Many things in our lives just work out better when we plan for them. From simple things like writing a grocery list to more complicated issues like preparing for a natural disaster, planning really helps. When dealing with a health-related crisis, it’s particularly important to know the difference between advance planning and an emergency response.
Scenario #1: No Planning.
Let’s say Dave’s grandmother Lillian is 89, but in fairly good health. She even lives in her own home. Then one day, she collapses and is taken to the hospital. Dave and his family learn that Lillian needs both crisis care and long-term care. Decisions need to be made quickly. After all, Grandma Lillian deserves the best treatment suitable to her condition, right?
Unfortunately, Grandma Lillian did not prepare any kind of estate planning documents. A Last Will and Testament wouldn’t help with her current situation, but other estate planning documents would. Since she didn’t sign a durable power of attorney, no one was authorized to pay her bills or handle any other financial transactions. Without a healthcare power of attorney or health-care proxy, her doctors were spending precious time trying to find someone to make decisions about her medical treatment. Finally, her family contacted an attorney and filed a court proceeding to have a guardian and/or conservator appointed. They also had to figure out how to pay for her care.
Scenario #2: Preplanning.
Angie’s Grandpa Leo is 85 years old and in fairly good health for an active octogenarian. Unfortunately, though, he becomes critically ill and is taken to the emergency room. Angie and her family are told that he needs crisis care and long-term care. The prognosis isn’t great, and decisions must be made quickly.
Fortunately, Grandpa Leo did have an estate planning attorney prepare comprehensive estate plans. His durable power of attorney appointed Angie’s brother, Luther, to take care of Leo’s financial affairs. A healthcare power of attorney authorized Angie to make medical decisions for him. Decisions about how to take care of Grandpa Leo were made swiftly and with the greatest benefit to him possible. Angie’s family did not have to go through any court proceedings to make sure their beloved grandfather was properly cared for. His attorney had even advised him on long-term care and Medicaid eligibility.
Advanced Planning vs. Emergency Response.
We cannot predict when a health crisis will strike.
But we can set up plans so our response to the emergency may be less stressful and less expensive.
Start Planning Now.
Don’t let long-term care issues give you a sudden and unpleasant surprise. Know where you stand now, and how to plan for the future. Talk to an Alabama attorney with experience and training to handle your concerns. Contact Adams Miller, LLP at 256-251-2137 to schedule an appointment. We help clients in Anniston, Talladega, Birmingham, Gadsden and surrounding communities.