Home Preparation, Planning and New Beginnings Family Caregiver Tips: Legal Documents You Need

Family Caregiver Tips: Legal Documents You Need

Andrea Lee

Elder law and estate planning attorney Andrea Lee joins Suzanne to provide some tips for unpaid family caregivers caring for a loved one about the legal documents they need to have in place, and also some practical tips to keep in mind. Andrea Lee serves as an attorney for Legacy Estate Planning in Bellevue, Washington.

Andrea says, “I’m going to share my own experiences, my own tips that I have, working as an elder law attorney for 15 years and then my own experiences as a caregiver to my mom, who has dementia, and is still at home with my dad.

“The basic legal tools that they need are so important to have in place. They’re the financial power of attorney because that’s the document that says, hey, if my parent is incapacitated, my parent is not able to make competent decisions on their own, can I make sure I have access to managing their finances? Can I make sure their bills are being paid? If my dad starts accidentally giving money away because he got an email from the Prince of Uganda trying to get money, do I have a way to help him out and support him, advocate for him financially, and legally? … Second is that healthcare power of attorney… Oftentimes it falls to one child to be the primary caregiver. And if you are a parent, and you have a child who is helping you, then you should take a moment to thank them, because they are kind of the unsung heroes of care. But sometimes families fail to recognize the challenges that those caregivers might face, and the children who are not caregivers are sometimes so critical of the care that their brother or sister is giving their mom and dad, they might be harassing them about decisions that they’re making, trying to tell them what to do. So that healthcare power of attorney, where you name that primary caregiver as the person that you trust to make these important medical decisions for you, are essential.”

Andrea adds, “Maybe they have three daughters, and they love all three of their daughters, and all three of their daughters are responsible adults, and they trust all of them. And they’re asking me, well, how do we pick which daughter? And I actually say, ‘all things being equal, pick the best communicator. Pick the one who plans the birthday parties, pick the one who’s reaching out to his or her siblings, and who’s a good communicator.’

Learn more:
* Andrea Lee: https://www.waltar.com/andrealee/
* Legacy Estate Planning: https://www.waltar.com/

Hear more:
* Legacy Estate Planning podcasts: https://answersforelders.com/tag/legacy-estate-planning/
* Power of attorney podcasts: https://answersforelders.com/tag/power-of-attorney/

Answers for Elders is part of the Senior Resource Network: https://www.seniorresource.com/
Check out our affiliate podcast Alzheimer’s Speaks: https://alzheimersspeaks.com/