When an older parent needs long-term care, a lot of decisions need to be made. If your parents’ situations worsen, who makes decisions for them? Is their home protected from medical debt?
Whether it’s dementia or severe arthritis leading to the need for long-term care, you have to consider how it’s being paid for. Insurance coverage is not guaranteed. In fact, it may not cover any of the costs of long-term care. Families should talk to an elder law attorney about these specific areas.
Your parents must have advanced directives in place. These legal forms state what you want in different situations. Would they want to be placed on life support if there was little chance for recovery? Would they want to donate their organs? Would they want to be given experimental medications with concerning side effects?
An advanced directive covers those wishes. It can also include if they’d want to be buried or cremated. Plus, they could state their wishes regarding if they’d like to be at home in the end stages of a terminal illness or if they’d want to enter a hospice facility.
Ideally, your parents want to get estate planning taken care of as early as possible. If they haven’t done this yet, they need to take care of things like wills, naming an executor, and determining what happens to their home and personal property.
If their medical debt is piling up, you may need to discuss how your parents will pay off this debt. Learn more about whether a hospital can file a lien against your parents and take steps to protect their accounts, retirement income, personal property, and real estate if needed.
What happens if your parents run out of money? At some point, they may qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid planning is complex as there are so many rules to follow. You have to look back at expenditures and income for several years. An elder law attorney specializing in Medicaid can help you navigate the process and get applications completed correctly.
Medical and Financial POAs
Finally, make sure your parents have established powers of attorney for medical and financial matters. If they cannot speak up for themselves for some reason, they need to choose an agent to make decisions.
Suppose your mom has Alzheimer’s. Years from now, her cognitive skills will be minimal. If she’s talked to an elder law attorney and drawn up powers of attorney, she’ll have chosen an agent to follow her wishes and make decisions for her. This can include having someone to keep paying her bills and ensure she ages at home or taking steps to be certain doctors follow her wishes for end-of-life care.
If you or a loved one need assistance with Elder Law in Hoover, AL contact The Alabama Elder Care Law Firm, LLC today. (205) 390-0101