When taking on responsibilities as family caregivers, spend time locating important legal and identification documents with loved ones. These Legal Documents Family Caregivers need will help you to best assist in daily caregiving tasks and longer-term decision making.
(Please, note that I am not an attorney or in any way employed in a legal field. I am drawing upon careful research and my own experiences and observations. Please consult with an attorney familiar with the laws of the place of residence of care recipient.)
Legal Documents Family Caregivers Need To Access Include:
Power of Attorney Documents
If your loved one doesn’t already have drawn up, and is still of sound mind, he or she should consult an licensed attorney to do so.
These documents allow a person to appoint someone else to manage personal affairs should he or she become unable to do so. A variety of types of powers-of-attorney are available from the very specific to broad. Power of Attorney documents must be set up when a person has full mental capacity to communicate their wishes
Particularly important from the family caregiver standpoint are:
Healthcare Power of Attorney-This power of attorney, as the name indicates, allows an individual to appoint a trusted person to make health care decisions on his or her behalf when unable to do so themselves (LegalZoom®). Some people incorporate provisions of a Living Will into their healthcare power of attorney or set it up as a separate document.
A Living Will or Advanced Healthcare Directive essentially leaves instructions on the type of medical treatment that a person would like to receive should he or she no longer be able to make decisions. Does that person want to be placed on prolonged life support? What about extraordinary resuscitation measures? Organ donation?, etc..
General/Financial Power of Attorney-Allows an appointee to pay bills and assist with financial matters when an individual needs. This power of attorney can be set up to go into effect immediately, end when incapacitated, or set up to trigger when incapacitated.
Essential Identity Documents
It is so helpful for family caregivers to work with loved ones to gather and safeguard originals and copies of these official forms of identification. These documents may be needed to access a variety of services and benefits.
- Birth Certificate
- Social Security Card
- Medicare/Medicaid Card or Other Health Insurance Card
- Uniformed Services (Military) ID Card
- Driver’s License/ID Card
Another important legal document for your loved ones to have in place. A Will lays out who your loved one wants to leave belongings and financial assets to upon passing. It also names the person who he or she would like to carry out final wishes.
By gathering or getting the right identity and legal documents family caregivers need in place as soon as possible, everyone can concentrate on making the best of each day.
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