A legal Checklist for Family Caregivers #1: Have the right documents
In addition to a will, make sure your loved one has adurable power of attorney(POA) for both health care and financial affairs. These legal documents will allow an appointed person to make medical or fiscal decisions for a frail or incapacitated relative.
Your loved one needs to create these documents when he or she is still capable of making decisions. It's not necessary to hire an attorney to draft a health care power of attorney (though depending on your state, you may need two witnesses), but it's advisable to use a lawyer to draw up a financial POA because money issues can be complicated.
The health care POA is part of an advance directive. The other part is aliving will, which spells out your wishes for care if you have a serious illness — for example, whether and when life-sustaining treatment should be stopped.