Elder law focuses on the legal, financial, medical, social, and family issues affecting seniors, people with disabilities, and their families. Some of the questions older loved ones face, include:
- How do I preserve resources at retirement to support my preferred lifestyle?
- What living arrangements and type of lifestyle do I want during retirement?
- Which estate and financial strategies – such as long-term care insurance – are most appropriate for my potential health and long-term care needs?
- How do I arrange for and support substitute decision-makers for my financial, health, and personal decision-making in case of my serious illness or incapacity?
- How do I plan for the transfer of property to loved ones with minimal loss to transfer taxes or long-term care expenses?
Planning for the Future
You can take several steps to ensure that your loved ones understand your wishes in the event you become incapacitated or your ability to communicate these wishes becomes limited by a medical event.
Put your important papers and documents in one place. You can set up a file, put everything in a desk or dresser drawer, or list the information and location of important papers and documents in a notebook. If your papers and documents are in a bank safe deposit box, keep copies in a file at home. Check each year to see if there is anything new to add.
- Tell a trusted family member or friend where you keep your important papers and documents. You do not need to tell your friends or family members about your personal affairs, but someone should know where you keep your papers and documents in case of an emergency. If you do not have a relative or friend you trust, ask a lawyer to help.
- Give permission in advance for your doctor or lawyer to talk with your caregiver as needed. There may be questions about your care, a bill, or a health insurance claim. Without your consent, your caregiver may not be able to get needed information. You can give your approval in advance to Medicare, a credit card company, your bank, or your doctor.
Information about getting your affairs in order:
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Contact EAP for personalized legal referrals to assist with estate planning, or for financial consultation to help you plan for your retirement, and to help you manage financial concerns that your elderly relatives might be facing.
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- Eldercare Locator