Watching our parents get older is hard. They are the ones you look to as you grow up and it’s incredibly difficult to watch as the roles reverse and they become more dependent on you. If you are entering this stage of life where you are finding yourself becoming a caretaker of aging parents, either physically, financially, or both, know your legal options to make caring for them as easy as possible. 

Consider How Much Help Your Aging Parents Need

Everyone ages differently and it’s important to assess the particular situation your parents are in. How much care do your aging parents need? Can they live on their own? Can they still clearly make decisions? Are they vulnerable to financial scams? Knowing the level in which you need to be involved is the best place to start in determining a plan going forward. This will also help determine the amount of legal tools you may need. 

Estate Planning Documents for Aging Parents

If your situation is on the more extreme side, meaning your parents are not able to care for themselves at all, then guardianship may be the best route to consider. While guardianship is a good option in this instance, there are still estate planning documents that your parents should have. 

  • Revocable Living Trust: you name a person to gain control of your assets held by the trust and to be used for your care in the case you lose capacity. This can include terms in which you want your care handled as well.
  • Durable Financial Power of Attorney: gives the person you name immediate power to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf.
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney: names a person of your choosing to have the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf about your medical treatment.
  • Living Will: lists specific wishes for your medical decisions in the case you are incapacitated.

Establishing yourself as a power of attorney to help your parents will make the care process easier, as you start handling finances and healthcare matters. Having their wishes for their medical care and their assets documented also protects them and helps you through the process as well. 

Making sure your parents have a proper estate plan will help everyone have peace of mind as you navigate their care. They’ve worked hard to build their life and as you begin to help care for your parents as they age, help yourself too with the right plan. We can help you determine the best plan for yourself and your parents. You can contact us for your free initial consultation and see if we are the right fit for your family. Let us help you make this next chapter as peaceful as possible.

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Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.