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November Is Caregivers Month: Legal Planning for Sick & Disabled Loved Ones

November Is Caregivers Month: Legal Planning for Sick & Disabled Loved Ones

November is Caregivers Month, which is an important time to recognize individuals dealing with the burdens and responsibilities of caring for sick and/or disabled loved ones. Marietta Georgia elder law attorney Steve Worrall talks here about how pre-planning and communication can make the caregiver’s job mush easier.

Caregivers often become burnt out, depressed, and sick themselves, assuming that the reason they are having such a hard time in their role of caregiver must be due to the fact that they are “letting their loved one down” and not providing the “level and quality” of care that they should be.

But, caregivers across our state might be relieved to know that the struggles and frustrations they face have less to do with them being a “bad caregiver” and more to do with a lack of pre-planning and communication.

Unfortunately, no one ever anticipates becoming ill or disabled to the point that they would be unable to care for themselves. That means, in most cases, the person you are caring for right now never intended to have you in this role—leaving both you and them unprepared and ill-equipped for the future.

The simple solution to get everyone back on the same page, while more effectively managing stress and expectations, is to begin having open and direct conversations about the future and possible long-term care hurdles that may arise. 

These conversations may be uncomfortable to have and may even be met with resistance from your loved one; however, addressing long-term care issues in a direct way will ensure everyone is on the same page and that there’s enough time to put a solid plan in place to carry out your loved one’s wishes, while safeguarding their independence, finances, and future well-being.

To get the conversations rolling, here are a few key issues to begin discussing with your loved one. Approach them gently with your loved one’s continued independence and best wishes in mind as you ask:

  • What are your wishes for emergency or end-of-life medical care (i.e. life support, feeding tubes, blood transfusions, organ donation)?
  • Are there any lifesaving procedures you would NEVER want?
  • Who do you trust to make medical decisions and communicate with your doctors if you are unable to speak for yourself?
  • If at all possible, would you prefer in-home assistance?
  • If you needed nursing home or in-home care, how would you want us to pay for it? What if Medicare or Medicaid is not an option?
  • Do you have a will, trust or other estate planning documents in place? Where can we find them, and are they up to date?
  • Who have you named in your “legal helper” roles (i.e. Power of Attorney, Healthcare Representative)? Where can we find the documentation we need to handle your affairs in an emergency?

In all, you will find that knowing your loved one’s wishes in these different situations will make your job as a caregiver much easier, as you will be prepared to make appropriate decisions under pressure and avoid many of the financial struggles that families face when attempting to secure long-term care.  Don’t forget to also stay in close contact with your estate and disability planning attorney, who will help you utilize legal tools such as Living Trusts and Powers of Attorney in order to stay in control and protect family assets from being lost to creditors, nursing homes and/or the government.

Steve Worrall is a Marietta Georgia estate planning and elder law attorney at Georgia Estate Plan: Worrall Law LLC. For a Caregivers Legal and Life Planning guide, please visit Hope4Caregivers. com

It’s National Estate Planning (for Seniors) Awareness Week 2017

It’s National Estate Planning (for Seniors) Awareness Week 2017

In 2008, Congress declared the third week in October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. This week is to be used for estate planning attorneys to spread the word about their services and why it is so important to put together an estate plan. We think it’s equally important to let East Cobb seniors know the importance of planning with an East Cobb elder law attorney to address the possibility of needing long term care.

Here are a few common misconceptions people have about elder law plans:

  • I’m too young for an elder law plan. WRONG!
    The sooner you plan, the less likely you will lose your savings to the high costs of long term care. Tragedy can strike anyone at any time. It’s best to hope for the best but plan for the worst.
  • Elder law plans are just for the rich. WRONG!
    Very few of us can afford to pay thousands of dollars a month out of pocket for care. Working with an elder law attorney to put a comprehensive plan in place can save you and your loved ones not just tens of thousands of dollars, but it will lessen the emotional turmoil on your family.
  • When I die, my kids will obviously just get everything. WRONG!
    Probate court is no place any family wants to be after a loved one dies. Creating an elder law plan is the only sure method to stay out of the courts, avoid unnecessary court fees, and make sure that your specific wishes are carried out.

We encourage you to use this week to bust these planning myths. Call our East Cobb Elder Law Attorneys today at 770-425-6060 and schedule an appointment to learn about what an elder law attorney really does and how we can help you protect the things you care about and the people you love the most. Take the time and learn how every family, and yours especially, could benefit from our services in one way or another.