Monday, April 7, 2014

How to Approach Legal and Financial Planning For Your Senior

As your senior ages, it’s important to get their financial and legal affairs in order, allowing you to execute their wishes exactly as they’d like when they’re not around anymore. While it’s not always easy to bring up conversations about things like wills and living trusts, these talks are important to have so that all family members are on the same page. A few major issues to touch on include:

Living will or a health care directive

This is a written statement that specifies your senior’s health wishes in the event that they become incapacitated or terminally ill. When planning for the future, it’s necessary to file this sort of document, as well as a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPOAHC), which names one person as that senior’s health care agent. This tasks this family member or friend with making health-related decisions for the elderly individual if they can’t do so on their own. 

Wills and living trusts

A will is a legally recognized document that specifies how a person’s property should be divided up when they die. It also states the will’s executor, who makes sure that division of property happens according to the specifications in the will. Wills can cover anything from family heirlooms to property, jewelry, or even pets. Senior care professionals advise families to have their elderly loved one update their will regularly, to ensure that everything in the document is done to their liking. 

In order to create a living trust, some or all of that elderly individual’s assets are moved to the trust, and the person then specifies a family member or friend to take over the trust when they die or become incapacitated. The trust can operate even after that elderly individual has passed away.


Elder care professionals explain that a guardianship becomes necessary if your senior has diminished capabilities and can no longer manage their own affairs. A guardian helps to take care of medical and financial needs, ensuring that the elderly individual receives proper care. To begin a guardianship, a concerned family member or friend should consult with an attorney, who may suggest having the senior undergo an exam done by a doctor.

Even if your elderly parent is healthy and strong now, it’s important to take care of this kind of planning for the future. Doing so allows you to execute your loved one’s wishes exactly as they’d like, and verifies that all family members are on the same page. 

1 comment:

  1. My grandma is starting to write her will right before she goes into a retirement home. I don't think she knows that it's supposed to state a will's executor. Thanks for this information. I'll be sure to tell her the next time I call her!