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Re: Power of attorney , legal forms for aging parents

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Hi NC3152:  I thought I'd chime in on your post as well, to add to some of the great advice you're getting here.  First, I'm so sorry about your father's sister and your father's diagnosis.  My heart goes out to your family.  

 

That is so wonderful that you want to help your parents and have their best interests in mind.  Sometimes, a shift in perspective can make all the difference in making the planning part a bit easier.  For example, it is not your parents giving away control, it is them ensuring that they STAY in control . . . of their medical care, of their finances, of their end-of-life wishes.  It can be very empowering and also bring peace of mind in the face of a grim diagnosis.   And one perspective that seems to speak to some of my more  . . . stubborn . . .clients:  planning ahead can save a ton of money.  A small investment into planning now can mean no probate, no attorney's fees, no litigation among family members who want to fight, no costs, no guardianship.  It can be invaluable, truly.  

 

You say you're in New York and that your parents would prefer an attorney who is fluent in Spanish.  There are several ways you can find an attorney in your state.  You can look to your State Bar website (or even your parents' city's Bar Association's website).  You can look on the website for the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys for attorneys who provide elder-specific legal services.   An attorney who is versed in the issues your parents are facing (a cancer diagnosis, advancing years, a homebound spouse) can help your parents parcel out the next steps of life and consider how to protect themselves, their assets, etc.   The attorney can explain what happens in your State when you don't plan accordingly and end up incapacitated.  For example, when I meet with clients, I talk about ways that we can avoid a guardianship (this is a court process that is rather restrictive over taking away a person's rights to govern their health (their person) or their assets (their property). 

 

You may also find these legal services through the New York Legal Assistance Group helpful:  

Medicaid, Medicare, home care services, and public benefits issues affecting older adults & people with disabilities (Evelyn Frank Legal Resources Program)
Call 212.613.7310 Monday, Wednesday, Friday
9:00 am – 5:00 pm or email EFLRP@nylag.org

Legal services for cancer patients
Call 212.946.0357 Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Veterans legal issues
Call 212.946.0343 Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday
9:00 am – 3:00 pm

 

Use caution as you look online for information and I'd encourage you to look primarily for State-specific sites.  Each state has its own laws and practices.  For example, a handwritten will may be okay in one state, but not allowed in another.  Be wary of forms you find online; official state departments and organizations are generally the safest bet.  

 

Here is a link to the city of New York's official site that is very clear and easy to read.  I note that it provides a link to Spanish forms and other resources that may be helpful.  

 

Also, here is a link to the New York Department of Health's site that discusses advance directives.

 

I did not notice if anyone who's weighed in on your post has mentioned this, but the AARP Prepare to Care Guide does come in Spanish.  You can order a hard copy or download it here.

 

Please know that I am wishing you and yours the very best of luck as you move forward together.  Keep us posted on your progress.  

 

 

Amanda Singleton
All posts are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. The posting and viewing of the information in this community should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal or tax advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. The information presented may not reflect the most current legal developments. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues. Nothing written in this community is intended to create an attorney‑client relationship. An attorney-client relationship may only be established through direct attorney‑to‑client communication that is confirmed by the execution of an engagement agreement.
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Re: Power of attorney , legal forms for aging parents

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@nc3152 wrote:

I live in New York.  I’ll see if my attorney general has these forms on line.  

 

Yes I have discussed this with my father who has metastatic lung cancer.  He has not done anything hence why I am trying to get assistance on how to convince him to take care of things.   His sister just died of lung cancer. Maybe this will open his eyes.  Having talk with him one more time and finding some attorneys for him. 

 


A family of smokers, huh? I'm so sorry. Darned tobacco companies. If he has metastatic lung cancer, he is eligible for home hospice, and he can live out however many days he has left in the comfort of his home, with support from an RN, an aide, a chaplain, and a social worker. And the social worker can help with the legal stuff. If he hand-writes a will and has 3 witnesses sign it who aren't related to him and aren't his health providers, then he's done. He probably doesn't want to spend the money on lawyers, right? He might not give a hoot about taking care of legal affairs when it will only benefit other people, and he'll be dead (just guessing here.) And as for power of attorney for health decisions, he best make his own, and then the health team will turn to next of kin. Is that you? Do you know what he wants? If he doesn't want hospice (and most people are afraid of the WORD) then, does he want to be passive about the entire business, wait for a pneumonia, and die on a ventilator? Not making a choice is a choice.

 

Having been a geriatric care manager and a hospice social worker, i've seen lots and lots of denial. You can see if his sister's passing provides any kind of motivation.

 

What i'm also thinking is, he's probably grieving the loss of her, grieving the loss of more time for himself, a bit more retirement, a few more Super Bowls, more lasagna, followed by mint chocolate ice cream. He might be like, what are you bugging me about lawyers for?  What does he enjoy? What does he want right now? How can his quality of life improve RIGHT NOW? How can you and the other members of his family and friends/ church/ Elk Club/ whatever improve his life now?

 

And then look around the house, see if his wife has opinions about property... if his wife is still with you all... let him make a few decisions, write them down. Run them by an attorney familiar with his state's laws of inheritance, get it written up, and witnessed. Don't think a notary is necessary.

 

Throwing ideas around here... what do you think?

 

Jane

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Re: Power of attorney , legal forms for aging parents

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@nc3152   We are going to cover this topic in with an expert in March - stayed tuned and you can ask questions directly to our expert here in the forums!

AARPTeri
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Re: Power of attorney , legal forms for aging parents

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@SylviaP116955 wrote:

More power to you trying to get your parents to relinquish the last few controls that they have. 


That is why it is important to have this type of conversation early and then prepare way before it is actually needed.  When the time comes, the person appointed to take control over finances and/or health care wishes can easily step in and know what the incapacitated person needs done and their wishes for health care.

 

These thing when planned early - POA, Healthcare Directive and a Will - gives the person the MOST control - if they do not have these, that is when others (family, providers, even the government) take control without knowing the person's wishes.

* * * * * * It’s Always Something - Roseanne Rosannadanna
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Re: Power of attorney , legal forms for aging parents

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@nc3152 Great! As @retiredtraveler mentioned, it's really best if you can find an attorney who specializes in elderlaw, estate planning etc. And finding a Spanish speaking attorney is high priority if it will make your parents feel more comfortable having these discussions! 

 

One way to find a lawyer is to use the American Bar Association's Find a Lawyer search tool. You'll see at the top of the page a place where you can search for free legal help. Or scroll down and you'll find a place to Hire a Lawyer - and then you can click on Bar Directories and Lawyer Finders. From there you can click on your state, and that will lead you to search tools where you can put in your city, or an practice area (elderlaw, estate and trusts etc.). Some states have advanced search options where you can specify preferred language also. 

 

One more thought - sometimes it's easier for people to "hear" the message about the need to plan for future, make a change, make a move, stop driving etc etc. from someone who is not a family member. You know your parents - so you probably have an idea as to whether or not that would work better. But I can tell you that many people wind up finding an objective 3rd party to join a conversation. It might be a lawyer (talking about the need to plan ahead and create the basic documents), a doctor (health issues and advance directives), faith community leader (myriad issues depending on the needs) or a case manager or care manager (sometimes called a geriatric care manager). Here are a few ways you can find a care manager or a case manager:

Hope your discussions go well! 

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving and

Color Your Way Content When Caring for Loved Ones

 

 

 

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Re: Power of attorney , legal forms for aging parents

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I live in New York.  I’ll see if my attorney general has these forms on line.  

 

Yes I have discussed this with my father who has metastatic lung cancer.  He has not done anything hence why I am trying to get assistance on how to convince him to take care of things.   His sister just died of lung cancer. Maybe this will open his eyes.  Having talk with him one more time and finding some attorneys for him. 

 

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Re: Power of attorney , legal forms for aging parents

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Thank you so much for this information. Tomorrow I am going to approach my parents about this.   Hope it goes well. 

Not sure if my parents will want to go to an attorney or just fill out forms themselves.   I’ll see how it goes tomorrow. In the meantime I’m looking for attorneys and ones that speak Spanish for them might be a better choice since my parents feel better speaking in Spanish.   Thank you again for this information 

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Re: Power of attorney , legal forms for aging parents

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@nc3152 I'm so sorry to hear of your parents declining health and the challenges of caregiving you are facing. Having legal affairs in order is crucial, as you know. It might be helpful to talk with your parents about putting powers of attorney and other advance directives in place so that "in the future" if it's needed things will already be in order and they - and you - won't have the stress and challenge of dealing with it in a crisis situation. Talking about things in the 'far off future' is less scary and intimidating, even if you think they will be needed sooner rather than later.

 

It can also be helpful to emphasize that you want to be sure that you carry out their wishes - it's really a way for them to remain in control even if they are ill and unable to manage or make decisions. 

 

A few helpful resources:

  • Click HERE for AARP's free advance directives forms for every state.
  • 5 Wishes is resource which provides an approach to discussing and documenting your care and comfort choices, connecting families, communicating with healthcare providers,
  •  My AARP video about Difficult Family Conversations helps you plan and carry on the conversations with your parents about this and other challenging conversations.
  • There are more helpful resources at the AARP Family Caregiving Site

I hope you find these resources helpful! Please let us know how you are doing, and if you have any more questions - happy to help! I've been through this with my family members as well - I know how hard it is to deal with these practical matters along with juggling the emotional rollercoaster accompanying your parents through their later years. Take good care of yourself too!

 

Take care, 

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving and

Color Your Way Content When Caring for Loved Ones

 

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Re: Power of attorney , legal forms for aging parents

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More power to you trying to get your parents to relinquish the last few controls that they have. 

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Re: Power of attorney , legal forms for aging parents

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Definitely get a lawyer who specializes in elder law.  There is an organization "National Elder Law Foundation" that can give you some basic info. Take a look at their website.

 

You need to do more than simply get a power of attorney for finances. You need to also have health power of attorney, and be sure your parent's will and estate is in order. A good attorney will give you the complete advice you need to be sure you have everything in hand.

 

DW' and I are those people who normally handle everything, such as finances, on our own. But we went to a lawyer who set up recovable trusts, poa, health poa, etc. We didn't know how many details were needed to fully cover us for the future.  


"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."
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