Question: Help. I don’t know where to start and have no idea what to do in order to get my family’s “house in order” in regards to planning for our elder care needs. My husband and I are in our mid 60s, are in good health, own our home and have some retirement savings. Although we consider ourselves fairly intelligent, we are wrestling with how to proceed with our elder care planning. Can you provide us with some guidance?
Answer: The purpose of ElderCareMatters.com is to provide families like yours with the necessary Guidance to help them with their elder care matters. So you have started in the right place. My recommendation is that you first go to the link on ElderCareMatters.com that allows you to Find an Expert in elder law near YOU. This is certainly a good place to start. Even if you should find that ElderCareMatters.com does not have an expert in your particular area of the country, you should find someone within your geographical area. You could call the attorney listed and if he/she cannot be of help, then they should be able to refer you to someone locally that can be of assistance to you. An attorney working in the area of elder law normally knows some, if not all, of the other elder law professionals in your area.
You may ask why I suggest starting with an attorney first. It has been my experience that many people searching for elder care answers do not have the proper legal paperwork in place to unlock the door to proper elder care planning. They either do not have the correct legal documents or their documents are old and out of date with their state’s laws. Simply put – the lack of any one of the following documents could sink your elder care planning: a current durable power of attorney over property, a current designation of health care surrogate or sometimes called a durable power of attorney for health care, a living will and the proper Last Will and Testament.
If you don’t see an attorney listed in your area of the country, then you might try getting a recommendation from other elder law professionals who are listed on ElderCareMatters.com. The network of elder law professionals listed on ElderCareMatters.com is quite widespread so finding the proper help should not be that difficult to achieve.
Other sources that are available would be your local phone book or the internet. You might have to try several searches to make a connection with the proper planner. In addition, your local bar association or state bar association will have information about attorneys that do elder care planning. You may want to check with family and friends that have already gone through their own elder care planning or they know of someone that has had the need for such planning. Lastly, you may want to check with senior groups in your area including assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
I wish you well in your search for help with your elder care planning. Most people don’t look that far ahead in their planning and react in the case of any emergency, especially elder care matters. With elder laws always changing, it is best to plan ahead and take advantage of the current laws in place.
Ivan Michael Tucker, Attorney at Law
Altamonte Springs, Florida
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Florida chapter
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