How To Get Guardianship of An Elderly Parent?

When an older adult is not able to think clearly, their capability to make informed and meaningful decisions will be affected. The onset of Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementias, stroke, brain injury, mental illness, or other serious issues can be the cause. If the person you are caring for is not able to make rational, sound-minded decisions about their health care, finances, or other aspects of life, seeking legal guardianship might be necessary for their safety and quality of life.

getting-guardianship-of-an-elderly-parent

What Is Guardianship for Elderly Individuals?

Guardianship is a legal option in the event that an adult has not appointed a healthcare proxy or power of attorney (POA) and they are not capable of doing so anymore because of advancing age, illness, or disability. Even if they named a POA, guardianship might still be necessary especially if their POA is not durable, meaning it ends when they are incapacitated. The most common scenario is when family caregivers seek guardianship for adults with dementia and they have not made legal preparations for the future.

The definition for the term, guardianship, varies between states. In some states, guardianship gives the appointed person control over where the incapacitated individual lives, what health care they can receive, and how their daily needs are met. On the other hand, conservatorship allows the appointed person to handle the incapacitated individual’s financial decisions, such as paying bills, managing investments, and budgeting. These terms are often used interchangeably.

In order to act as someone’s legal guardian or conservator, the person petitioning for guardianship must go to court and have the incapacitated individual declared as incompetent based on an expert’s findings. If the incapacitated individual is legally ruled as incompetent and the petitioner is a fit candidate to serve as a guardian, then the court transfers the responsibility for managing finances, living arrangements, medical decisions, or any combination of these to the petitioner.

The entire process often takes a decent amount of time and money. Family members can disagree about if guardianship is necessary or who should be assigned as a guardian. It can be painful, prolonged, and costly.

What Is a Court-Appointed Guardian?

A court-appointed guardian (or conservator) has court-ordered authority to handle an incapacitated individual’s affairs. They have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the individual they are appointed to serve. Unfortunately, it strips the incapacitated individual of many rights. However, it may be the only way to obtain the legal authority to make important decisions on their behalf.

Who Can Be a Legal Guardian?

The court will hold a hearing to decide if the person seeking guardianship is fit for the role. Their relationship, criminal background, credit history, and any potential conflicts of interest are factors that go into the court’s decision.

In the case where more than one person is petitioning for responsibility for the incapacitated individual’s needs, the court will determine who is best qualified. Sometimes one person is appointed to handle the medical decisions (aka guardianship of the person) while another is appointed to manage financial matters (aka guardianship of the property). The incapacitated individual’s preferences and previously prepared legal documents (ex: Non-durable POA, a will, or advance directive) are factors for this decision.

Most states can give preference to the incapacitated individual’s spouse, adult children, or other family members because they are most familiar with the individual’s unique needs and abilities. If a loved one is not willing or not qualified to serve as a guardian then a professional guardian or public guardian might be appointed.

When Is a Guardian Appointed?

A guardian or conservator can only be assigned if a court hears evidence that an incapacitated individual lacks mental capacity in some or all areas of their life. The court also determines that the individual can no longer make informed decisions for themselves. Allegedly incapacitated individuals (not deemed incapacitated) have the right to an attorney and the right to object to the appointment of their guardian or conservator.

In rare cases, if an elder’s health and/or finances are in jeopardy, emergency guardianship may be granted right away. Be warned, guardianship is a very serious intervention and should only be considered as a last resort. 

A Guardian’s Role:

Whenever possible, the guardian or conservator must find the opinion of the incapacitated individual and can only act in areas authorized by the court. After a thorough investigation, the court can rule if guardians can be given limited or broad authority. Sometimes the court delegates responsibilities to several parties. In general, the court needs to see reports and financial accounting at regular intervals or whenever important decisions are made. For some large decisions, prior court approval can be required.

Do Guardians Receive Compensation?

All court-appointed guardians are entitled to reasonable compensation for their services. When a family guardian (a spouse, family member, or friend) is appointed, they usually do not charge the incapacitated individual for their services. If a private guardian is appointed, they are paid directly from the incapacitated individual’s estate if they can afford to. If compensation is provided, the compensation amount must be approved by the court, and the guardian must carefully account for all their services, the time their tasks require, and any associated out-of-pocket costs. Public guardians are appointed to incapacitated individuals who do not have family or friends to be their guardians or the resources to hire a professional guardian. They are funded by public money, like government funds and charitable contributions. 

Hire an Elder Care Attorney.

To learn more about the legal process of seeking guardianship or conservatorship in your state, it’s best to consult a lawyer.

For further elder care information, please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at (718) 333-2394 to receive the most highly qualified legal advice.

10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

As our loved ones age, how do you know if they are showing normal aging changes or if they are showing early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s? The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s. In 2020, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, roughly 5.8 million people were living with Alzheimer’s disease. Warning signs for Dementia vary, but changes to behavior, increasing confusion, and loss of memory are common signs. Noticing these signs early may help you and your loved one prepare for the possibility of dementia.

10 warning signs of dementia

Every dementia patient experiences different symptoms with various severities, but there are some early warning signs you can find. These are 10 signs to look out for in order to determine if a loved one should seek a comprehensive medical workup and cognitive testing for dementia.

10 Warning Signs and Symptoms of Dementia

1.) Forgetfulness and Short-Term Memory Loss

Memory loss is the most common symptom of most types of dementia. Alzheimer’s affects short-term memory first which means a person can forget information they recently learned. However, just because someone can’t remember where they put their keys or switch up names it does not mean they have Alzheimer’s. We all forget parts of a conversation from time to time, but an early symptom of dementia can result in someone forgetting entire conversations that just happened. Dementia patients may also forget important dates and events and frequently ask for the same information repeatedly. Caregivers may have to give reminders more frequently whether it's leaving notes or calling to remind them of daily tasks.

2.) Lack of Concentration and Increased Confusion

Another common symptom of dementia is getting confused about times and places and difficulty concentrating. Both can make daily activities take much longer than they used to. Dementia patients can forget where they are, how they got somewhere, and can easily get lost navigating familiar places. As dementia progresses, patients may have trouble differentiating between past, present, future events. They can lose track of seasons and general passage of time which causes them to either show up to appointments or events at the wrong time or not show up at all.

3.) Losing things

Dementia patients could start to put things in more and more unusual places. We all can misplace our car keys or house keys from time to time but finding “lost” keys in the refrigerator could be a sign of dementia. Patients could lose things and then not be able to retrace their steps to find their missing things. However harmless this may seem; this can escalate into theft accusations when they can’t find their personal belongings that they have unknowingly misplaced. Patients can become paranoid and subsequently put their things in even more unusual spots to ward off the suspected thief. Suspicion and delusions may occur in middle-to-late stage Alzheimer’s.

4.) Difficulty Doing Familiar Tasks

Dementia can also affect one’s capability to do normal daily tasks. Patients could have difficulty with coordination and remembering how to complete multi-step processes like driving, cooking, or playing a familiar game. They may start to rely more on their loved ones to do things for them. Caregivers should maximize the patient’s independence and allow them to try and figure it out but should remain cautious. Dementia can also affect depth perception, distance perception, and color perception. Caregivers may notice increased clumsiness, accidents, falls, and uncharacteristic mishaps.

5.) Language and Speech Problems

Alzheimer patients will typically have trouble recalling the right words while speaking or while writing. Some patients can use stand-in words like “thingy,” “thingamajig,” “doodad,” or “what-cha-ma-call-it” and can make up their words or terms for actions. For example, someone with dementia might call a fridge a “cold space.” Because of these confusions or impaired speech abilities, they may also stop talking or writing abruptly.

6.) Problem with Simple Math

Math may not come easy to everyone, but people in early stage dementia may have difficulty completing basic math problems. They can find it difficult to work with numbers in everyday life such as budgeting, calculating tips, or even adding and subtracting. Caregivers should remain patient when helping dementia patients with this. Patients may feel embarrassed so it’s also critical caregivers remain non judgemental, offering help or corrections as suggestions.

7.) Poor Judgement

Depending on the patient, changes in decision-making, through process, and judgement could be a sign of dementia. If a person has made risky decisions all through their life, dementia may not be the cause of their changes in decision-making. However, if a logical person who usually carefully weighs all the options and makes informed decisions suddenly begins showing poor or reckless judgement, dementia could be the cause of that. For example, if they start recklessly spending, inappropriately dressing for the weather, or falling for obvious scams (Nigerian prince) those could be a sign of dementia.

8.) Personality Changes and Mood Swings

Personality changes and mood swings could be a symptom of dementia. Patients can become fearful, suspicious, paranoid, depressed, or anxious. Someone who is usually confident may become more closed off and shy. Patients could easily become more upset when they’re frustrated especially when they are put outside of their comfort zone. Caregivers can reduce the effects by creating a calm environment and avoiding or limiting  environmental triggers such as light glare or background noises.

9.) Changes in Grooming and Personal Hygiene

Changes in grooming and personal hygiene such as not changing clothes, skipping showers, and not brushing their teeth are common signs of dementia. In addition,  neglecting basic upkeep of their home such as allowing clutter to accumulate and not cleaning at all are common signs of dementia. Caregivers may have to help patients with grooming, maintaining personal hygiene, and cleaning. However in cases where patients may refuse help, it is best to remain patient and explain to patients how you can help.

10.) Withdrawing from Friends and Family

Increased withdrawal from social events that one normally enjoys attending could be a sign of dementia. Patients may avoid social activities to prevent drawing attention to their other symptoms such as memory lapses or difficulty communicating. Patients who are aware of their signs or symptoms of dementia may be less confident in themselves which leads them to avoid interacting with their loved ones. If loved ones or caregivers notice this, reassurance and making patients feel comfortable in an environment could help.

What to do if you notice these signs?

If you recognize any of these signs and think any of your loved ones may have a form of dementia such as Alzhmeir’s, you should make a doctor’s appointment promptly. An early diagnosis is crucial as it can check for curable conditions that can mimic symptoms of dementia, devise care and treatment strategies, and make legal and financial plans for the future. Should you notice any of these signs, elder law planning may be something you need.

If you and your loved one need estate planning, please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at (718) 333-2395 for legal assistance and enquiries.

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Senior Guardianship

When an individual begins to age, it may be time to consider taking action to obtain guardianship of the senior. With age, it may become difficult to make logical decisions that would reflect one’s best interest due to the onset of Alzheimers, Dementia, etc. If an individual becomes incapacitated or unable to make decisions on their own, it is a good time to consider filing the necessary paperwork for guardianship. This will allow you to guarantee that your loved one is in good hands, as you will be responsible for making medical and financial decisions on their behalf. Since obtaining guardianship of a senior is a lengthy and challenging process, here are five commonly asked questions regarding Senior Guardianship.

Frequently Asked Questions About Senior Guardianship

  1. What is guardianship? Guardianship refers to individuals who have not yet had the opportunity to appoint a power of attorney for healthcare necessities or financial decisions. Typically, the individual in need of guardianship has become incapacitated and in need of a responsible person to make decisions according to the senior’s best interests. Guardianship allows the person to have a say in where the incapacitated individual lives, the type of healthcare they receive, and activities in their daily lives. On the contrary, a conservatorship grants a person the right to manage an individual’s financial assets and decisions. Oftentimes, it may be difficult to come to a consensus regarding the best time to file for guardianship and select which person should be the legal guardian. 
  2. What does court-appointed guardian mean? This person has a court-appointed order and right to handle the incapacitated individual’s affairs. It is their responsibility to act in the individual’s best interest to benefit the incompacitated individual. Some duties a court-appointed guardian may have pertains to selling property, managing finances, making healthcare decisions, nursing home admission decisions, etc. During the hearing, the court will make a decision regarding whether the person seeking to become a guardian is the right fit for the position. In the case that more than one individual seeks to become the guardian, then one will be selected for the purpose of medical and health related decisions, while the other will be selected for financial decisions. Typically, the court would give preferance to the incapacitated individual’s family members, such as the spouse or children because these individuals are most familiar with the needs and preferences of the incapacitated senior.
  3. When is the proper time for a guardian to be appointed? A guardian will be appointed when the court finds it evident that the incapacitated individual is unable to make decisions for themselves. The individual is unable to make logical choices regarding their physical and mental health, as well as their financial assets. The incapacitated individual has the right to appoint an attorney in the case they feel that they do not need a guardian and can make decisions for themselves. If an individual’s health and financial assets are suffering immensely, then an emergency guardian may be selected. 
  4. What tasks is the guardian responsible for accomplishing? In regards to making decisions on behalf of the incapacitated individual, the guardian is responsible for paying bills, managing real estate and other financial prospects, as well as deciding how finances are handled. The guardian must determine where the individual will live and must monitor their residence. Additionally, the guardian must provide consent for medical treatments and monitor non-medical services. The guardian should attempt to maximize the incapacitated individual’s freedom to the greatest extent possible in order to give them some independence. Lastly, a guardian must report to the court at least annually regarding how the incapacitated individual is doing and how the financial, as well as medical decisions are being managed. 
  5. As a guardian, will I receive compensation for my role? Court-appointed guardians are actually subject to compensation for their work in addressing the incapacitated individual’s financial and medical needs. If the guardian is a family member, such as a spouse or a child, then the services will be free. They will most likely not charge their incapacitated loved one in regards to obtaining compensation for their work. If a private or public guardian is appointed, then they are paid directly from the incapacitated individual’s estate if they can afford the costs. The compensation amount is typically approved by the court.

For further Guardianship information please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at 718-333-2394 to effectively file for guardianship when your loved one becomes a senior.

What are assets you can have and still qualify for Medicaid in NY?

Applying for Medicaid is quite a complex process, as the questions being asked within the application have great depth and implications for your future. The foundation system responsible for asking the questions that define your eligibility for Medicaid purposely selects specific diction and word choice which may make it challenging for elderly individuals to effectively answer the questions. Considering that these questions are the main defining factor when it comes to obtaining Medicaid coverage, family members should seek guidance from an experienced Elder Law Attorney to guide them through this imperative process. Additionally, it may be difficult to understand the limit on your assets in order to still qualify for Medicaid in New York. The attorney is quite familiar with your state’s rules when it comes to long-term care planning and receiving government benefits when it comes to ensuring that you qualify for Medicaid. The Elder Care Attorney will use her experience in the field to devise the most effective plan in assisting the family by selecting strategies that align with the family’s personal and financial circumstances.

What are assets you can have and still qualify for Medicaid in NY?

Is it possible to have assets and qualify for Medicaid?

Seniors often believe that they are not allowed to have any assets if they hope to qualify for Medicaid. However, this is quite a common misconception because there is a grand variety of assets seniors can own and still be eligible for Medicaid coverage. Many are curious to know if they can own a car, or a home, or a life insurance policy while still being eligible for Medicaid. All of these inquiries will be answered below in the 2021 Medicaid Asset Limits section. The important note to keep in mind is that all Medicaid applicants may keep up to $2,000 in countable assets while still qualifying and remaining eligible for coverage. All assets below this sum are considered non-countable assets in the eyes of the government, thus having such assets would not have a negative impact on your potential medicaid eligibility. However, any quantity of money that goes over this set limit of $2,000 becomes known as countable assets, which would have an impact on your eligibility and make it difficult for you to qualify for Medicaid in New York. 

2021 Medicaid Asset Limits:

Countable Liquid Assets- as mentioned previously, Medicaid applicants who have over $2,000 in assets will no longer be able to qualify for medicaid coverage in New York according to the state’s rules. 

  • A single applicant who is 65 years old or over may have up to a maximum of $2,000 in cash, bonds, stocks, certificates of deposits, and other assets in order to still qualify. 
  • A single applicant in the state of New York is allowed to retain $15,750 in liquid assets. 
  • The asset limits for married couples varies because it depends on state guidelines and whether only one spouse or both spouses are applying to qualify for Medicaid coverage. 

An Elder Care Attorney can assist you in understanding where you stand in terms of qualifying for Medicaid and what actions you may participate in to increase your chances of qualifying for coverage.  

Primary Residence Value- there is a way to ensure that the primary residence is exempt from consideration in regards to Medicaid qualifications, as long as it abides by the specified requirements. 

  • Most importantly, the home must be in the same state that the applicant is applying for Medicaid in. 
  • The equity value in the home, otherwise known as the fair market value minus debts if owned singly must have a value equivalent to $595,000 or less in order to still qualify for Medicaid. 
  • The applicant must continue to reside in their residence or have a strong intent to return home in the case that they are currently living in a nursing home due to their physical health conditions. An important note to consider is that if an individual must inhabit a nursing home, the home may still be exempt if the individual’s spouse or children are still living in it at this point in time. 

Funeral and Burial Funds- Medicaid will consider the value of any non-refundable, pre-paid funeral plan as exempt because you cannot obtain that money back and therefore it does not impact your potential qualification for coverage. This also pertains to irrevocable funeral trusts, however these funds are typically limited to a maximum of $15,000 or less per spouse.

Car- one car will be considered as a non-countable asset regardless of its brand, or price. This automobile, however, must be used for transportation of the applicant or any other members of the household in order for the car to be exempt from your assets when qualifying for Medicaid. 

Life Insurance Policies- Medicaid will ignore all term life insurance policies. This is because only the cash value of a life insurance policy owned by the applicant will be counted. However, in order to remain exempt and qualify for Medicaid coverage, the combined cash value of any insurance policy cannot go over the limit of $1,500. 

Property for Self Support- only the Medicaid applicant’s equity interest in any property that is considered essential to their self-support will be taken into account regarding qualifying for coverage. 

  • Any real estate properties that generate income, such as farms, rental properties, real estate investments, etc will be considered. 
  • A maximum of $6,000 of an applicant’s equity interest in the property may be exempt from their allowable assets. However, this only applies if the property is able to produce a net annual income of at least six percent of the equity value annually. 
  • All values that exceed the $6,00 maximum will be taken into account as assets, which could harm your ability to qualify for Medicaid coverage. 

An medicaid planning attorney can help you better understand these asset limits and can assist you in potentially qualifying for Medicaid even if you exceed some of these limits. Note that a senior may still be eligible for Medicaid even if their assets exceed the general limits stated above. An esteemed attorney is well aware of the rules and guidelines regarding qualifying for Medicaid coverage, thus you will attain all of the aid and guidance you need in answering all of your inquiries. 

For further Elder Care inquiries and information please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at 718-333-2394 to qualify for Medicaid coverage given the 2021 Asset limitations.

What you need to know about the stimulus relief bill

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a very stressful time for all Americans. Many individuals have been forced to file unemployment because they have been unable to work and high risk residents have faced challenges in obtaining a stable income during these unstable times. Much of the population has struggled financially on top of the emotional and physical strain the pandemic has caused. With such a discrepancy from normalcy, the people of this nation are reaching out for a helping hand and a sense of comfort during these challenging times. With Joe Biden as our new President, he has made some changes towards the Covid-19 relief stimulus checks in the effort to alleviate some of the financial hardships Americans are facing during these times.These changes greatly vary from the previous two stimulus checks you have received under President Trump based on the new qualifications and groups of individuals eligible to receive aid money. President Biden’s new $1.9 trillion bill allocates a greater magnitude of money towards relief for utility, rental, and mortgage costs, as well as more funding for schools and insurance premiums. 

All you need to know about the third stimulus relief check

Who will receive the third stimulus check?

Unlike the maximum limit of $100,000 in annual income needed to qualify for President Trump’s stimulus checks, the stimulus checks will only apply to individuals making less than $80,000 annually. However, those who do qualify will be receiving $1,400 direct payments into their bank accounts as soon as this weekend. Couples who file taxes jointly have a new income cap of $150,000 of conjoined income to receive the stimulus check. On the contrary, couples who have made a joint annual income of $160,000 or more will not be receiving a third stimulus check. The income cap for couples during the first two stimulus checks was $200,000 so be sure to note the massive change in income limit for couples when inquiring if you are qualified to receive the third stimulus check. Head of household filers, such as single parents have an income cap of $150,000. A married couple with two children is subject to receive up to $5,600 in aid. On the contrary, a single parent with two kids would receive up to $4,200 in aid. Additionally, you will receive $1,400 for each of your young dependents.The federal government will utilize your 2020 adjusted gross income based on your tax returns when determining how much aid money you are subject to in relation to your income.

Will adult dependents receive this stimulus check?

It has been decided that adult dependents will in actuality receive this stimulus check to help them cover expenses brought forth by the Covid-19 pandemic. These adult dependents potentially include college students who will be receiving $1,400. This is also a great sign in regards to including adult dependents with disabilities by granting them a stimulus check to help fund the costs they may not be able to afford because of the financial strain brought upon the population by the pandemic and its consequences on the economic state of this nation. This stimulus check will apply to four different populations that the previous two checks did not include under President Trump. President Biden’s new stimulus package will include High school students 17 or older claimed by someone else, college students claimed by someone else, elderly adults claimed by someone else, and disabled adults claimed by someone else.

How will President Biden’s new stimulus package impact the child tax credit?

The child tax credit was initially created 24 years ago with the purpose of aiding parents in helping to pay for their children due to financial difficulties. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, these financial circumstances have only increased in severity, therefore creating a directly correlated response in regards to the child tax credit. The child tax credit will be expanded to $3,600 per child under the age of 6 and $3,000 for each child under the age of 17. Based on current changes, the government will now be conducting monthly payouts instead of you having to claim the credit when you file your tax returns. Providing these monthly payments would provide regular income, rather than a large sum of money granted upon the completion of taxes. This tax credit will be a lifesaver and massive reliever for parents who have lost their jobs in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and are struggling to provide their children with everything they need to thrive. 

What impact does President Biden’s new stimulus plan have on unemployment payments?

President Biden’s new stimulus package provides a bonus of $300 per week in regards to unemployment funding. This pandemic aid will be extended until September 6 in order to help people get back on their feet after suffering job loss during these challenging times. Additionally, a new tax waiver on the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits will become available. This will extend the CARES Act Programs until early September. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits will increase to a minimum of 79 weeks, or 86 weeks in high-unemployment states. This will expand Public Emergency Employment Compensation up to a maximum of 53 weeks. The unemployment payments aim to reduce the massive poverty population within the nation and reduce the financial burden the pandemic has brought forth upon the American people. 

Does President Biden’s new stimulus package include information on food assistance programs?

Yes, President Biden will extend the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) program benefits till September to provide the populations in need of food assistance. The program, however, will not extend the Pandemic-EBT program which would have been beneficial in the face of future emergencies and crises. By providing specific grocery benefits for the meals that children miss at school due to the in-person school shutdowns, parents were able to feed their children despite the financial hardship they were facing from potentially losing their jobs during the pandemic. During the mid-January census, 24 million parents in the U.S. stated that they did not have enough food to feed their families, while prior to the pandemic only 8.5 million adults stated that they did not have enough food. Thus, President Biden’s new proposal would extend 15% maximum SNAP Benefit increase so that all the parents in need could feed their children.This would include approximately $27 more per person per month in SNAP Benefits. This would total approximately an additional $100 per month for a family of four. 

How will President Biden’s third stimulus check eligibility rules affect older adults?

If you have a pension or investments that are taxable, that would have an impact on your adjusted gross income, which would influence your eligibility for receiving the third stimulus check. If you're over age 65 and a recipient of Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance, you were eligible for the  first and second stimulus check under President Trump, and will be eligible for a third under President Biden.  Your gross income does not include any Social Security Benefits unless half your Social Security benefits plus your other gross income and any tax-exempt interest is more than $25,000 filing single or $32,000 if married, filing jointly. Qualifying relatives may be considered adult dependents and filed as such on tax paperwork. An adult who has a gross income of less than $4,200 annually and lives with the family all year can be declared an adult dependent on the tax paperwork. If you're 65 years-old or older, you should file taxes only under the following circumstances: You are a single filer with at least $13,850 in gross income or you are a head of household with at least $20,000 in gross income. Other qualifications of filing taxes after 65 years old are if you are married filing jointly (if one spouse is 65 or older, $25,700 in gross income; if both spouses are 65 or older, $27,000 in gross income), if you are married filing separately, or if you are a qualifying widow(er) age 65 or older with at least $25,700 in gross income.

For further Elder Care information please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at 718-333-2394 to be informed of your stimulus check qualifications.

How to Care for Aging Parents When you Can’t be There?

All of your life your parents have always been there to support you and guide you through your development. As a child, your parents taught you how to feed yourself, dress yourself, and helped you do all your homework. Then, when you got older, your parents were there to give you advice on which college to go to and which career would be a perfect match for your passions. They were there to support you during your marriage and took care of your children when you went to work. Your parents dedicated their lives to caring for you and now the roles have reversed. Now, it is your turn to take care of them. This can be an extremely stressful task, as it is hard to allocate time to caring for your parents, caring for your children, and working full time. At the same time, it can be even more stressful leaving your parents in the care of strangers because you can't be there to care for them. The best decision in this case is to refer to an Elder Care Attorney for guidance in making the best decision for your family. 

How to care for aging parents when you can’t be there?

An Elder Care Attorney can assist you in drafting a power of attorney and healthcare proxy.

Power of Attorney:

A power of attorney gives an individual the right to act on your behalf. There are four types of power of attorney documents that are mostly commonly utilized. These include General Power of Attorney, which means the document comes to a close when the principal becomes incapacitated, revokes the agent for the power of attorney, or passes away.The power of attorney has the power to make medical decisions on behalf of the senior in need of care. A Durable Power of Attorney enables the agent to maintain power even once the person becomes incapacitated. This implies that they can make decisions for the senior even once the senior is not in a clear and present state of mind. A Special Power of Attorney gives the agent specific limited powers within a specific area. Lastly, a Springing Durable Power of Attorney comes into place when a specific event causes the principal to become incapacitated. This document must be prepared while the individual is still competent to ensure that the agent has the power to make all of these imperative decisions when the time comes. A Power of Attorney allows the principal to appoint a specific agent who will act on their behalf in the case that they become incapacitated. Therefore, this individual must prioritize the needs and preferences of the principal by making imperative decisions. These decisions pertain to finances, healthcare, recommending a guardian, etc. This ensures that your loved one’s wishes are met through the guarantee of financial security and effective healthcare. Now you may ease your concerns about the financial and healthcare aspects of your parent’s care. The power of attorney guarantees that you will be able to act on their behalf if you are the selected agent. Therefore, you will be able to care for your parents even if you are not physically beside them every step of the way.

Health Care Proxy:

A Health Care Proxy is a document in which the patient selects an agent who will be responsible for making their medical decisions for them. When the patient is unable to make their own decisions concerning their health and overall well-being, the healthcare proxy will be the one responsible for making the imperative medical decisions. If you are the agent declared on the healthcare proxy documentation, then you are the one responsible for making all of the decisions concerning your parents health and well-being. This guarantees thay you do not have to worry about other individuals making decisions on behalf of your parents without any input from you. This is a way for you to oversee your parents health even if you are not constantly taking care of them. You should not have to choose between working full time to prove for your family, moving from a different state of residence, not being able to care for your children after school, in order to become your parent’s caregiver. There are a variety of different ways in the modern world to care for your elderly parents without having to quit your job and other responsibilities.

COVID-19 Concerns:

With the pandemic in full force, you are most likely even more concerned about the care of your elderly parents. The constant worrying if your parents have food in their fridge, if they are taking their medications, if they are safe can all be reduced and even avoided by taking the first step in hiring an Elder Care Attorney today. You deserve to know that your parents are in good hands without having to feel guilty for not being the one to physically care for them. You should not quit your job and risk being unable to pay rent and purchase necessities just so that you can can care for your aging parents, especially during the pandemic that has caused great instability within the current economic state of the United States. The final decision is yours. With the proper documents completed, you will be the one in charge of making all of the most important decisions concerning your parent’s well being. Make the decision today to hire an esteemed Elder Care Attorney who will guarantee that you will be able to care for your aging parents even if you can't be there in person.

For further Estate Planning information please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at 718-333-2394 to best prepare for your future through will drafting, power of attorney, health care proxy, and living will documentation. 

3 Legal Documents That are Needed for Caregivers to Manage a Senior’s Healthcare

Planning for your elderly loved ones is a crucial task that guarantees their safety in preparation for the future. It is imperative that all of the documents are completed in a timely fashion so that they can be utilized when the time comes. Additionally, seniors must select trusted individuals to make decisions on their behalf once they are no longer able to do so. Due to the legality behind healthcare and medical practices the laws regarding the individuals who can receive updates on the senior are very specific. In order to partake in medical decisions and conversations with your loved one’s doctor you must have the eligible qualification that entrust you with such information. If you would like to be the one responsible for making medical decisions on the senior’s behalf, you should complete the proper documents that would grant you this authority. These documents will be supplied to you by an Elder Care attorney and you will be assisted in the task of filling them out completely. If you do not complete these documents prior to needing to make medical decisions on behalf of your loved one, then you must go to court to petition for guardianship. This is an absolute last effort that should be avoided at all costs, as it takes time away from your ability to make medical decisions for your loved one.

Most Important Documents for Managing a Senior’s Healthcare

Document #1: Power of Attorney

A power of attorney gives an individual the right to act on your behalf. There are four types of power of attorney documents that are mostly commonly utilized. These include General Power of Attorney, which means the document comes to a close when the principal becomes incapacitated, revokes the agent for the power of attorney, or passes away.The power of attorney has the power to make medical decisions on behalf of the senior in need of care. A Durable Power of Attorney enables the agent to maintain power even once the person becomes incapacitated. This implies that they can make decisions for the senior even once the senior is not in a clear and present state of mind. A Special Power of Attorney gives the agent specific limited powers within a specific area. Lastly, a Springing Durable Power of Attorney comes into place when a specific event causes the principal to become incapacitated. This document must be prepared while the individual is still competent to ensure that the agent has the power to make all of these imperative decisions when the time comes .A Power of Attorney allows the principal to appoint a specific agent who will act on their behalf in the case that they become incapacitated. Therefore, this individual must prioritize the needs and preferences of the principal by making imperative decisions. These decisions pertain to finances, healthcare, recommending a guardian, etc. This ensures that your loved one’s wishes are met through the guarantee of financial security and effective healthcare choices when the principal becomes unable to make the decisions on their own.

Document #2: HIPAA Authorization Form

The acronym HIPAA stands for the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. This form guarantees that an individual’s health information and records will remain private under the legal jurisdiction of the act. With the presence of this form medical professionals are unable to share any information regarding your health or status to others without legal consent in written form. However, if your name is stated in the form then the doctor has the right to inform you of the patient’s care. If your name is written in the form it implies that you are an approved family member and therefore eligible to ask any questions and receive all medical information regarding the care and status of your loved one. The individual receiving the care must sign the HIPPA form in order to give consent for family members to be involved in the medical decision process. Only the minimum information necessary will be communicated, so do not worry about all of your information being communicated. Therefore, you are greatly encouraged to complete this form to ensure that you are authorized and eligible to receive updates on your loved one’s medical status.

Document #3: Advance Healthcare Directive 

This document is a perfect preparation for the foreseeable future, as it serves a similar purpose to a will document. The individual communicates their healthcare preferences in the case that they become incapacitated and cannot make decisions for themselves. This document dictates directions for the medical power of attorney to follow to ensure that the senior’s best interest is prioritized. In the case that the patient is in need of resuscitation, this document should state whether resuscitation should occur or if the patient wishes not to be resuscitated. All of the serious medical decisions concerning life support and the decision to donate organs are stated within the document to guarantee that the patient is treated in the exact manner he would have preferred if he were able to make his own decisions in the moment.Be sure to discuss all of the potential medical necessities and healthcare issues with your loves one, so that you are fully aware of their wishes and best interests.  An attorney can assist you with drafting a valid Advance Healthcare Directive that will abide by your state’s laws. Take the time now to best prepare for your loved one’s future by planning for their healthcare in advance. 

Although it may be difficult to come up with a way to discuss the topic with your loved ones, the conversation is definitely worth having. The best way to begin this conversation would be to state that you are interested in creating a healthcare plan for your future and would like some advice. During this process, your elderly loved ones will realize that they too are in need of Elder Care Planning. This will be the perfect moment to take note of their preferences and desires regarding the manner in which they wish to be cared for. Schedule an appointment with your local Elder Care Attorney to begin the journey of planning for a better future. The attorney will provide a detailed outline of all the steps and documents you must follow and complete. You will be guided throughout the entire process and will have all of the support necessary because growing older should not be an end to your journey, rather just a stepping stone. 

For further Elder Care Planning information please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at 718-333-2394 to effectively plan for your elderly loved one’s future.

Why Elder Law Attorneys Aren’t Just For Seniors?

An Elder Law Attorney serves as an advocate for the elderly and their loved ones when it comes to the legal issues related to healthcare and financial assets. Individuals who have reached an old age or are approaching the 65 benchmark should consider hiring an Elder Law attorney to assist them with the matter of retirement, social security, Medicaid, long term care planning, guardianship, disability, etc. An Elder Care Attorney will address the importance of creating an estate plan composed of a will, trust, health care proxy, power of attorney, and letter of intent in order to effectively prepare for the future. There are numerous benefits to hiring an Elder Law attorney, some of which include guidance in long term care planning, assistance in creating a durable power of attorney, aid in receiving Social Security benefits, and protection against elder abuse. Elder Law Attorneys are specialists in their field, as they have much experience handling similar cases related to the specific needs of seniors. The attorney will utilize a holistic approach in ensuring that the key issues pertaining to long-term care, housing, well-being, and financial asset protection adhere to the wishes of the elderly individual. In terms of requiring assistance in creating trusts and wills for an elderly loved one, an esteemed Elder Attorney will be able to guarantee that the documents have the individual’s best interests at heart. The lawyer will work with you to protect your assets in the best manner possible to ensure that necessary payments are made on the home and other personal costs, while making sure that there is no form of financial exploitation of assets that could harm your loved ones.

Elder Law Attorneys Aren't Just for the Elderly

Benefits to Hiring and Elder Care Attorney:

1)Guidance in long term care planning

In the case that an individual’s physical and mental health declines, a long-term care facility is typically the most effective plan of care for the individual. When considering which long-term care facility is most effective for your loved one’s needs be sure to also note that the payment plan for this facility is within your price range. An Elder Care Attorney can assist you in obtaining long-term care insurance that will help cover the expenses of care, as prices are on the rise in NY. In the case that long-term care insurance is out of your financial budget, an Elder Care Attorney can assist in qualifying for Medicaid. You are guaranteed to make the best long term care decision possible for your loved one if you seek proper instruction and assistance from an experienced attorney.

2)Assistance in creating a durable power of attorney

A durable power of attorney serves to grant a third party the ability to make decisions and take actions on behalf of the individual who has become incapacitated, as they are no longer able to make decisions independently. An Elder Care Attorney prefers a durable power of attorney rather than just the typical power of attorney because the durable document remains functional even after the individual loses the ability to make decisions for themselves. On the contrary, the typical document would only function if the individual has not become mentally incapacitated. An attorney will guide you through the process of filling out this document to ensure that your future is well planned for. 

3) Aid in receiving Social Security Benefits

An Elder Care Attorney works to guarantee that you are receiving all of the benefits you deserve based on your current age and overall health. Once you reach the age of 67 you are subject to receive the full Social Security benefits. If you have reached this age and are not receiving your full benefits, an attorney will advocate on your behalf and work to grant you your benefits. If you have a disability and are subject to receive disability benefits, then the attorney will assist you in obtaining those benefits by following a similar legal procedure. According to NY State regulations, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) guarantees that you may begin collecting benefits after 6 months since the start of your disability. With the support of an esteemed Elder Care Attorney, you will certainly receive all of the benefits you rightfully deserve.

4)Protection against elder abuse

With the current foundation, research has shown that many elderly residents in nursing homes are facing unjust treatment. An Elder Care Attorney will work with you by representing your loved ones who have been the victims of physical violence, emotional mistreatment, or financial fraud. The attorney will not just provide guidance on the following steps, but will ensure that justice is served and your loved one will never be treated in this manner ever again. The attorney will advocate for the rights of your loved one to guarantee that they are being properly cared for and looked after, especially during these troubling and challenging times.

So, In Sum, Why Elder Law Attorneys Aren’t Just For Seniors?

Elder Law Attorneys work to assist individuals in creating a plan for their future to ensure that the individuals interests and best wishes are clearly declared. These individuals are not always seniors. As a matter of fact, it is recommended that you hire an Elder Care Attorney prior to the age of 65. It is always better to be prepared for anything, rather than procrastinate on preparing for your future. Many individuals fall victim to the assumption that they have an unlimited period of time left to get all of their assets and legal information together. The unfortunate truth is that life is inexplicable and unexpected events can occur at any point in time. In the case that an individual does not have an elder care in place prior to the point in time when they biome incapacitated, then their loved ones must embark in the costly and lengthy process of earning the legal authority to act on their loved one’s behalf. It is encouraged that you avoid waiting because the guardianship legal procedures associated with waiting too long to create an elder care plan are very complex and expensive. If individuals do not take the time to create a will, then they will not be able to decide how they would like their assets to be distributed or how their minor children would be cared for. The court would then be responsible for distributing your assets and estates, which may not align with your wishes. It is certainly better to be well prepared ahead of time, rather than at a loss when the time comes. Make the decision today to protect yourself and your loved ones by hiring an Elder Care Attorney to draft all of your legal documents and create a plan for the future. 

For Elder Care inquiries please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at 718-333-2394 to best prepare your legal documents for the future.