Hi there, Bridget Mackay here. I’m an attorney in Petaluma, California, and I practice in estate planning, trust administrations, probate, and elder law. Today, my video blog is going to cover when time catches up with your parents. So unfortunately, time is one of those things in life we can’t stop or slow down as much as we would like to. We know this is true when we watch our children grow up, when we feel ourselves aging, and more recently, when you notice when your parents start aging, and you see changes in their lives. But there are some things you can do to plan for the potential pitfalls of aging with your parent. When you have noticed that they’re slowing down, or not always keeping up with their normal routines, or need help around the house, make sure they have these five documents in order.
The first is, make sure they have a revocable living trust to handle their assets when they become incapacitated or pass away. Second, make sure along with that revocable living trust they have had a pour-over will created. Third, a durable power of attorney is important in helping them for you, and four, a healthcare directive. Because as their health tends to be compromised, they will need someone, perhaps, to make some decisions for them when they can’t make them for their own. And in conjunction with that, fifth, is make sure they have a HIPAA release, a Health Information Protection Act release. Right now, the doctors for all of us have to keep our medical records confidential, but if you sign a HIPAA release, those records can be released to your healthcare agent or durable power of attorney agent in order to help make decisions for your parents as they age.
A trust, a will, a power of attorney, all allow you, or a trusted person, to take over your parent’s financial affairs longterm without having to go to court. They can also help you plan for long-term care needs if they’re drafted properly. A healthcare directive will be able to allow you or a trusted friend to make health decisions for your parents when they’re no longer able to make them. And finally, like I said earlier, the HIPAA will help whoever that healthcare person or agent is, gain access to any medical records that your parents may have so that they can make informed decisions. These documents, if you have them in place while your parents still are able to be functioning, will later on save you time, money, and effort, and keep you out of court, and prepare both of you for the future. If your parents haven’t had these reviewed or if they have them and they haven’t been reviewed in a long time, or that they need these documents, remember to go to a reputable estate planning attorney in your community, and someone you feel you can have a relationship with.