Everyone Needs Advance Healthcare Directive, Durable Power of Attorney

One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The best way to plan for your own end of life wishes, is by having these two important documents in place.

The numbers are unsettling. If one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, chances are good that you or someone you love will likely endure this diagnosis, according to the Press Herald’s article “Planning for Incapacity: Advance Healthcare Directive and Durable Power of Attorney.” The smart thing to do is to take the opportunity in advance to deal with the tough issues, while the person is still legally competent.

The best way to plan for end-of-life wishes is to have two very important documents in place:

A healthcare directive documents end-of-life wishes and gives one or more people the legal right to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, while you are living.

A durable power of attorney is similar to a healthcare directive but is focused more on financial matters.

What often happens is that people wait until they are “old enough” to have these documents created. That is a big mistake. We never know when they will be needed, and we never know what the future will bring. However, it is safe to assume that at some point, these documents will be needed.

For adult children, keep an eye on your aging parent’s orientation. If you see a marked change in behavior, if they seem not to know what day/date/time it is, or if you see them appearing confused about things they used to handle with no issues, then it’s time to start talking and planning. Don’t neglect to speak with other family members, so you are all on the same page. That will make the process easier going forward.

When considering who should be named, think about the people who know your loved ones well, are familiar with their values and wishes and are in the best position to advocate on their behalf. One person might be very good with finances, and another might have the knack for navigating health care issues and caregivers. There needs to be a conversation about their responsibilities and expectations, should they take on the role.

What if these documents aren’t created in time?

Here’s where things can get expensive, time-consuming and stressful. Without these and other estate planning documents in place, the court has to become involved with guardianship and conservatorship planning.

Among other problems, it is possible that the court may appoint someone you and your family may not know to be responsible for their financial and medical well-being. Having a healthcare directive and a durable power of attorney in place, will ensure that the family remains in charge of their loved ones.

Reference: Press Herald (May 20, 2019) “Planning for Incapacity: Advance Healthcare Directive and Durable Power of Attorney.”

Hear From Our Clients

“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”

- Bonnie

Cindy and her company treat their clients like family. Nelson’s offers clear, direct, and honest guidance in planning for your families security and future. No one wants to actively sit down and make these decisions, but Nelson’s makes this process seamless. I was so impressed with their willingness to answer all questions big or small. So glad I made the decision have them help my mom and dad and now me. You can’t go wrong with Nelson’s Elder Care Law.

- Hope

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

- Kerri

I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce