Are you a kinship caregiver providing care to a senior family member or friend?
It’s normal for families to have a myriad of questions about issues such as long term care, estate/Medicaid planning and guardianship when they first enlist the services of an elder law attorney.
One important ethical consideration for families to understand is that elder law advocates must clearly set forth who the actual client is. Depending on the circumstances, the client may be the senior, the caregiver, or even both (the family).
This delineation is very important because it will inevitably affect the way that an attorney can interact with involved parties. Keep in mind that, under the vast majority of circumstances, an attorney can’t share information about his or her client with another party without the client’s (preferably written) permission to do so. That said, the attorney may still be able to accept information from you without providing information to you.
This can be a delicate proposition for parties on both ends of the phone, but we always do our best to respect a senior client’s right to client confidentiality and self-determination while recognizing that, as time passes, roles can change.
July 1st, 2018 marks the implementation of several common-sense changes that the Indiana Legislature recently made to Indiana’s medical consent statute (I.C. 16-36-1-1 et. seq.)
If a person becomes incapable of making their own health care choices and doesn’t have written advance directives in place, Indiana law now has the following “priority order” of people who can make these choices on an individual’s behalf:
- A judicially appointed guardian of the person
- Adult Child
- Adult sibling
- Adult grandchild
- Nearest relative in next degree of kinship who is not listed in sections 2-7
- Friend who:
- Is an adult;
- Has maintained regular contact with the individual and;
- Is familiar with the individual’s activities, health and religious or moral beliefs.
- The individual’s religious superior, if the individual is a member of a religious order
If there’s more than one member of a voting group, then they must try to reach a collaborative consensus. If they can’t agree, then the majority rules.
The new law also specifies that the following people can’t make health care decisions:
- A spouse if the individual legally separated (or the spouse is the reason that the individual is hospitalized.)
- A person who is subjected to a protective order involving the individual
- A person who is subjected to pending criminal charges involving the individual
- A person the individual intentionally excluded when he or she signed advance directives
So, what practically happens when there is no advance directive and a person can’t consent to healthcare? In that case, the person’s care providers are required to conduct a “reasonable inquiry” to determine who can consent.
The good news? By naming a health care representative or a health care power of attorney, you can take charge of these choices yourself and decide who will speak for you if you can’t. We can help.
Good health is such a very precious thing. So eat your veggies, do some yoga, and be empowered!
Talking about health care choices won’t kill you.
Happy New Year to you and yours!
Here’s to eating clean, moving more, being more intentional with time, and getting those little ducks in a row.
We usually get a deluge of estate planning inquiries in January as people make good on those resolutions.
Let us know if we can help.
(We’ll provide the caffeine.)
As an extension of her law practice, Stasia regularly performs at musical events benefitting local organizations who support elders and individuals with special needs.
“Pam’s Party: A Joy’s House Open House” will be held on the evening of Thursday, July 27th @ 6:30pm at Joy’s House in Broad Ripple Village. It’s a celebration to honor caregivers and Guest/potential new Guests.
This open house is free to attend, but you may wish to bring cash for supper and activities, which will be available for purchase.
Hope to see you there!
Did you know that slightly more than 19 percent of Indiana’s population is represented by adults and kids with disabilities?
March is Disability Awareness Month in Indiana and we’re especially appreciative of this year’s campaign theme- “I’m Not Your Inspiration.”
Often, people with disabilities who are successful, athletic, employed, or simply good neighbors are put in the spotlight as inspiration to others. This year’s campaign theme emphasizes that people with disabilities are people first-people who want to be fully included in their communities, just like everyone else.
You can learn more about Disability Awareness Month here.
Questions about planning for your loved one with disabilities?
We can help.
Stamps. Snow globes. Clocks.
Many of our estate planning clients collect all sorts of curious and wonderful things!
We have worked with clients to make gifts of antique train sets, beloved comic books, or artwork.
Some of these items have significant monetary value or are historical artifacts that eventually end up in museum collections. Others are priceless because of the stories and sentimental value behind them.
What is precious to you? How can we help you to create a legacy of generosity?
One of the best things about elder law is that it gives us the opportunity to forge relationships (and learn valuable lessons) from some very wise elders.
While some of our conversations do center around planning for the eventuality of illness, death, or loss, an equal amount of time is often devoted to the legacies of love, connection, accomplishment, and meaning.
We learn so much in the process of helping.
We love this quote from this recent New York Times article:
” A paradox of old age is that older people have a greater sense of well-being than younger ones — not because they’re unreservedly blissful, but because they accept a mixture of happiness and sadness in their lives, and leverage this mixture when events come their way. They waste less time on anger, stress and worry.”