Becoming less physically and mentally able as we age is simply a fact of life. As Americans live longer than they ever have before, the importance of planning for long-term senior care with the help of an elder law attorney in Tacoma becomes more and more evident to many of us.

Effective planning can ensure that an individual has the medical and financial support he or she needs in his or her later years. A big part of planning for long-term care is making determinations about who will make important financial and healthcare decisions for the individual once he or she is incapacitated.

Designating Power of Attorney

When one party has power of attorney for another, he or she is tasked with making critical decisions on the incapacitated party’s behalf. There are a few different ways to organize a power of attorney designation. These are:

  • General power of attorney;
  • Durable power of attorney;
  • Springing power of attorney; and
  • Limited power of attorney.

An individual may grant a loved one power of attorney for all of his or her needs or only for a specific area, such as managing his or her property or making healthcare decisions.

Many people get confused about the difference between power of attorney and a legal guardianship, but the differentiation is fairly straightforward. A power of attorney is a self-designated individual who makes financial, legal, and health decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated. A legal guardian is a court-appointed individual who makes financial, legal, and health decisions for you if you don’t specify a power of attorney or if a party other than the allegedly incapacitated individual petitions the court to establish the guardianship.

Create a Plan for Funding Long-Term Care

When you’re planning for your long-term care or helping your parents plan for their care, how you’ll fund the care is an important issue to cover. Medicare does not cover care in nursing facilities, but it does cover care from in-home health aides and short-term stays in rehabilitation centers under certain circumstances. Medicaid does cover long-term care for individuals who qualify.

Writing an Advance Health Directive

An advance health directive is the document that states the individual’s wishes regarding his or her medical care, including when to stop treatment and the circumstances under which to resuscitate him or her. An individual with medical power of attorney or a legal guardian should use this document as a guideline when making decisions on an incapacitated individual’s behalf.

Although an advance health directive can provide clarity in difficult medical situations, it is not a substitute for communicating your wishes to your loved ones. Be sure that the individual to whom you grant medical power of attorney knows what type of care you would want in situations when you cannot speak for yourself.

Start Working with a Tacoma Estate Planning Lawyer Today

Planning for long-term care is just one part of effective state planning. Whether you’re making plans for your own care later in life or working with a parent to plan for their long-term care, work with an experienced estate planning lawyer who can explain all of your available options and help you make secure, effective plans. To get started with a member of Alliance Law Group, PS, contact our firm to schedule your initial consultation.

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