Most people don’t want to think about dying, and the impact it will have on their loved ones. That being said, this is one tough conversation you must not put off. Why? Because if you wait until it’s too late, you risk leaving your family at risk emotionally and financially.
Do yourself a favor and have the conversation sooner rather than later. Also, Make sure you complete all necessary legal paperwork. To help you get started, here are the 7 most important legal documents for seniors:
Senior Legal Doc 1 – Trust
After naming a person your trustee, they will have legal title to your property and finances. You are able to be your own trustee and can have full control over your assets held in your trust. It is also simply a trust that has been created when you are still living.
Senior Legal Doc 2 – Will
Look at this as a step by step list of wishes on how you would like your belongings to be distributed. Your beneficiaries or loved ones, will be on this list along with details on how you would like your possessions to be handled after you have passed away.
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Senior Legal Doc 3 – Power of Attorney for Your Financials
A power of attorney or POA will be the designated person who has legal authority to make financial decisions on your behalf. This becomes necessary should you become incapacitated or incompetent. If you have not assigned a person to have this authority your family will not be able to make your important financial decisions or pay off your bills with your assets.
Senior Legal Doc 4 – Power of Attorney for Your Health
Much like your finances your power of attorney for healthcare will be the person who is able to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. Make sure to discuss a plan with your POA including advance directives, do not resuscitate orders and your living will.
Senior Legal Doc 5 – Advance Directives
Advance Directives refer to preferences with treatment if you are unable to make healthcare decisions due to illness or unconscious. These directives are written instructions about the type of medical care you would want and you are able to assign a surrogate decision maker for when you are unable to do so by yourself.
Senior Legal Doc 6 – Living Will
When you are terminally ill a living will can describe and instruct your healthcare provider how you want your health care to be managed when at the end of your life. It is a type of advance directive.
Senior Legal Doc 7 – Do Not Resuscitate Order
A do not resuscitate order or DNR lets healthcare professionals know that you do not want further steps taken to keep you alive once your heart has stopped beating or if you can no longer breathe. This is a decision you must make either in a living will or by the direction of your healthcare provider. The DNR is not something that you can write up by yourself.
If you choose to have a DNR your physician will write your wishes for when your health deteriorates. The DNR will list your health conditions and the medical treatment plan you have discussed with your healthcare provider.
Not filling out the correct paperwork can lead to legal battles and financial strain with the loved ones you have left behind. Be sure to get your paperwork in order and ask professionals for advice when you are unsure.
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Stellar Living, a family owned and operated senior living network, has been recognized as one of the premier providers of Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Respite Care nationwide. At Stellar, we take great pride in each of our communities, and in every single resident. We believe senior living is about more than healthcare. It’s about family. Come take a tour and feel the Stellar difference today.