Caring for parents or other elderly loved ones can be a very rewarding experience, but there are also challenges and factors to consider if you find yourself in such a position. As Baby Boomers grow older, more people will be facing these choices. US Census Bureau figures indicate that the population of individuals aged 65 years or older grew by more than 34% from 2010 to 2020, a spike not seen within any other age group. Plus, with Americans living at an average life expectancy of 79 years, your responsibilities could be a years-long commitment.
Still, because the endeavor is such a worthwhile pursuit, it is important to set the proper framework if you anticipate taking on caregiving duties for a loved one. You should work closely with a skilled estate planning lawyer to advise you on the legal details, which will likely include the following To-Do’s.
Have the Conversation
Many people view discussions about wills and end-of-life decisions as morbid, but the gloomier outlook is what happens when someone has no estate plan in place. If your loved one has not already taken steps, you might need to initiate the conversation. It may be useful to phrase things in the context of what happens when your loved one has no arrangements for incapacity or death. State laws on intestacy govern how assets are distributed and to whom. In the event that your loved one is incapacitated, guardianship proceedings are necessary to manage health care decisions and assets.
Get Estate Planning Documents in Order
As part of the estate planning conversation, you should coordinate details regarding key documents, including:
- A will that appoints an executor to manage the testator’s final affairs and provides details on distributions to beneficiaries;
- A power of attorney naming an agent to handle real estate, personal property, and other assets if the principal becomes incapacitated;
- A health care advance directive that appoints an agent to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal; and,
- A living will, which enables an individual to express his or her wishes with respect to end-of-life care and life-sustaining treatment.
If your loved one has already made these arrangements, make sure you have copies of all essential estate planning documents.
Consider Options for Long-Term Care
There may come a time when your loved one requires placement in an assisted living environment, which is costly and not covered by Medicare. With proper planning, you can help this person protect assets and still pay for the care he or she needs.
Get Legal Help from a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney
These actions are important when you anticipate handling caregiving responsibilities for an elderly loved one, but they are less taxing when you have an experienced lawyer to guide you. For more information on the factors to consider as you prepare for such a life-changing experience, please contact Francois Williams Legal LLC to schedule a consultation. We can provide additional details after learning more about your situation and objectives.