As people get older their needs change and their ability to care for themselves often deteriorates. If you have aging or elderly family members which have yet to create important eldercare documents, you should try to convince them to act soon. The truth is, the longer you wait to create these documents the greater the risk you run of not having them if you ever need them. Here are several elder care documents every adult should have, though the elderly need them even more.
Powers of attorney.
Elderly people can use powers of attorney to give children or other trusted people the right to make legal decisions on the elderly person’s behalf. Powers of attorney can take effect immediately or when certain conditions take place. Once you create a power of attorney you can change it or void it whenever you choose. However, if you want your power of attorney to last after you lose the ability to make choices, you will need to create what is known as a durable power of attorney. Don’t rely upon the pre-printed boilerplate documents that can be found in certain stores or on the internet. Consult with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney.
Advance Health Care Directives.
In addition to financial powers of attorney, you should also consider health care powers of attorneys commonly called Advance Health Care Directives which details the kinds of medical care you wish to receive and appoint someone to make such decisions when you are not able to do so yourself.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, is a federal law that applies in all states and limits who can view your medical information. If you want your healthcare agent to review your medical records you will need to create a HIPAA release. You should usually include this along with a power of attorney and any medical directives.