Legal Considerations for Seniors and Families
Recommendations from experts in senior care at home in Las Vegas, NV.
If your aging loved one is accessing senior care at home or other care services, it’s important to get their legal affairs in order. The best time to ensure that their documents and finances are in order is now! At Comfort Keepers, we know that it’s easy to not prioritize financial and legal recordkeeping, but it’s very important to ensure the safety and well-being of your aging loved one. We’ve gathered our best tips from the senior care at home experts at Comfort Keepers for you and your family to consider.
Make a plan. Often, we see our senior care at home clients create a comprehensive care plan, that even incorporates changes in physical, mental, or emotional health. But when it comes to planning for a financial and legal future, clients may struggle to prepare. When your family chooses senior care at home, a nursing home, or an assisted living facility, it’s time to make a plan for your loved one’s financial and legal future, too.
Organize your documents. The first step to knowing what documents are still needed or decisions you’ll need to make is knowing what has already been accomplished. We recommend creating a central hub for your aging loved one’s records, such as a filing cabinet or accordion file that remains in one place. Documents you should gather include identity documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, or passport), financial documents (for checking, savings, investment accounts, and other financial accounts), and real estate documents (mortgages or leases, insurance policies, etc.)
Your loved one should make a decision about their will. If your senior family member does not already have a will, you should take this opportunity to help them create one and make those decisions. Your loved one will need to pick which document to use and what’s in it. This is a discussion you’ll want to have as early as possible so that your family can also understand the wishes of your aging loved one.
Your aging loved one might choose an advance health care directive, which helps a senior specify what kind of care services or medical intervention should be provided in the case that they become seriously ill, incapacitated, or unable to communicate. These directives can specify particular facilities or care providers that your aging loved one would prefer or indicate that senior care at home is their preferred mode of care.
Your loved one should consider whether they prefer a living will or a power of attorney for health care. These two documents operate differently, but both can specify who can make decisions on behalf of your loved one, and the scope of what those decisions can be. Both become effective when your loved one can no longer communicate or advocate for themselves.
Learn more online.
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 Tennessee 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
Always consult a lawyer regarding your family’s specific needs.