Home Health Services Legal Considerations
When discussing options for home health services with your loved one, also take the time to ensure their legal affairs and documents are in order
Legal matters are something that seniors should think about now because as time passes by, taking care of legal matters may get more complicated. When talking about home health services with your loved one in Cape Girardeau, MO, it’s the perfect time to also help them organize their legal affairs.
Here are some helpful resources to help you get informed on legal matters for seniors.
- The American Bar Association’s (ABA) Commission on Law and Aging
- The ABA’s Guide to Wills and Estates
- Find a Lawyer tool on The Missouri Bar's website
- Find a Lawyer tool on the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys’ website
- The Law Issues for Consumers section of the ABA's website
Advance health care directives are legal documents that that help seniors specify what type of senior care services and medical intervention should be made in case of them becoming seriously ill or incapacitated.
There are two types of advance directives:
- A living will – Contains information on what type of health care should be provided
- A long-lasting power of attorney for health care - assigns a person that should make health-related decisions for an individual in case of disability
Given the importance of these documents, a senior should discuss both alternatives with their family.
Guardians and Conservators
If an individual does not complete durable powers of attorney and clearly specifies who will be making decisions on their behalf in case of incapacity, then a court can hire a guardian or conservator after the individual becomes disabled.
- A guardian is responsible for making personal, financial and health care decisions on behalf of a person who is incapacitated either through a mental or physical disability.
- A conservator manages the financial affairs of a person who is not able to do that on by themselves. Furthermore, the conservator is responsible for the dependent person's assets, and he/she has to handle them for the welfare of the protected person.
Wills and Trusts
- Wills allow individuals to declare who will get their personal assets when they die.
- Trusts are created to ensure care for a dependent family member, avoid probate, and assist in estate and tax planning.
Gathering Important Information
Organization of important legal documents, financial, medical, and personal information allow seniors and their family to have peace of mind when starting with home health services.
Thanks to all this information, a senior’s family will have all the needed information at disposal in case of an emergency.
Be sure to always consult a lawyer regarding yours or your senior loved one specific situation.