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Legal issues should be worked out before there is an emergency

Elderly couple
Many elderly people need help staying at home, but they also need help in other areas of their lives. This is why each Stay at Home agency assembles a Total Family Care Team made up of trusted providers of companion care, medical care, facility care, legal planning, financial planning, mortuary planning, home maintenance, and medical equipment.

Legal planning

Who will make decisions for you when you can no longer make decisions for yourself? Who will inherit your assets when your will and a life insurance policy conflict? Is the designated executor of your will someone you haven’t seen in decades, or maybe even someone who has already died?

Of all the topics we discuss with new clients and their families, legal issues are among the most important. And, more often than not, these issues are in need of attention.

Legal problems are far easier to avoid than they are to solve, especially for a grieving family. A qualified attorney can help you establish a family trust and make your wishes clear on issues such as “do not resuscitate,” or DNR, orders, organ donation, and medical power of attorney.

When we talk to families and potential clients, here are some of the questions we ask:

  1. Does your loved one have an up-to-date will?
  2. Do the beneficiaries on the will and life insurance match?
  3. Who will make decisions on your loved one’s behalf if they fall ill?
  4. Has your loved one formalized their end-of-life wishes?

In addition, a person who has led a long and active life may have assets spread across many accounts in many institutions. These assets can be used to support a parent’s end-of-life care, or they can go to heirs, but only if they are identified.

Don’t wait until you have an emergency before you consider these issues. It is unfair to grieving loved ones, and it is unfair to a dying or incapacitated family member.


Information for this post comes from Andy Houck, owner and administrator of Stay at Home of Loudon.

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