Legal and estate planning for senior adults
As people age, one of the most uncomfortable things to think about is planning for a time when they may no longer be able to take care of themselves or make their own legal and financial decisions.
Seniors with no plans for long-term care or estate management often rely on their families for care and assistance with complicated legal matters. While people seldom want to be a burden on their families, the percentage of senior citizens in this situation is growing. It is important to plan ahead in case these situations arise.
Planning begins with preparation of the following: a Last Will and Testament, a Living Will, a Legal/Financial Power of Attorney, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) release and burial preference documentation.
The court will make decisions for those who do not have these items in place and cannot speak for themselves. Preparation kits for these documents are available online and at office supply stores.
Eldercare attorneys can also assist in preparation of these documents and can help discover items people often miss when preparing on their own. Cleveland Heights natives Todd Bartimole and Rachel Kabb are eldercare attorneys who focus entirely on senior law. Many people hesitate to go to an attorney because of the cost, but fees are often reasonable.
Eldercare attorneys can also help to preserve as much life savings as possible by setting up a plan to finance long-term care, sheltering an estate from probate court and determining eligibility for Medicaid or Veterans Affairs assistance.
It is best to prepare and make these decisions early while an opinion can still be voiced. Remember to keep all legal documents together with insurance policies and banking information somewhere easily accessible to a family member and review all documents at least every three years to keep them current.
To contact Todd Bartimole, call 216-464-9999. Rachel Kabb can be contacted at 216-991-5222.
Judith Eugene is a native of Cleveland Heights who provides classes and activities for senior adults and those with physical and mental challenges through www.LovingHandsGroup.com. She may be reached at 216-408-5578 or Judith@LovingHandsGroup.com