Whether looking out for yourself or someone you care for, it’s vital to get those all-important legal affairs in order. This often means making long-term plans as well as gathering and organizing quite a few documents. You will also want to find help from an attorney. Perhaps not the most fun way to spend time, but it’s vitally important to your family that there is a plan for worst-case scenarios.
It’s a big responsibility, but it’s also crucial that those who need them have the proper decision-making rights.
Here’s a quick checklist of the things you’ll need to ensure legal matters can be properly handled.
Have a Family Plan
You don’t have to be old to die. Let that sink in.
First and foremost, you’ll need to discuss matters of caregiving and end-of-life preparation with all involved family members. It’s a good idea to put things in writing when it comes to caregiving roles, and all parties should be signatories.
While this may not be a legally binding document, it does establish clear communication.
Obtain Necessary Documents
Everyone knows the importance of having a will, but that’s not the only document one should have. It’s also wise to appoint someone to make important decisions in the event of illness or incapacitation. This means having a health care power of attorney (POA) created.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to have an attorney draft a POA for financial decisions as well. These two documents should fully outline one’s wishes, including those regarding life-support.
In addition to a will and any necessary POA documents, there are several other legal documents to organize.
You might be surprised at how many important documents you may already possess. These include things like birth and marriage certificates, deeds, insurance policies, discharge papers, divorce decrees, cemetery plot information, and more.
These things, along with your will, POA documents, any other relevant paperwork should all be kept organized.
Investigate Possible Tax Breaks
Always keep track of medical expense receipts since you may need them for tax deductions. This isn’t just limited to copayments and out-of-pocket drug costs.
It also includes things like wheelchairs, specialized beds, and expenses associated with remodeling one’s home for handicapped accessibility purposes.
Seek Financial Help if Necessary
You may also want to consider utilizing financial aid that may be available to you. This includes public benefits like Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs.
Other options may include veteran’s benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, SNAP, or private insurance.