Not planning for health care crises and financial matters that might accompany one’s golden years can have a potentially negative impact on family members. While most people agree that these kinds of conversations are difficult at best, preparing estate planning documents ahead of time can bring peace of mind to everyone involved. The legal documentation used in assigning elder guardianship can be as general or as specific as the family desires and has the benefit of changeability over time. If the elder in question or a legal guardian decides the existing plan doesn’t work for some reason, they can make changes at any time.
Research conducted by adjunct professor, Todd Whatley with the University of Arkansas School of Law revealed that up to 80 percent of elder Americans have not prepared advanced directives regarding their end-of-life care. Legal experts agree that it’s never too soon to address important decisions like estate planning and elder care, but most people don’t think about it until faced with aging or a serious medical condition.
Even though broaching subjects like elder care and end-of-life instructions is uncomfortable, it can ease the way toward a peaceful resolution for those left behind. Consider this: even a young adult can benefit from estate planning in the event of a debilitating injury due to accident or a life-threatening illness. Without the necessary documents assigning family members or close friends for guardianship, a judge would intervene to appoint a legal guardian to make important decisions of behalf of the victim.
A range of legal documentation exists to provide instructions for elder care including living wills, medical powers of attorney and documents that specify fiduciary duties for family members. Aging elders in Texas and across the country can also create other documents such as last will and testament, letters of instruction and financial powers of attorney if so desired. Under the guidance of a qualified guardianship attorney, Texas citizens have the power to determine their own end-of-life care and retain the dignity every American deserves.
Source:US News Health, “6 Decisions to Make Before You Die” Kimberly Leonard, Feb. 26, 2014