Elderly people in New Jersey sometimes need their children to help them manage their finances. Adult children are frequently put in charge of paying bills, making investment decisions or applying for benefits. If an elderly person is completely incapacitated, he or she may need other people to be put in charge of critical health care decisions.
It's important for adult children to discuss their parents' end-of-life care options with them while they're still able to communicate their wishes. If there is no plan put in place early, relatives of an elderly person may have to go through the process of declaring him or her incompetent and then petitioning the court for guardianship rights. These legal processes can be stressful, especially if family members are not sure what their elderly loved one's wishes were.
A Health Care Power of Attorney and an HIPAA authorization form are two of the most important documents that a family should obtain to ensure that a relative is cared for in their old age. The HIPAA authorization form will ensure that a designated person can access an elderly relative's medical records in order to know what is going on with his or her health. A Health Care Power of Attorney will permit a designated person to make medical decisions on behalf of an elderly relative.
An estate planning attorney may be able to help an elderly person and his or her family develop a comprehensive estate plan while the individual is still competent. If an elderly person did not have an estate plan in place before becoming incompetent, an attorney may assist his or her family with the process of applying for powers of attorney and guardianship designations.