What Legal Documents Do Seniors Need?
Aging is a normal part of life, and there comes a time when elders require extra support. If they are wounded, become ill, or acquire dementia, they may require assistance with decision-making and ensuring their affairs are in order. This may be a difficult time for families, but with early planning, the process can go more easily.
There are several important papers that seniors should create while they are still of sound mind and capable of making decisions for themselves. Ensure that all documents are kept together in a safe place where a trusted family member or friend may access them if necessary. Here are a few pointers to get you started:
Work with a financial advisor to get banking and bill pay in order. Make a list of recurring bills, when they are due, and how they are paid. Make a list of your bank account numbers, credit card details, debts or obligations, investments such as stocks or bonds, and sources of income. Check with your bank to see if you might give someone else access to your financial accounts to pay payments. Seniors should also name a durable financial power of attorney.
Compile crucial financial papers such as:
- Deeds to any property
- Any vehicle’s title and registration
- Policies of insurance
- Most recent income tax return
If family members are unsure what their loved ones would prefer, making healthcare decisions can be stressful. Seniors should express their desires before becoming incapable. Some useful documents are:
- Advanced Directive: This document specifies the type of care the person desires, such as ventilators, feeding tubes, or resuscitation.
- Durable Power of Attorney: This specifies the person who will make medical choices on behalf of the senior if they cannot do it themselves.
- Release of Information: This allows healthcare practitioners or organizations authorization to share healthcare information with approved persons.
- Insurance information– Make copies of any health insurance cards and policies, as well as any long-term care insurance.
- Emergency information– Write down the names and phone numbers of any healthcare professionals, the dates of any operations or procedures performed, data about any medical issues, and an updated list of all drugs taken in case of an emergency.
Other Crucial Documents
There are a couple more papers to keep in mind:
- Revocable Trust: Seniors determine who and when will receive what property or assets. When they die, having this contract in place prevents a lengthy probate procedure and keeps choices private rather than public.
- Will: This form specifies how the senior’s assets should be distributed and who should care for any dependents.
- End-of-Life Planning: Seniors may wish to write down instructions for what happens when they die and the sort of memorial they desire. Some individuals pay for funeral services or burial sites in advance.
- Copies of birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, military records, and other legal papers should be gathered.
The better prepared and organized elders and their families are, the simpler things may be during crises or end-of-life care. These are unpleasant issues to contemplate or discuss, but having these discussions and putting legal documentation in place is critical. Don’t forget to tell any caregivers about crucial information such as advanced directives and emergency contacts.
Learn how non-medical in-home care may help your loved one’s plans and improve their quality of life. Contact Always Best Care (East Bay) at (925) 210-0323 to schedule a free consultation.