Legal Considerations for In Home Supportive Services in Nashville
If your loved one in Nashville or the surrounding area needs in home supportive services, it is important to gather the right documents
Legal matters are too important to put off, and especially when it comes to fulfilling the wishes of an aging loved one, it’s never too early to discuss their preferences and get their affairs in order. Families with aging loved ones in Nashville, TN should consider it part of their caretaking duties to make sure that legal affairs and documents are in good order. In home supportive services are just one part of caretaking; it’s also important to document and honor the legal wishes of your loved one.
Get to know your online resources
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
Know what documents your family member needs
You might already be familiar with a will, but there are different kinds of wills depending on what your aging loved one wants or needs.
Your loved one might also opt for an advance health care directive, which helps seniors specify what type of senior care services and medical intervention should be made in case of them becoming seriously ill or incapacitated. A directive can specify whether an individual should be moved to a particular facility, or whether in home supportive services should be accessed first.
There are two types of advance directives:
- A living will. This will contains information on what type of health care should be provided, and is legally effective in the event that your loved one can no longer make decisions for themselves.
- A power of attorney for health care. This special power of attorney assigns a person to make health-related decisions in the event that that person can no longer make decisions for themselves.
Figuring out guardianship
In the case that a senior is no longer able to make decisions or communicate decisions on their own, there are several legal options. Your family should make a decision in collaboration with your aging loved one about how to move forward. Often, a family member will take on the responsibility of caring for and making decisions for a loved one.
A guardian or conservator can also be used. A guardian becomes responsible for personal, financial, and health care decisions. The guardian may or may not be a family member. After an individual becomes disabled or is unable to make their own medical decisions, the guardian will make decisions on their behalf.
A court may also hire a conservator to act on behalf of someone who is incapacitated. A conservator is responsible for financial decisions. This can include spending on health care, estate planning, asset management, and day to day expenses.
Both a guardian and a conservator can make decisions like whether a nursing home, assisted living facility, or in home supportive services should be implemented.
Keeping track of all the documents
Set aside a single place in your loved one’s home to gather all of their legal documents. This can include real estate documents, insurance documents, health records, birth certificates and other identification documents, and any will or directive that your loved one has created. Maintaining these records safely and carefully will give your whole family peace of mind.
Always consult a lawyer regarding your family’s specific needs.