It’s estimated that 10% of U.S. adults aged 60 or older have experienced some form of elder abuse. One problem with this estimate is that some older adults are too ashamed to report it. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a great time to sit down and ask your mom about her estate and if she’s taken steps to protect herself.
Elder abuse isn’t always physical. Financial abuse is also prevalent, and the perpetrator is often a family member. Elder law services help prevent incidences of elder abuse. Here’s how estate planning can help.
Conservatorship or Guardianship
Why would any older adult want to choose a guardian or conservator? It may be unnecessary if you’ve created powers of attorney for medical and financial decisions. But, it can help protect a parent with dementia from elder abuse or neglect.
Advance Directives or Living Wills
Advance directives are legal forms that dictate what care you would want in different situations. If you had a stroke and couldn’t speak for yourself, would you want to have a breathing tube or feeding tube? Do you want to be cremated or buried? Would you want a wake or memorial or a private ceremony?
An elder law attorney can help an older adult in need of long-term care complete applications and come up with ways to protect their home from having to be sold to pay for long-term care. There are also spend-down requirements that a person must follow to avoid being denied Medicaid when it’s most needed. An attorney can help your family navigate all of these rules.
Powers of Attorney
There are financial and medical powers of attorney. You can also get a durable power of attorney that covers both financial and medical. With a POA, you name someone you trust to make financial and medical directions on your behalf if you’re unable to make decisions on your own.
The person you name, known as an agent, should be someone you know who will do what you’d want and not drain your accounts without your knowledge. Often a POA agent is an adult child, sibling, or trusted friend.
Wills and Trusts
Wills and trusts help protect an older adult’s assets. If something happened to your mom and she passed away, does she have an estranged child who might claim her home, even though it’s the last thing she would want? A will ensures things like this cannot happen.
A trust takes place while someone is alive. It helps manage the assets of someone who is disabled or underaged and needs help with financial management. Others can’t take control and spend money on themselves when a trust is in place.
Work with an elder law specialist to make sure your mom has taken the steps to protect her estate. Your mom should have a will, powers of attorney, and other measures of estate planning that protect her from elder abuse. Call an elder law practice to get started.
If you or a loved one need assistance with Elder Law in Pell City, AL contact The Alabama Elder Care Law Firm, LLC today. (205) 390-0101