Nassau County Elder Law

A critical part of estate planning that many people overlook is protecting ourselves is preparing for the special issues we may face as we age. An experienced attorney will look to both elder law and estate law to create a plan for you to ensure that your needs are taking care of as your age and to also ensure that your wishes are met once you pass away. While many young people do not think about what they will need when they are older, the time to consider your options is as early as possible. For example, when you are older you may face health challenges such as mobility issues and dementia that may make moving into an assisted living facility the best option for you. You also may end up mentally incapacitated so that you will not be able to manage your finances or make decisions about your medical care. Planning for these possible scenarios is best done as early in your life as possible. To help you understand the intricacies of elder law and estate planning, contact an experienced Nassau County elder law attorney who can help you develop a comprehensive plan for the future.

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There are several legal documents that you can execute that are designed to address personal and financial needs and issues that may arise as you age. An advanced health care directive (AHCD) allows you to give your family members, close friends, and medical professionals directions as to your preferences for your medical treatment and personal care should you become mentally incapacitated. Your AHCD may include a durable power of attorney and a living will.

Living will

Many older people face health crises that affect their cognitive ability. For example, Alzheimer’s affect memory and the ability to reason. Stroke victims are often left with the inability to communicate. Victims of other serious diseases that affect older population leave them in comas. Sadly, in many cases the prognosis is not positive. Decisions will have to be made as to your care, and you will not be able to make those decisions.

With a living will you set out your choices regarding your medical treatment and care should you become incapacitated and are unable to communicate your wishes. Living wills detail the type of medical treatment and life-prolonging measures you want or do not want. For example, your living will might specify which if any life-sustaining treatment you would want and which ones you would decline. Examples of life-sustaining or prolonging treatments include CPR, mechanical ventilation, transfusions, dialysis, nutrition and hydration.

In your living will you can also give instructions about pain medication, palliative care and organ and tissue donation.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is another document that is often part of an advanced health care directive. A durable power of attorney allows you as the principal to give another person, referred to as your attorney-in-fact or agent, the authority to made decisions for you while you are incapacitated. You may give your attorney-in-fact the authority to make financial decisions for you, heath care decisions for your or both.

It is up to you to decide what authority to give your attorney-in-fact. For example, with a power of attorney for financial matters, you can grant your attorney-in-fact the power to manage your bank account, manager your investments, manage your real estate, run your business, provide support to your spouse and children, and pay your taxes and bills.

In the case of a power of attorney for health care, you can give your attorney-in-fact the authority to arrange for hospitalization, arrange for hospice care, consent to specific types of treatment, refuse specific types of treatment, and make decisions about tissue and organ donation.

Long term care plan

Another issue that comes up often with older people is the issue of long term care and the associated costs. Older people often face a myriad of health challenges such that they need regular help from a professional caregiver, or they need to move into an assisted living, memory care, nursing facility. Long term care is quite expensive even if it is just involves help a few hours a week in your home. Assisted living, memory care living and nursing home fees are thousands and thousands of dollars each month. Some seniors living in such facilities for years. Even people with substantial assets will find that their savings are not enough to pay for years of care. With careful planning with the help of an elder law lawyer you will be able to receive the care that you need without spending all of your assets.

The Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates can help

One of the great concerns of aging relates to protecting ourselves and protecting our assets in the event we are too ill to manage them. To learn more about the how to protect your assets, how to plan for your long term care, how to plan for possible future mental incapacity and how to plan for the future of your family members, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We will help you develop an overall estate plan that reflects your individual goals. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your estate plan.

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