How To Choose A Long-Term Care Attorney, POA And Financial Advisor

Posted by Machelle Thompson on Jul 7, 2015 8:38:00 AM

how-to-choose-long-term-care-attorney-financial-advisorThe success of your loved one’s elder care plan depends on creating legal and financial relationships that serve as part of a comprehensive support network. No matter which type of geriatric care service you and your senior decide upon, you should choose an attorney to assist with estate planning, a healthcare Power Of Attorney and a financial advisor.

These preparations are helpful when selecting a senior care service that meets the financial and health-related requirements of your senior’s long-term care plan. For example, a financial advisor is able to offer guidance on whether advanced at-home care is the right option for your loved one based on cost.

Ensure peace of mind for both you and your aging senior by taking the following steps as you plan for the most appropriate long-term care option.

Choose An Attorney To Assist With Estate Planning

While it may be uncomfortable for you and your loved one to think about the subject of creating a will or trust, these are important documents that may ease stress and reduce financial penalties of probate and a lack of planning. Choosing an attorney with experience in estate planning is an important step in this process, as many costly and complicated situations may arise from improper estate planning. Some of the hazards that may occur include loss of tax and inheritance benefits, as well as increased risks for families to become divided.

Whether your senior has limited assets and requires a simple will or trust, or has extensive assets and requires complex estate planning, it is very important to complete this step. Your senior’s estate plan will include instructions regarding their wishes for the distribution of assets, as well as designate their Durable Power of Attorney for Finance and Healthcare. A Durable Power of Attorney is usually one of the following individuals:

  • A family member
  • A friend
  • A bank trust officer
  • A professional fiduciary

A Financial Power of Attorney is responsible for paying your senior’s bills and overseeing finances should your loved one be unable to act as their own agent due to illness or mental incapacity. It is important to choose someone both you and your loved one trust.

Your attorney also has the expertise to provide you with guidance regarding the most appropriate course of action given your senior’s financial situation and support system. Please note that it is critical to have your estate planning documents completed while your loved one has the capacity to make decisions independently.

Establish A Healthcare Power Of Attorney (POA)

A healthcare POA acts as your senior’s agent to make healthcare decisions on their behalf, should your loved one be unable to act on their own due to illness or decline in cognitive function. A backup POA will also be established, should the primary be unavailable or unable to serve.

Your senior’s trust documents include their healthcare POA; however, the POA forms are also available to be downloaded at no cost and taken to a notary for proof of signature should your senior not have a trust.

Given the urgency of many medical situations and the likelihood that your loved one may be unable to act on their own behalf, a healthcare POA is a critical component of your senior’s long-term care plan. Depending on the depth of a senior’s support system and health status, they may also need to plan for a Conservator in the future. A Conservator may be a family member or personal friend selected in advance, or a professional Conservator may be appointed by the court.

Consult A Financial Advisor

A financial advisor or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) will help you and your loved one design a long-term solution to problems you may encounter with affording senior care.

With the assistance of a CFP, you determine what steps to take in preparation for a long-term care plan and how to design the plan based on your senior’s financial circumstances. A financial advisor determines what is reasonable and possible given the price of various care options. Taking into consideration your senior’s overall financial and health status, a financial planner also advises whether a long-term care insurance policy is right for your loved one.

Geriatric Care Managers may be a valuable resource for you and your financial planner in determining your projected care needs over time, as well as the cost of such services in your area. GCMs frequently collaborate with families and financial planners, as they have the expertise to evaluate your loved one’s health history, current needs and projected care needs given this information. They are also very knowledgeable regarding the types of housing and care options in your area, as well as the associated costs.

You may feel encouraged that the positive professional relationships your loved one develops when the arrangements for a suitable care plan have been made provide your loved one with additional security.

Your chosen elderly care service is often able to offer guidance on choosing an attorney to assist with estate planning, a healthcare POA and a financial advisor. Experienced Geriatric Care Managers are another valuable resource when creating a long-term care plan.

Interested in learning more about how advanced home care fits within your loved one’s care plan? Discover everything you need to know about at-home care and other senior care services.

Download My Long-Term Care Guide


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