die unexpectedly and wanted you to have their house, but they never had a will drawn up. Your brother could fight you for half of the value of the home. Estate planning is important.
What’s most important is that your parents do not delay making hard decisions before it’s too late. Contact an attorney for a consultation to discuss wills, powers of attorney, and estate planning.
If you or a loved need assistance with Elder Law in Pell City, AL contact Nolan Elder Law & Estate Planning today. (205) 390-0101