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.

Why Should You Avoid Buying and Executing a Power of Attorney Form Online?

A Power of Attorney (POA) legal document is signed by an individual (principal) who grants authority to a trusted individual (agent) to carry out transactions on their behalf. The instances during which this may occur are specified within the content of the document, so it is important to pay attention to every detail. The principal may grant the agent power over medical decisions, asset/property transactions, and their bank account. Clearly, this is a matter that must be presided over with extreme care.

Avoid an online POA form

Most individuals hire an attorney to help understand the process and create clauses that are tailored to their wishes. However nowadays, many people also resort to purchasing an online POA form by finding downloadable templates and forms. Yet, these forms are generic and most times will not cater to your specific needs. They are filled out without a present attorney and witnesses. As a result, they are frequently liable to mistakes that can easily be challenged in court at a later time. 

Reasons to Avoid Using a POA Template

  • No Customization

With a predetermined “one size fits all” online form, there is no interview process tailored towards your financial, medical, and legal needs. This information is crucial to determine which clauses are appropriate to add to your document, and which should be excluded. This often includes deciding whether the document executor should have the authority to distribute gifts to family members, and placing limitations on such transactions. In other instances, assets may need to be distributed accordingly one day. Lastly, perhaps the individual may need to be placed in the hands of a caregiver or nursing home. A clause may need to be added that determines who presides over this decision. 

  • No Professional Counsel

It is crucial to have someone with legal experience assist in important documentation execution. You must have an attorney present to assist in naming an agent and their successor. An attorney will also decide when the document’s power goes into effect: is it effective immediately or do its clauses go into effect when the principal administrator is no longer mentally capable? Additionally, an attorney has the knowledge to determine the specific wording that tends to your needs. 

  • No Legal Witnesses

It is important to have witnesses present when signing an important legal document. These witnesses may especially play a critical role in the future if the document’s validation is challenged in court. Witnesses can attest to the fact that the signee was in a capable state of mind to make decisions for themself. 

  • No Quality Assurance

Most importantly, an online POA form does not guarantee a well thought out high quality document. It also does not provide access to a professional source that will guide you through every step and explain the importance of each clause. When writing a POA, it is important to approach the process with a thorough understanding of its importance, and accordingly, the necessity to craft every clause with extreme detail and attention. When put into effect, these documents have the power to transfer assets and/or property, transfer money out of your bank account, and make medical decisions for you. It is a process that is not to be taken lightly. 

As of June 13, 2021, NY has adopted a new POA form. It is important to note that if you already have a POA form in effect, you don’t need to fill out a new one. You simply need to update the one you already have. The new POA form clarifies some confusions and, to some extent, makes the process more reassuring: 

  1. Substantial Conformance

The wording in the POA form does not have to be identical to the wording used in the statutory short form. The old form allowed for any mistake to be rendered as a reason for challenging a POA in court. The new form only needs to “Substantially conform” to the content of the statute . This makes it harder for a POA to be invalidated in court. 

  1. No Gifts Rider

The old form limited an agent’s gift authorization to $500 a year. Any gifts over the $500 limit had to be authorized by a gift rider. A gift rider modifies a POA to allow for such transactions and when notarized, must be witnessed by two witnesses. With the newly implemented change, the gift limit has been increased to $5000 a year and the gifts rider has been eliminated. Gifts that exceed the $5,000 maximum can be accounted for with a modification section on the POA form. 

  1. Signature at Direction of Principal

The new POA can be signed by someone, other than an agent, on behalf of the principal. However, the principal might be present at the time of signature. 

  1. Sanctions for Bank Refusal to Honor Power of Attorney

The new law protects principals from third parties, such as banks, from refusing to accept their POA without reason. Additionally, it protects third parties when proving a POA is valid. It also gives a third party ten business days to decide whether they will accept or refuse the POA they are presented with. 

An Elder Care Attorney will help you with all of your POA drafting needs. An attorney will guide you through the process step by step, while emphasizing and explaining the importance of each clause. An elder care attorney is also most up to date on the recent changes the NY government has made to the POA form and will guide you through these changes whether you are updating an old form or writing a new one. For further information on how to draft a POA form, please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at (718) 333-2394 to obtain aid in legal document drafting.

Five Legal Issues Caregivers Face

As your loved ones get older, they may become more physically and/or emotionally vulnerable. Unfortunately, this presents a situation in which they can easily be taken advantage of. To adequately prepare for this situation in the event that it occurs, legal planning is necessary. In many cases, families fail to consider these arrangements. In other cases, the plan they established does not have a durable legal foundation and thus, fails. With the correct knowledge, you have the opportunity to prepare early on to protect your legal interests when caring for a senior family member. As you begin to explore your legal options, there are some problems you may face as a caregiver.

What are the issues that Caregivers Face?

1. Problems with Power of Attorney

It is extremely important to draft a power of attorney (POA) to establish someone you trust to make decisions as a healthcare or financial proxy. A POA document establishes an individual (the “principal”) to assign a trusted relative (the “agent”) to make healthcare, legal, and financial decisions on their behalf. This document can also specify how much power the principal allows or limits to the agent. A POA ensures that if you are unavailable/unable to make decisions for your senior family member, another person can step in and take your place. However, this decision often comes at the expense of family relationships when someone is chosen over another person. Additionally, it may be a complicated process when filing with your bank. Despite the challenges a POA may present, it is important to draft one as soon as possible even if your elderly family member is still mentally capable. In some cases, they may still want your help with minor responsibilities. It is also best to be well prepared for the future in case there is a sudden change in their mental or physical status.

2. Seeking Guardianship of an Elder

Oftentimes, family members do not prepare for possible deterioration in the senior’s medical status. Thus, the family fails to file a Power of Attorney document prior to the senior's sudden loss of competence. Alternatively, in some cases, the person that was assigned the role of caregiver abuses their power. To appoint a new caregiver, long and expensive guardianship proceedings are usually needed.

3. Preventing and Prosecuting Elder Abuse

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) defines elder abuse as “any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to an older adult.”Mentally vulnerable senior citizens are most likely to fall victim to abuse. Those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are unable to defend themselves and often unaware of what is taking place. Even senior citizens who are mentally capable can still fall victim to abuse such as a caregiver that steals from their home. 

4. False Accusations of Abuse or Neglect

Senior family members with dementia may have a tendency to sabotage their caregivers and themselves. They may falsely accuse caregivers of elder abuse when they forget who the person is or don’t get what they want. Unfortunately, even if their abuse accusation has no real claim to it, caregivers may have to deal with APS investigations and/or legal action. To prepare for such possibilities, you should keep records of the activities you provide, when the senior’s doctor diagnosed them with dementia, what stage their dementia was initially diagnosed at and how it has progressed, and lastly, when they had to give up responsibilities such as cooking and driving.

5. Estate Administration

Estate administration involves the collection and distribution of assets to beneficiaries. To make this complicated process easier, a will should be drafted well in advance. A will is a legal document that details an individual’s financial and social wishes, and goes into effect after they pass away. Problems arise when family members fail to draft a will before their loved one passes away, fail to update it as more assets are discovered, or fail to share it with the appropriate family members. While a will simplifies the legal aspects of estate administration, it can cause divisiveness between competing family members. 

How an Elder Care Attorney Can Help

If you are a new caregiver for an elderly loved one, it is important to seek advice from an attorney with abundant experience in elderly care. If you have been a caregiver for years, but have come across an unexpected legal issue, it is also important to consult an experienced professional. It is never too early to start looking into a well developed elder care plan. It is extremely important to be prepared in case a sudden event occurs causing a deterioration in health or a case of elder abuse arises. It is just as important to protect yourself from unfortunate false accusations on your loved one’s behalf when they are mentally disabled. For further information on how to start your Elder Care planning, please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at (718) 333-2394 to obtain aid in the drafting of legal documents and help with any of your Elder Care needs.

3 Legal Documents Caregivers Need to Manage an Elder’s Healthcare

Laws tend to be very strict and there is not much flexibility when it pertains to a loved one’s healthcare. These laws involve who can make medical decisions, receive status updates, and be involved in conversations with medical professionals. Though these laws intend to keep confidential information private, they can be troublesome for those who are caregivers for their family. There are ways around this but the legal permissions must be established beforehand. If you wait until they are required, you will not be guaranteed the best outcome as they will be more effective if prepared in advance. Many families do not realize they require legal documents to take care of the ones they love, causing them a handful of stressful situations when they need to make medical decisions for a loved one but aren’t allowed to legally. This may lead to a situation where you are legally not allowed to make any medical decisions for them or even access their medical information. An option some individuals choose is going to court and petitioning for guardianship in order to allow them to be able to make these decisions. This all could be avoided if families work and prepare all the necessary documents in advance with an Elder Care attorney, so you aren’t stuck with the harder and more expensive option of petitioning for guardianship.

3 Legal Documents Caregivers Need to Manage an Elder’s Healthcare

What Three Documents Are Needed?

  1. HIPAA Authorization Form: This document which is short for the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act indicates the standards for keeping an individual’s medical information and all records private. This makes it illegal for any medical professional to release your medical information and records without it being at the request of the patient for which this form is used. This is a very important form, and all families should be in possession of it as HIPPA forms give authorization to doctors to keep specific family members informed of their loved one’s medical status. It is a simple form that is not hard to complete and a blank one should be available at most doctor’s offices for patients. Just let your loved one sign the form and this will provide you with access to all their healthcare information.
  2. Power of Attorney: This document has many names, two of them being, medical power of attorney and health care proxy document. This document essentially allows an individual to designate a loved one or any one of their choosing to handle healthcare decisions on their behalf if they become unable to. With a HIPAA form, you are allowed to have access to an individual’s medical records and information, but with a power of attorney you are also designated to make medical and healthcare decisions on their behalf as well. When preparing this document though, the person granting this access must be in the right mind or this document can not be executed. This is to ensure the individual who needs the care is choosing a trusted individual that they believe will honor their wishes if they were to become incapacitated.
  3. Advance Health Care Directive: This document is also known as a Living Will, and allows an individual to indicate their wishes for end-of-life care before any medical emergency. End-of-life decisions are extremely hard on families and a Living Will will help avoid the pain this brings to your loved ones and allows them to know what you would have wanted. This document can specify the treatments you want or do not want and other medical decisions. One of the most important parts of this document is for an individual to indicate if they want any form of resuscitation to occur if they stop breathing and if they agree to be put on a life support system if needed. These decisions are extremely difficult to make and should not be left for your family, as it will only make the situation harder when you can make it simple by preparing these documents in advance.

Preparation in Advance Is Necessary

It is extremely important for these documents to be prepared beforehand as they will be there if a medical crisis occurs in your loved one’s life. Once a healthcare emergency occurs, it will be too late to prepare these documents. Sitting down with your family and having a conversation about preparing these documents in case a situation may occur in the future, will spare you and your family from any unnecessary stress and uncertainty. Health is not guaranteed so all adults should discuss their wishes with their families while they still have their health.

How Can an Elder Attorney Help

Unfortunately, many families do not start to look into Elder Care planning until a medical crisis occurs. This is why this conversation should happen in advance in order to ensure this crucial step of Elder Care planning is in place and your loved ones are taken care of. Indicating your interests is the first step to take in your Elder Care planning journey. An Elder Care Attorney can help make this process easier and help you and your family stay informed of all your options to ensure your interests are met. An attorney will not only draft all these crucial documents but will help ensure these documents are accurate and legally binding. Having this conversation with your family is hard enough, so hiring an Elder Care attorney will allow you to create the best plan and guarantee you won’t have to worry if you or your family face a medical crisis. As a part of your Elder Care planning, an attorney will help with the HIPAA forms, drafting of the Power of Attorney, and drafting of the Living Will, so you and your family have the peace of mind that there is a plan in place in case of medical emergencies.

For further information on how to start your Elder Care planning please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at 718-333-2394 to obtain aid in the drafting of legal documents and help with any of your Elder Care needs.

How to Prepare a Loved One for the Possibility of Dementia?

Everything in life isn’t guaranteed and a life, where the best for you and your loved ones is not ensured, is scary. Having a plan for when those unexpected times arise in your life is the best way to ensure you and your loved ones are taken care of. Those approaching their elder years should be one of the first to ensure these plans are in place. Events such as an accident, stroke, heart attack, or something as serious as dementia can be extremely troublesome without the best plan in place. Not only should you consider making plans for your own well-being but encourage your loved ones to do so as well. This will ensure that a designated individual will be able to step in when times like this may occur in your life. 

How to Prepare a Loved One for the Possibility of Dementia?

Discussing Legal, Financial, and Health Care Planning With Loved Ones

Though having such a difficult conversation with the people you love may be uncomfortable, the end goal is for you and your family to ensure everyone is taken care of, no matter what obstacles life throws at you. If you wait until your loved one is incapacitated or needs a caregiver it will be extremely hard, legally and emotionally, to be able to care for them when they need you the most. If this occurs you would need to endure the lengthy and complex process of guardianship in order to be able to control a loved one’s medical care and finances. Why put you and your family through this process when you can make a plan beforehand. 

Timing Is Extremely Important 

Getting your Elder Care planning done in advance is crucial, as in order to be able to sign all the legal documents in the process, one must be physically and mentally able to. In instances such as Dementia, early diagnosis can still hinder an individual’s ability to make decisions. In some cases, a senior may still be able to sign legal documents but this all depends on the progression of the disease and circumstances differ. This actively demonstrates why it is important to plan earlier rather than later. Though it can be difficult to bring up these matters with a loved one, you should try to make it clear that you intend to protect them and ensure that all their assets and life are put in the best scenario possible. 

Crucial Documents Needed for Elder Care Planning 

  1. Last Will and Testament: A last will and testament is the first step in any Elder Care planning and indicates your wishes when you pass. This document indicates what is done with your assets and ensures your interests are met. We never know when we may pass and this document makes sure not only your interests are met but your loved ones are taken care of when this happens. 
  2. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care: This is a document that will allow an individual to designate a person to make any medical decisions for them if they become incapacitated or unable to. Some decisions include choosing health care providers, nursing care, treatment, and end-of-life care. This document allows the individual to obtain medical records on your behalf as well. This is ideal for anyone as health can change, especially as you continue to get older, and this document will make sure you are taken care of if things don’t go as planned. Those with Dementia are not guaranteed a specific time frame for how fast the disease will progress so having a Health Care Power of Attorney will give them and their loved ones peace of mind when their loved one can no longer make decisions for themselves. 
  3. Durable Power of Attorney for Finances: This is a document similar to the Power of Attorney for Health Care, and allows you to designate an individual to make financial decisions for you when you become unable to do so for yourself. Some decisions that can be made on your behalf with this document include managing investments, selling property, taxes, and paying bills. This document is needed, as not only will your estate and assets be protected, but your interests will also be met if you ever become incapacitated. Why let a disease like Dementia or a medical condition stop your family from making sure your assets are taken care of when you can plan ahead. 
  4. Living Will: A living will is a healthcare directive that is drafted in advance to indicate an individual’s wish for end-of-life care or a serious medical crisis. This will be a clear indication of what you want to be done in regards to treatment if you are unable to and if the situation is life-ending. This document contains the instructions for the medical Power of Attorney and is important in the Elder Care planning process as leaving decisions like this to your loved ones will cause an immense amount of pain and regret. Your loved ones will not be left wondering what you would have wanted, but instead, know exactly what you want. 

Hiring an Elder Care Attorney 

Elder Care planning is hard on families and may not be the desired conversation, but it’s definitely a crucial step to ensuring your loved ones and you are taken care of at all times. Sitting down and creating a plan for what will happen in times of illness or losses is the start of your Elder Care planning. An Elder Care attorney can help make this process easier and ensure all your interests are met in a professional and legally binding manner. An attorney will inform you of all your options, and ensure all documents are legally binding and accurate. Discussing Elder Care options is hard enough for you and your family that’s why hiring an Elder Care attorney will allow you the peace of mind that your plans are in place in times of hardship. An attorney will help with the drafting of your Last will and testament, Power of Attorneys, and Living will, so you are ensured the best care. 

For further information on how to start your Elder Care planning please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at 718-333-2394 to obtain aid in the drafting of legal documents and help with any of your Elder Care needs.

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.