As a person with dementia (PWD) advances through the later stages, the caregiver responsibilities increase. Once the caregiver is scheduling doctor appointments and making sure the PWD is taking their medications it likely follows that they will need help paying the bills. When it gets to the point where it becomes easier for the caregiver than the PWD to sign a check, it is a good time to consider durable powers of attorney and other legal documents -- before a financial or health crisis occurs.
What is Durable Financial Power of Attorney?
Financial Power of Attorney is a legal document. It gives someone else (an "agent") the right to make financial, business and real estate choices when a person with dementia cannot.
What is a Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney?
A Healthcare Power of Attorney lets a person name someone as their agent to make healthcare decisions if a person becomes very hurt or sick.
What is a Living Will?
The terms "living will," "health care directive," and "advance directive" all refer to the legal document that lets people state their wishes for end-of-life medical care. This document gives invaluable guidance to caregivers and healthcare professionals if a person can't express his or her wishes. Without it, caregivers and doctors are left to guess what a seriously ill person would prefer in terms of treatment. They may end up in painful disputes, which occasionally make it all the way to a courtroom.
Once these documents are in place, the caregiver has the powers necessary to sign checks and make health care decisions on the person with dementia’s behalf.
These are all important documents that should be included in an effective estate plan. While the person with dementia still has capacity, talk to an attorney and consider creating these documents.
It is important to consult a trusted estate planning attorney for comprehensive legal advice. Stay tuned for more helpful caregiving tips in the months ahead!
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