What Is The Role Of Durable Power Of Attorney In Caring For Aged Parents?
A general power of attorney is a document whereby the principal gives the agent the right to sign for them on administrative matters, such as financial transactions, tax returns, credit documents, pension plans and utility contracts.
Can Trust And Asset Protection Be Utilized In Caring For Your Elderly Parents?
A typical family trust allows the successor trustee to manage the assets of the parent when they’re no longer able to do so for themselves. It is very useful for this purpose as long as the parents have transferred the asset titles to the trust. If their bank accounts and investment accounts name the trust as the owner, then the successor trustee can manage those assets and use them to pay the expenses of the parent. However, they don’t do much in the way of asset protection for qualifying for Medi-Cal or other things of that nature.
The determination of whether or not it would be best for someone to do that really depends on their resources and the level of care that they would like to have. If their resources are very limited, then it’s fairly easy to qualify for Medi-Cal. If they have substantial resources but would rather leave those resources to their children or other beneficiaries, then there are ways that they can be divested of those resources during their lifetime. They would be exempt from Medi-Cal for a period of time, but would qualify at some point.
The problem with this is that they give up control of where they could reside. Some facilities accept Medi-Cal and others do not. By limiting themselves to facilities that accept Medi-Cal, they are limiting their options as to where they live and what level of treatment they receive. I generally do not advise that people divest themselves of assets for the purpose of qualifying for Medi-Cal. I know that it’s done, but it’s not something that I advise my clients to do.
What Components Constitute The Best Plan To Care For Aging Parents?
A good estate plan should have a trust so that someone can manage assets, a healthcare directive so that someone can make personal and medical decisions and a general power of attorney so that someone can sign for and deal with administrative matters. In addition, if the person is a principal or an owner of a closely held business, then there should be some business succession planning done so that someone is designated to have authority in that business.
What Qualities Should An Attorney Have To Assist People In This Stage Of Their Lives?
You should seek an attorney who is experienced in this type of planning, who has been in a position to put the planning in use, and who has seen it through for numerous clients. By doing these things, one learns the pitfalls that can arise with these kinds of plans and therefore will know how to avoid them. You need someone who has had significant experience both with establishing the plans and administering the plans. You also need someone who is patient with the elderly. There are some challenges in dealing with the elderly because they often have physical or mental limitations. So, you need someone who can be very patient with the client and take the time necessary to ensure that the client understands everything that is going on.
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