The Livens Law Firm

Timely elderly planning helps both the parent and the caregiver

In Texas and elsewhere, being a caregiver for an elderly loved one can be a multi-faceted, daunting task. In addition to the emotional and physical demands of spending many hours each week assisting the parent with a variety of tasks, there are substantial economic demands that can take a toll. That's why elderly planning is an important function that can establish a successful framework for satisfying the many different needs of both the elderly loved one and the family caregiver.

It's very difficult to try and keep up with the many personal needs of an elderly parent, and it is often found that the task should at least be shared with professional caregivers. This is especially true where family caregivers also have full-time or part-time jobs. In addition, legal planning must occur to set up a group of necessary legal instruments.

Additionally, elderly planning should include talks with the parent when he or she can still participate meaningfully in decisions and future arrangements. The elder person's finances should be discussed, with the view to an open exchange of information and preferences. After that, the family caregiver can assist in making plans for maximizing financial assets and obtaining government aid, such as Medicaid, veterans benefits and other financial aid.

Financial tools to discuss may include life insurance, reverse mortgages, annuities or long-term care insurance plans. Planning often necessitates a strategy of spending down the elderly person's assets first. This is done to qualify the individual for later government assistance.

Additionally, an elder law attorney may be consulted to discuss the options available, and to incorporate basic estate planning pursuant to Texas and federal law. At the least, necessary instruments will include a durable power of attorney, the last will and medical directives. Living wills and possible trust provisions may also be included. Elderly planning will ease the transition greatly for the loved one, and will maximize time, finances, and emotional well-being for the caregiver.

Source: Fox Business, "The Financial Implications of Being a Caregiver", Casey Dowd, Sept. 18, 2014

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