Livens & Reed, PLLC

Elder law planning works best when a family meeting can be held

Elder law professionals and financial advisers in Texas and elsewhere generally recommend that a family have an honest and forthright conversation with an elderly loved one to discuss the elderly person's wishes and intentions for those later, advanced years in life. Elder law planning is best done early, when the individual is still in full control of his or her faculties and physical health. It will prove to be critically helpful when advanced age makes it difficult for one to function independently.

Preparation for anything in life always pays off in premiums. Pitfalls and obstacles generally emerge when a future event or change in lifestyle was not prepared and planned out in advance. This is particularly true when the subject is about advanced aging and care for the elderly loved one whom we want to make as comfortable and as independent as possible. One of the things to discuss is the elder person's preferences for final illness care and other decisions with respect to his or her medical treatment.

This is an area where failure to have that final special meeting can result in medical decisions going against what the person would have wanted. A living will can specify the person's intentions with respect to life maintenance with life-sustaining drugs even when brain death has occurred. The problems and regrets that can occur where no advanced-care plan is put into effect can be lingering and painful for a close loved one.

That is the experience that U.S. Senator Mark Warner had when his mother could not talk during the last 11 years of her life while she suffered with Alzheimer's. He is accordingly proposing legislation that will encourage people to set up an advanced-care plan. It will even compensate health care personnel to meet with the elderly patient and facilitate an elder law plan for the future. If passed, this federal law will apply to all elderly persons, wherever they may be located, including citizens of Texas.

Source:, "Long-term care issue hits close to home for Sen. Warner", Bill Bartel, April 18, 2015

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