May 23, 2017 – Deciding on elder care can be an uncertain time for many folks. Elders and their family caregivers often face a mix of legal and financial difficulties on a daily basis. Be sure to make informed decisions by understanding the decisional capacity of your family member and your legal authority as a caregiver. It is important for you, the caregiver, to assist loved ones in making financial, legal and health-care decisions they are no longer capable of making themselves.
Here are some tips to help you manage those complicated issues and protect your assets:
- Complete a Healthcare Power of Attorney. Completing a Health Care Power of Attorney can provide guidelines for making important healthcare decisions. Carefully complete this form with your loved one to ensure that a trusted individual is appointed as a Health Care Agent.
- Complete a Financial Power of Attorney. Complete a Financial Power of Attorney to designate a trustworthy individual to manage your specific financial needs. It is important to pay careful attention to the specific needs of you and your loved one when drafting a Power of Attorney to avoid financial exploitation. Also keep in mind that powers of attorney do not recognize Social Security and Veterans Benefits and those benefits must be managed through the SSA or VA directly.
- Recognize signs of exploitation and discrimination. It is important for caregivers to be vigilant against elder abuse and neglect and remember to take action when you witness injustice.
- Remember that caregivers have rights too! The Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid-job protected leave per year to care for immediate family members, such as your child, spouse or parent. You cannot be discriminated against by your employer if you need to take any periodic or unplanned time off to care for a sick loved one.
If you are interested in hiring a qualified attorney to protect you or your loved one’s financial assets, to hire a power of attorney, or to further understand your legal rights as a caregiver, contact the Boston Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service to be connected with a qualified attorney. Call us at 617-742-0625 or submit an online request form today!