How Legal Support Can Be Beneficial For Aging Seniors

September 21, 2021

Introduction

Later in life, people often go through a lot of fear and uncertainty. For some people, it marks the onset of physical and mental health issues including dementia. They can face issues in processing information and decision-making. The biggest challenge at this point is the preparation of legal documents like power of attorney, wills for elderly , banking authority, etc. Similarly, the inability to operate financial aspects on their own also poses risks. According to experts, facilitating proper legal support at the appropriate time is very crucial. It can avoid a lot of disputes in the future regarding financial aspects and inheritance.

In this blog, read about the benefits of providing adequate legal support to aging seniors.

Legal Challenges During Old Age

Aging brings numerous changes to a person’s life. In most cases, the level of activity slows down. There is also a profound shift in a senior citizen’s dynamics with other family members.  Health issues can affect their thought processes. As a result, elders can become dependent on immediate family members for carrying out daily activities. Especially in the case of handling money, this becomes a big challenge for others.

Elders can be prone to life-threatening situations in the absence of proper monitoring. Services like Life Alert are always available in the case of emergency response. But most people now prefer advanced and more proactive elderly monitoring systems as a Life Alert alternative. Such systems are beneficial in ensuring elders are safe. However, it is important to create awareness among seniors regarding the possible legal challenges they may face in the future. These legal challenges include:

Inability to operate financial resources

In older age, mental skills can become weaker. Senior citizens often find it difficult to read and sign documents. This affects their ability to carry out bank transactions independently. Similarly, there can be uncertainty regarding other financial resources. The creation of legal documents like a power of attorney is very crucial for handling these situations, so appropriate family members can step in to help when needed.

Lack of clarity regarding property/asset allocation

Many elders underestimate the need for planning property succession. It can lead to endless disputes in the future. Early preparation of a proper property /asset allocation plan is crucial for avoiding such disputes.

Legal Support for Aging Seniors

It is important to ensure that your aging parents have access to legal support. This equips them with enough information to make appropriate decisions on multiple issues. Especially in the case of property inheritance, such legal support is valuable. It involves numerous documentation activities. Without proper guidance, it may lead to legal hurdles in the future. The process involves,

• Assessment of property value

• Identification of legal heirs

• Preparation of will for elderly

• Preparation of advance health care directives

An elder care attorney can help you in preparing these crucial documents for avoiding any complexities in the future. Providing legal support at the appropriate time can help seniors in various aspects such as:

Power of Attorney

Older age affects the mental capacity of a senior. At times, it makes them incapable of making crucial decisions. Due to this, they face a lot of challenges in handling finances, documentation, etc. As a result, there can be delays in funds withdrawal, cash liquidity, etc. The power of attorney authorizes a person to act on behalf of the senior citizen. The document becomes legally binding after notarized by a signing authority. It empowers the authorized person to make decisions and handle all business aspects related to the senior citizen. There are different types of power of attorney such as,

1. Ordinary power of attorney

2. Special power of attorney

3. Lasting power of attorney.

Preparation of Will

A will is necessary for the smooth handover of possessions to legal heirs. Proper legal support from an expert lawyer is inevitable for the preparation of the will. For elders, it is crucial to prepare the will at a time when they can make sound decisions. In a will, the elder mentions all the assets and liabilities. It also outlines the share for each heir to avoid any disputes after the death of the senior citizen. The document provides the name of executors responsible for carrying out the activities as per the will. There are professional writers and lawyers providing support in creating wills for elderly.

Advance Healthcare Directives

Advance health care directives are commonly known as a living will. It is a form of power of attorney about the treatment of an elder in case of ill health. In this, an elder specifically provides directives that need to be followed in a stage where he/she is not able to make decisions regarding healthcare treatment. It is crucial to provide them the support of a health care professional and lawyer while preparing this. It can include details on avoiding any particular medicine, surgery, etc. The advance healthcare directives have legal status. Due to this, healthcare professionals and caregivers are bound to abide by the person’s living will.

Registration of Trust

Senior citizens with a high net worth often leave behind a large amount of their wealth for charitable purposes. Similarly, family wealth management including extended family also requires a proper structure. Incorporation of a trust is helpful in the proper utilization of money after their death. The trust deed (document) usually outlines the beneficiaries to whom the money should go. A trustee or a group of trustees is responsible for managing the fund in the future. A legal professional can support senior citizens in preparing documents pertinent to trust formation. It is very crucial to outline all the clauses properly for carrying out various activities in the future.

In short, elders need to take advice from a legal professional at the early stages of their old age period. At a later stage, it becomes a huge challenge to plan a proper succession plan. Lack of adequate documentation can create ambiguity reading the division of property in the future.  

The Need for Monitoring

Beyond legal support, senior citizens require your constant attention. The presence of physical ailments makes them vulnerable to adverse situations. In the past, the services of emergency response systems such as Life Alert were very helpful. Nowadays, more sophisticated and proactive systems like SentryTell are available. It helps caregivers and family members effectively monitor the movements of elderly in their own homes without using invasive elderly monitoring cameras.

This technology is very effective in knowing the safety of your senior. Elderly monitoring sensors are capable of capturing even slight variations in their movement. With this, caregivers can respond quickly to unusual activity and emergencies.

Conclusion

Senior aging is a period of transition. A slow transition into a peaceful life devoid of complex day-to-day responsibilities. However, it is also a period for preparation regarding succession planning of family wealth and senior safety. Proper legal guidance is necessary for this. Adult children must provide these facilities to their elders. The timing of the preparation of legal documents like wills for elderly is also crucial. It is better to prepare them way before the incidence of medical conditions such as dementia.

Elderly monitoring is a significant benefit that can help identify safety issues with your aging parent.  With elderly monitoring sensors, family members are in a better position to provide care and supervision to elders when needed.