July 12, 2016
Durable Powers of Attorney Can Help Smooth Transitions for Elder Care in 2015
Durable Powers of Attorney
There is a need in all of us to nurture our parents as they become older. We make decisions regarding where they will live – whether in their own home, with you or in an elder care facility. After making this decision, however, you find there are other preparations to arrange. You may now find yourself in charge of such financial and medical matters as overseeing their insurance and day-to-day concerns like paying the bills. This is where durable powers of attorney can change things and pave the way for both you and your parent to have smoother transitions on all necessary legal matters.
Durable Power of Attorney in Michigan
A durable power of attorney enables your elderly parent (called the “principal” in the power of attorney document) to appoint an “agent,” (you), to handle specific health, legal and financial responsibilities. This document is especially important in regards to their healthcare. With the need for proper medical assistance becoming such an important issue, being able to step in and make decisions regarding your parent’s care, and their benefits under the Affordable Care Act, is vital. For instance, under this act, seniors with Medicare benefits will never have them reduced or eliminated and, will always be able to choose his or her own doctor. This is why it is essential to know what their rights are and set up the legal means to take over, if necessary, and make decisions for them before they become forgetful, terminally ill or have difficulty handling these tasks. By doing this now, while your parent is capable of deciding to seek assistance:
- First: the transfer of responsibilities occurs immediately.
- Second: if they do unfortunately, become incapacitated or incompetent, this will allow you to make many important financial decisions, pay bills and make important healthcare decisions on their behalf.
- Third: this provides an opportunity to do crucial Medicaid planning. What this means is that if your parent should need long-term care in the future, which is expensive, this can deplete their life savings before they are even allowed to become eligible for benefits such as Medicaid or Medical Assistance. Through this planning, you can help your parent protect the assets they have; including their home.
Not All Durable Powers of Attorney are Equal
One of the big issues Michigan families run into is that not all durable powers of attorney are created equal. Quite often when a durable power of attorney is reviewed it is prepared from an estate planning perspective, not an elder law one. Meaning there are limitations that won’t allow you to properly plan for VA Benefits or Medicaid because the power of attorney was drafted by someone who is not a Certified Elder Law Attorney.
Durable Power of Attorney for Your Parents
We understand that emotions involved while caring for your elderly parent can seem almost as overwhelming as the financial obligations themselves. As your loved ones age, together, we can plan a caregiving strategy. By choosing The Elder Care Firm, a practice that is dedicated to helping Michigan seniors, veterans and their families plan for and cope with the many issues that come with growing older, this will help smooth transitions and give you a better view of the scope of your responsibilities. To learn more about the durable power of attorney and speak with a lawyer who can help, please contact us today for more information.