Making The Complex

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Options available when caring for the elderly

Caring for parents or other elderly relatives is, for most people, a predictable responsibility. When someone becomes too ill with age, it may become someone else’s job to make their decisions for them. In order to avoid arguments, disputes and even legal battles, it is best to plan ahead in order to find the best solution available for the elderly person in question. In light of this, there are several legal options available that ensure the best possible treatment for the person in question.

An advance health care directive lays down the maker’s desired health care decisions covering resuscitation instructions, treatment option choices, preferences for in-home care as well as other matters. It is a nonbinding document merely written to benefit the doctor and family members.  A living will, on the other hand, is a binding legal document and much like the advance health care directive, it states the kind of treatment that is either preferred or not preferred.

Power of attorney for healthcare gives someone else the power to make the end-of-life decisions and it is usually given to unmarried partners. This particular document may sometimes contain instructions but other times this merely relays the power of the decision to someone the elderly person in question trusts. Similarly, financial power of attorney grants someone the power to manage financial affairs as the elderly person may lose the faculty to keep track of investments, taxes and even with regards to receiving benefits.

If the aforementioned options do not exist or are not applicable, a court can step in by appointing a legal guardian. Legal guardians have the power to make all sorts of decisions ranging from living arrangements to healthcare decisions. You may want to seek guidance from an experienced attorney on the matter.


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