What Should Loved Ones be Made Aware of When Seniors are Returning to Nursing Homes After a Hospital Stay?

When your elderly loved ones are returning to a nursing home from a hospital, there are a number of things that you should be made aware of. Understanding what documents are protecting their medical records and attaining healthcare authority or access to healthcare records is essential to managing a loved one’s care. The following information will help make sure that you’re fully prepared to answer any questions regarding the care of an elderly individual in your family.

returning to senior housing after a hospital stay

HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, has a significant influence on providing medical care for loved ones. This federal law was passed in 1996 to preserve the privacy of medical data about persons. It mandates that healthcare providers and insurance companies maintain medical information private and safe. Unless the patient gives explicit permission, this information cannot be shared. This gives individuals more control over their health information and the ability to regulate who has access to it.

With the public's interest in COVID-19 instances heightened, many people want to know if anyone in their neighborhood has tested positive. HIPAA's right to privacy clashes with this demand for knowledge. HIPAA protects patients' medical information even in the midst of a global epidemic.

HIPAA-protected information includes: 

- any and all confidential info in a patient's medical record 

- any discussions or information collected by a doctor or medical experts, and 

- information on medical billing

A patient can allow their caregiver access to patient data regarding their care by signing a HIPAA authorization form. In many cases, having access to this information allows a caregiver to make better judgments about the patient's treatment. This also enables caregivers to interact directly with a patient's doctor in coordinating treatment and care amongst medical organizations, as well as to negotiate and pay medical expenses on behalf of the patient.

Upon Discharge, Re-evaluation of Physical and Cognitive Abilities is Suggested

Although relatives may be under a lot of stress as discharge day approaches for their loved one, it's a good idea for them to discover how changes in their loved one's condition will affect whether their requirements can still be addressed in their present community and the expense of the nursing home. Reading the community's qualifying requirements for resident admittance is an excellent place to start.

A cognitive evaluation is usually performed upon initial admission and whenever a resident's health changes in order to evaluate their physical and mental skills and identify their care needs. Workers at a loved one's senior care facility should communicate with family members and hospital personnel, such as physicians, social workers, and therapy departments, to assess the patient's changing needs and whether or not the community can satisfy them. Caregivers should be proactive in ensuring that the care team communicates well.

In light of COVID-19, How Have Nursing Home Regulations Changed?

CMS released guidelines on how nursing homes should respond to the pandemic as the number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities rose. In a February 2020 informative bulletin, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) encouraged health care institutions to evaluate the COVID-19 guidance and recommendations, as well as their own infection control policies. 

With the primary focus on the challenges confronting nursing homes and state survey agencies as they respond to the pandemic, legislators may reconsider whether federal Medicare and Medicaid requirements should be adapted to improve oversight and whether extra capital is required to support providers and agencies in ensuring adequate resources.

How Are The Federal Requirements for Nursing Home Oversight Enforced?

States usually conduct frequent inspections known as surveys to ensure nursing facility compliance with federal Medicare and/or Medicaid standards. States get 75 percent federal matching money for Medicaid nursing facility survey and certification activities, whereas Medicare SNF survey and certification activities are financed by a discretionary appropriation.

The penalties for institutions that are found to be outside of compliance with federal regulations differ based on whether the defect is considered to directly threaten the health or safety of patients.

Civil money penalties (CMPs) can be assessed for the number of days a facility is not in significant compliance or for each occurrence of noncompliance. CMPs can vary from $6,525 to $21,393 for inadequacies that provide an immediate threat, and from $107 to $6,417 for defects that do not pose an immediate threat but either caused actual harm or have the potential to create more than minor injury.

If the individual you are caring for does not have a Healthcare Power of Attorney, it is advised that you persuade them to sign a HIPAA release and maintain copies of these documents in their file. This enables you to contact medical experts as well as any other family members to whom the patient has provided permission. 

For more information on creating a POA for your loved ones please contact The Law Office of Inna Fershteyn (718) 333-2395 for an experienced and diligent elder attorney who can guide you through this process.

Potential Challenges When Naming a POA

A Power of Attorney (POA) is the most important document needed for estate planning. A POA grants an individual, known as a principal or grantor, the right to make health and/or financial decisions for someone else. Seniors usually appoint an adult child as their grantor as their mental and/or physical health deteriorates. While the legal process of obtaining a POA may be quick, the emotional burden is a heavy one. Family members often argue over who can be trusted and will treat their duties with the utmost responsibility. In order to decide who qualifies under this position, it is important to understand what a POA is and what actions the grantor has control of. 

Family Members Feud Over POA

Common Factors in Deciding Who To Name as POA

In many cases, a senior acknowledges their eldest child or child that lives closest to serve as a POA. However, in other cases individuals choose to take other factors into consideration before making a serious decision. Seniors will make their decision on preconceived notions of their child’s history maintaining their personal finances. If the elder knows that their son/daughter is thousands of dollars in debt and spends their money carelessly, then they will be less likely to trust them as their POA. In contrast, if a child is in a related profession, then the elder will be more likely to trust them with control of financial or medical decisions. Professions such as nurses, doctors, bankers, and accountants fall under this category. 

Potential Problems Naming Joint or Co–Agents as POA

At the same time that seniors may have a difficult time determining who to acknowledge as their POA, their children may also not want to take on the role. When the senior finally chooses who to name their POA, other children may exhibit emotions of disappointment and/or anger. Picking one child over another implies that the latter is unfit to take on the responsibility. To prevent a feud from occurring, there are ways in which responsibilities can be divided between siblings. 

POA obligations are divided into two categories: medical and financial. Of course, one individual may take on both obligations, but it is also possible to split them between two people. By granting separate responsibilities to each child, they will feel that their perspectives are equally viable in determining their parent’s elder care. It also allows them to work together as a team when the two obligations cross paths. 

An alternative option is to name consecutive agents when drafting a POA. In this scenario, if a designated grantor is unable or refuses to uphold their obligations as POA, then a secondary agent will take over their position. While this may not improve present sibling tensions, it highly guarantees that a responsible individual will preside over the elder’s decisions. In this case, even if a child refuses to serve as POA, there will always be someone to take on the role in consecutive order as listed by the elder. It is always a good idea to have a backup plan to ensure the elder is taken care of at all times. 

A more likely solution to a sibling feud is to name them as co–agents in the POA document. Co–agents have an equal say on all decisions made for their parents easing tensions between the two. However, it is important to note that not all states allow for a co–agent option and also vary in the ways in which these two can act on decisions together when drafting POA. To find out whether co–agents are a feasible option in your state, it is best to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable licensed attorney. On the downside, co–agents are granted joint powers of attorney, meaning they cannot make independent decisions on any matters. Therefore, when naming co–agents, it is crucial that the two individuals have established a positive and productive relationship. Once again, this legal binding only exists in some states. To find out whether co–agents may act independently in your state, you should always consult with an attorney. 

The POA Decision and Potential Family Aftermath

Some families do not face any obstacles when appointing POA. However, the hardships commence when the agent begins to administer their duties. Oftentimes, siblings disagree over whether the agent carries out their duties in an efficient and responsible manner. 

Questioning the Validity of the POA Document and Actions of the Agent

Sibling rivalry oftens unleashes conflict over POA. Siblings who aim to sabotage the named POA will accuse them of taking advantage of their mentally disabled parents. In some cases, they may accuse them of forcing their parents to sign a POA even if it was signed under legitimate circumstances. Unfortunately, even if the agent has abided by all legalities, these accusations may lead to a long and stressful investigation. 

Unwilling to Follow the Principal’s Wishes

A designated agent must uphold a legal responsibility to ensure that all decisions are made in the best interests of the individual they represent. Even if personal opinion conflicts with best financial or medical interests, the agent must put their opinion aside. For example, a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order often classifies as a conflict of interest. If an agent does not follow the principal’s wishes, they can be sued at any time. 

When the POA is not the Hands-On Caregiver

Issues tend to arise when the appointed POA is not the same individual that provides full time care to the principal. This creates animosity between the caregiver and POA. For instance, it is frustrating if one sibling lives with and cares for their mother, while another sibling has full control over medical and financial decisions. This situation may cause miscommunication and/or lack of agreement on what is best for the principal. 

For all of your elder law needs, please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at (718) 333-2395.

Why a Letter of Competency Should Be Part of Every Senior’s Legal File

With old age comes an inevitable decline in one’s cognitive and mental health, complicating the process for seniors in the midst of their legal planning. If you are a senior who is making arrangements for your future, you might consider adding a Letter of Competency to your file of legal documents. Obtaining a Letter of Competency is especially crucial if you believe there might be any contention regarding the validity of your documents. A Letter of Competency will prevent your documents—such as your will and Powers of Attorney—from being challenged by an incompetency claim. By eliminating any doubts or questions about your mental capacity at the time that your documents were being prepared, you can minimize the chances of familial discord arising.

Prepared Senior with Letter of Competency

Reasons for a Letter of Competency

While it is impossible to predict whether a sibling, grandchild, stepparent, or other family member will challenge the validity of an aging loved one's legal papers, it happens often. Some of these cases even end up in costly and time-consuming guardianship proceedings. Others lead to legal proceedings in which the will of a loved one is contested. These arguments can tear families apart and destroy relationships.

It seems superfluous to ask for more proof of mental capacity when revising or creating legal documents, but there is no harm in prevention and protection. The time and energy required to attend a doctor's appointment and receive a letter of competency is minimal compared to the emotional turmoil and legal costs associated with a trial or investigation by Adult Protective Services (APS).

How a Letter of Competency Works & Who Can Provide One

The certificate of competency is usually written by a primary care physician who is familiar with the patient’s initial physical and mental health changes. In some cases, it may be a good idea to obtain this letter from a doctor who specializes in cognitive or mental health, such as a neurologist or psychiatrist.

Obtaining a letter of competency at the time one’s will, Power of Attorney forms, advance directive, and any other legal documents are drafted and signed will help dispel any suspicions that these documents were produced while lacking the mental capacity to make sound medical, financial, and legal decisions. 

Attorneys are prohibited from helping incompetent individuals change or create legal documents, but the legal definition of incompetence is slightly different from the medical definition of mental capacity. To ensure that a person can make legal and medical decisions about their health care, finances, and property, any doubts about the validity of their documents should be removed.

What a Letter of Competency Includes

A Letter of Competency should be printed on the physician’s letterhead and include the following pieces of information:

  • The patient’s name & date of birth
  • The date on which the patient-physician was first established 
  • The physician’s statement affirming the patient’s ability to make independent decisions regarding finances, legal matters, and healthcare
  • Relevant medical diagnoses & each of their dates
  • The physician’s contact information

In addition to the information mentioned above, it is wise to work with an elder law attorney to determine if any other facts or supporting evidence should be included in the letter. The original letter should be filed with the corresponding legal documentation and kept in a secure location. Your attorney should also have all of your documents, including the letter, readily available. It is recommended that your physician keep a copy of the letter in your medical file as well.

How to Obtain a Letter of Competency

This letter may be requested from a primary care physician with whom the patient is familiar and has an established relationship. The physician should be able to recognize any changes in the patient’s baseline mental and physical health. In certain cases, it may make more sense to request the letter from a specialist in mental or cognitive health.

An attorney should be able to determine when it is necessary to obtain the letter from a specialist rather than a primary care physician.

The basic legal planning recommended for seniors can be a confusing and lengthy process to navigate on your own. Taking every precaution to ensure the legal validity of your documents will reduce the potential for dispute in the future. If you need a highly qualified and experienced attorney to guide you through this process, please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at (718) 333-2395 to have all of your questions answered,

How to Determine a Senior Needs Help at Home

Ensuring that the needs of our loved ones are met is one of the biggest responsibilities we face as they age. Although we would like our elderly parents to remain independent for as long as possible, there may come a time when they can no longer take care of themselves. It is important to start proper legal/financial planning and research long-term care options ahead of time, before any significant changes in their physical and mental abilities occur. It is crucial that you are prepared to provide them with the necessary support when they start to show signs of needed assistance.

senior-assistance

Signs a Senior Needs Help at Home

These are typical signs that an elderly person may require home assistance or a higher level of care: 

  • Difficulty Performing Activities of Daily Living 
      1. Bathing and grooming
      2. Dressing
      3. Toileting
      4. Continence
      5. Walking and transferring (e.g., moving from the bed to a chair)
      6. Eating
  • Changes in Physical Function & Appearance
      1. Significant weight loss due to poor diet, difficulty cooking, eating, shopping for food, etc. 
      2. Difficulties with dressing appropriately (e.g. wearing soiled clothing, dressing for the wrong season)
      3. Poor personal hygiene and unpleasant body odor due to infrequent showering
      4. Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care
      5. Marks on the body indicating falls or changes in mobility (e.g. bruises, wounds, etc.)
      6. Burns on the skin which could indicate difficulties with cooking
  • Changes in Behavior & Mental Status
      1. Lack of motivation or drive
      2. Loss of enthusiasm for hobbies and pastimes
      3. Trouble with keeping track of time
      4. Failure to return calls to friends and family members
      5. Mood shifts or strong mood swings
      6. Increased agitation
      7. Abuse of power, whether verbally or physically
      8. Changes in sleeping habits (e.g., insomnia or sleeping all day)
  • Neglecting Household Responsibilities
      1. Inability to independently complete instrumental ADLs (activities of daily life)
      2. Changes in household cleanliness and organization
      3. Extreme clutter or hoarding
      4. Stacks of unopened mail, late payment notices, or bounced checks
      5. Unpaid bills, calls from collectors, or utilities being turned off
      6. Spoiled food that doesn’t get thrown away
      7. Little or no fresh, healthy food or overall low food supply
      8. Stained or wet furniture 
      9. Urine odor in the house, which may indicate incontinence
      10. Cookware or appliances with noticeable burn marks could indicate food has been left unattended while cooking or reheating
      11. Failure to maintain outdoor areas, such as landscaping, snow removal or garbage collection
      12. Signs of unsafe driving (e.g., automobile dents and scratches)
      13. Unfilled prescriptions
  • Changes in Cognition, Memory, or Judgment 
    1. Forgetfulness (e.g., forgetting to take medications or taking incorrect dosages, missing appointments, misplacing items)
    2. Increased confusion
    3. Loss of reasoning skills
    4. Consistent use of poor judgment (e.g., falling for scams or sales pitches, giving away money)
    5. Difficulty performing familiar tasks
    6. Frequently getting lost when walking or driving
    7. Repetitive speech patterns
    8. Inability to complete sentences
    9. Impaired word-finding ability
    10. Changes in personality or behavior
    11. Poor personal hygiene 
    12. Inability to recall names of familiar people or objects

If you suspect your parents are displaying any of the warning symptoms listed above, the next step is to talk to them about their changing skills and care requirements. It may be a sensitive topic and lead to rising tension. However, it is extremely importantIt's ideal to talk about the future with elderly parents as soon as possible so that everyone is on the same page and no surprises arise.

Keep in mind that these warning signs do not always indicate that a relocation to assisted living or a nursing home is necessary. Their presence, on the other hand, indicates that daily supportive care is required. Hiring home care allows many families to keep their elderly loved ones in their homes for as long as they can safely do so.

If you need further legal assistance with elder care planning, please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at (718) 333-2395 to best prepare your legal documents for the future. 

How HIPAA Impacts Caring for Aging Patients

How HIPAA Impacts Caring for Aging Patients 

It's critical to understand the implications of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) on caregiving if you have worries about an aging loved one's health and are active in their daily care. 

HIPAA-aging-patients

What is HIPAA? 

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or commonly known “HIPAA,” has a significant impact on providing care for loved ones. This federal law was passed in 1996 to preserve the privacy of a patient’s medical information. It mandates that health care providers and insurers maintain medical information private and safe. Unless the patient gives explicit permission, this information cannot be shared. This gives people more control over their health information and the ability to regulate who has access to it.

Why Sign a HIPAA Authorization? 

A senior can provide their caregiver access to essential information about their care by signing a HIPAA authorization form. A caregiver who has complete awareness of their loved one's medical and treatment history is in the best position to make quality care decisions in the future. There are two major factors to consider when allowing access to medical records. Caregivers should be able to communicate directly with a senior’s doctors to coordinate treatment and care between medical entities, and dispay medical bills on the senior’s behalf.

Without these clear approvals, a family caregiver's ability to properly act on behalf of a senior may be limited. Unless a family member has been nominated as a personal representative with a valid healthcare power of attorney (POA), the privacy rule prevents access to complete medical information.

If the person you are caring for has not already created and signed a POA form, it is a good idea to have them sign a HIPAA release and keep copies on hand. This will ensure that medical entities have no doubt that they are permitted to interact with you and any other family members to whom your loved one has provided permission.

Seniors should talk to their health-care providers about how to put it in writing that only certain persons are authorized to see their medical records. If this is a concern for you, you can also put it in writing that you do not want particular people to have access to your medical information.

For more information about providing high-quality care for senior loved ones or to discuss long-term care planning, please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at (718) 333-2394.

When POA Isn’t Enough: Authorizations Needed to Act on A Loved One’s Behalf

Family caregivers are often given the responsibility to access private documents/information regarding their loved ones due to the large amount of paperwork that might arise pertaining to their personal care. Caregivers often feel bombarded with signing, filing, mailing, or faxing such documents, which is where Power of Attorney documents (POAs) come at hand, saving time and stress. In some cases, a few organizations require their own documentation to approve contributions in one's affairs. An individual should never take on this lengthy process by themself. To minimize the risk of making a mistake that may cause dire consequences down the road, the best approach is to hire an elder care attorney.

POA May Not Be Enough

Hiring a Power of Attorney is Crucial for Seniors and their Caregivers 

Elder law attorneys specialize in legal concerns that affect older individuals, their spouses, and their children—specifically the medical and financial aspects of them. A Power of Attorney document allows certain individuals who are identified as “the agent” to legally make decisions on behalf of another person who is identified as “the principal.” The individual is then granted power upon the principal’s personal matters. It is evident that such preparations cannot be legally processed without such documents being authorized. 

However, POAs are not always apodictic. The actions an agent can or cannot take on behalf of a principal, as well as when their powers commence and stop, might differ depending on how these papers are written. Caregivers may run into issues when attempting to utilize POA forms for healthcare and money to oversee the care of seniors if they are not correctly prepared or interpreted. Long before incapacitation becomes a concern, families should prepare these legal documents. When a loved one is unexpectedly disabled due to an accident or sickness, POA paperwork can allow agents to step in and help handle the situation—provided those documents are prepared appropriately.

Some Entities Do Not Accept Power of Attorney 

As useful as POA’s are, third parties such as banks are reluctant to approve such financial documents due to the possibility of fraud, in which case they may be held responsible for any harm that results. 

Such banks take an extended period of time to verify the legitimacy of a financial Power of Attorney and may even want to speak with the attorney who finalized it. In addition, they might also require that the agent and/or future POA sign a written statement declaring that they are operating legally, therefore absolving the other party of all liability. Nonetheless, there should be no issues arising besides the time-consuming process of being approved as a POA. 

Authorizations Needed to Manage a Senior’s Care

A SSA Authorized Representative

Helping a loved one or assigned senior with Social Security applications is possible with the correct documentations, one can apply to be their authorized representative by completing the SSA-1696 Appointment of Representative Form. 

SSA Representative Payee

You must apply to become a representative payee if you want to actively help a Social Security recipient manage their retirement payments and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). All beneficiaries who are unable to manage their own payments must have a representative payee according to the Social Security Administration.

While this may be the authority you're searching for, it's important to note that it comes with a lot of responsibility. This work necessitates a thorough recording of all a beneficiary's benefits and how they are utilized, requiring attentive and responsible individuals. If there is no family member or acquaintance available to hold the “rep payee” title, the SSA will designate another qualified beneficiary to hold such recipient benefits. 

VA Fiduciary Designation

Administering veteran benefits also requires its own process. Obtaining POA authority is not a satisfactory requirement for the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA will request the appointment of a fiduciary if a physician or a court of law determines that a veteran (or surviving spouse) is incapable of handling his or her money. A close friend or relative is readily available to fulfill such a position as long as the VA successfully and thoroughly conducts a close investigation of such individuals’ competence. If there is no family member or acquaintance available to hold responsibility for the veteran, the VA will designate another qualified beneficiary to hold such recipient benefits. 

Medicare Authorization 

It is important to note that Medicare will not provide disclosed health information to an assigned caregiver regardless of relationship to the agent. There must be a written authorization already submitted and approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; verbal permission is also an accepted option. Medicare enrollees may be able to speak and answer simple questions over the phone, giving their caregivers permission to disclose coverage data. If you and your loved one are unable to speak on the phone together, consider attempting to “include them” using your cellphone or other three-way calling device to keep all parties on the same page.

The "1-800-MEDICARE Authorization" Form can be filled out and mailed in or done over the phone with the help of a customer service professional. Please note that certain private insurance companies frequently have their own processes for these documents, so make sure to ask about their unique permission needs.

Be Proactive About Caregiver Documentation

Keep in mind that many problems may be addressed with a combination of goodwill, clear explanations, and reasonable inquiries asked of the appropriate individuals when advocating for your loved one or assigned “agent.” If you're unsure, ask to talk with a supervisor. If no one is available, or if no amount of logical conversation appears to be working, you have the right to consult with legal counsel. 

If you are in need of highly qualified and experienced help regarding a Power of Attorney issue, please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at (718) 333-2394 to have all of your authorization questions answered.

What Are a Senior Guardian’s Responsibilities?

Coming to terms with a loved one’s deteriorating mental health is never easy. However, if their mental health reaches a point where they are unable to make decisions, it may be necessary to look into obtaining guardianship of their care. A senior guardian is granted legal authority by a court to make decisions for their loved one who is no longer capable to do so themselves. An individual that a court decides is no longer able to care for themselves is called a ward. A senior guardian oversees a ward’s daily care or financial transactions, and sometimes both. If you are considering obtaining guardianship, it is important to become informed of both the required time commitment and emotional demands. It is crucial that you also understand the constraints this may place on your newly evolved relationship due to the necessary limitations placed on the ward’s independence.

Senior Guardian Responsibilities

Types of Guardianship and Guardian Responsibilities

When an individual is deemed mentally incompetent in a legal setting, they are named a ward of the state. A senior guardian, often a loved one, is then granted the power to oversee their care. Guardianship is divided into two categories that deal with different aspects of the individual's needs. The first category allows the guardian to oversee the ward’s daily care. On the other hand, the second category grants the guardian power to oversee the ward’s personal and home property. There are also instances in which the guardian is granted full oversight over both; this type of guardianship is known as full or plenary guardianship. This oversight may be granted to one guardian or split amongst two individuals according to daily care and property management. They then must work together closely when making important decisions concerning an overlap of the two.

Guardianship of the Person

Guardianship of the person administers oversight of the ward’s daily life: medical, residential, and social decisions. If appointed as a guardian that presides over these decisions, the responsibilities may include: 

  • Release of confidential information
  • Oversight of residence
  • Determination of residence location
  • Applying for government/medical benefits
  • Providing consent for medical treatments
  • Making end–of–life care decisions
  • Making sure their care is managed in the the least restrictive way possible
  • Reporting to court at least once a year

Guardianship of Property 

This guardian is also known as a guardian of the estate: someone who manages the ward’s finances and property. First, an appraisal of the ward’s income, assets, and debts, must be assessed. Then, the estimate must be filed with the court once a legal guardian is appointed. The guardian must always keep the ward’s funds in a separate account from their own and cannot allocate these assets/income toward their own needs.

A guardian of the property may have the following responsibilities for a ward:

  • Deciding how finances are handled;
  • Applying for and managing government benefits 
  • Making investment decisions;
  • Paying bills, rent, and taxes
  • Keeping detailed records of all income and expenditures;
  • Requesting prior court approval for the sale, donation, transfer or mortgage of their property
  • Reporting to court at least once a year with a complete account of finances

** Sometimes, when a guardian applies for and manages government benefits on behalf of another individual, a power of attorney is required. An elder law attorney can professionally and adequately prepare a power of attorney that proves a guardian has the legal right to act on behalf of another individual. A POA guarantees an agent the right to act on behalf of the principal. 

Accepting the Role of Guardian

There is no denying that accepting guardianship of a loved one is an extremely demanding emotional process and is time consuming. When a guardian obtains oversight of a ward, they are agreeing to surrender an individual’s independence to their care. This is difficult to come to terms with and often a rigorous process determining when to allow independence and when to place constraints on it. It is also important to understand that every case is unique and what may work for one ward/guardian relationship, may not work for another. A guardian agrees to take on the role of protecting their ward from abuse, exploitation, and neglect both from themselves and their environment. Before accepting this decisive role, it is important to voice your concerns with other family members. It is crucial that you are confident in your answers to two questions: Do I have the time and emotional strength to qualify for guardianship of this individual? Is there someone else I know that would be a better fit? Once you have the answers to these questions, it is important to obtain professional legal advice and elder law administration.

For all of your elder law planning needs, please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at (718) 333-2394 to receive help in obtaining guardianship.