Although you may be receiving all of that extra help at any of those points, it's important to have a living will. A living will tells caregivers what you want in the event of an end of life situation.
Having a living will, or a Power of Attorney at the least, can save you a lot of headache in unforeseen circumstances.
From October 22 until October 27, lawyers will be providing free services in local libraries statewide for the public. On October 23, Linda S. Melancon, an attorney, spoke at the Galvez Library on Estate and Elder Law Planning.
Most of us are on the path of the Elder Care Continuum. The first part is when we live at home without any extra help, then move on to possibly receiving home assistance, then moving to a retirement community, to assisted living, and finally to a nursing home.
Although you may be receiving all of that extra help at any of those points, it's important to have a living will. A living will tells caregivers what you want in the event of an end of life situation. Having one prevents arguments from arising within families about what they should do with their loved one who cannot make decisions.
"For those who have become caregivers, it's important that you take respite sometimes. Respite is a short period of rest or relief from something difficult. Caregiving is difficult. There's actually a place called Charlies Place in Gonzales that allows caregivers to bring someone who is battling early to moderate Alzheimer's. They provide socialization and engaging activities that stimulate cognition and physical health," Melancon said.
If you do not have a living will, then your health care decision will be made for you based on Louisiana law, starting with a court appointed person, the agent named as the Power of Attorney, a spouse if not judicially separated, an adult child, a parent, a sibling, and lastly, a special friend.
When it comes to finances, though, nobody is allowed to step in and make financial decisions for you, according to Louisiana law, if you lose capacity. If you do not have a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances, then a court is able to step in a file an interdiction, which ends up appointing someone for you.
"Having an interdiction isn't always the best thing to happen. It can result in high court costs and attorney's fees, it can become time consuming, and sometimes it can even be humiliating," Melancon said.
It's easy to avoid an interdiction if you have, at least, a Power of Attorney, but you may also have a Living Will, HIPPA Authorization, or a Health Care Power of Attorney.
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