Caregiver’s Legal Checklist: Essential Documents Every Caregiver Should Have on Hand

At Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., our estate planning clients are often devoted caregivers who seek guidance about how best to make certain all the documents they need are well-crafted and readily at hand. This blog offers a checklist for caregivers who want to ensure that they have everything in place if a health crisis arises or if the patient they’re tending to suddenly requires end-of-life care. 

We know that although it is distressing to see someone you have known to be strong, alert, and responsible weakening as they age, giving back to someone who once gave you so much can be deeply rewarding, and spending time with them when you know time is limited can mean a great deal. Let us help smooth your path.

Documents Massachusetts Caregivers Should Have for Their Patients

If you are providing care to an older person you love, you need more than advice about day-to-day nutrition and medication. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to have a consultation with your estate planning attorney about precisely which documents you should have customized to meet the needs of your specific circumstances. If you live in Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, and the islands, contact our experienced, compassionate attorneys. We are here to help you create and execute:

Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA): This legal document allows your loved one to designate someone (usually their caregiver) to manage their financial and legal affairs. You can arrange for this authority to become active immediately or only if they become incapacitated. The Durable Power of Attorney is vital for managing bank accounts, paying bills, and handling investments on their behalf.

Health Care Proxy (HCP): this document allows a person to appoint a trusted individual with the fortitude to carry their wishes and to make medical decisions if they are unable to do so. This ensures that the medical care they receive will align with their needs in emergencies where they may be unable to communicate.

Advance Directive (Living Will): This document, distinct from a Last Will and Testament, outlines a person’s preferences for end-of-life medical care, such as life support and resuscitation efforts. It’s crucial for preventing family disputes and ensuring that the patient’s wishes are followed.

HIPAA Authorization: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) keeps a person’s medical information private. A HIPAA Authorization form allows healthcare providers to disclose medical information to designated individuals, like caregivers, which is essential for making informed medical decisions.

Last Will and Testament: This document specifies how a person wants their assets and properties distributed after their death. For caregivers, understanding the contents of this document is essential to seeing to it that the final wishes of their loved one are carried out.

Trusts (Irrevocable/Revocable): Similar to a will, a living trust outlines how assets should be managed and distributed, but it offers more control and privacy and can help to avoid probate. As a caregiver, you might be designated as a trustee, responsible for managing the trust according to the stipulations set forth.

List of Important Documents and Contacts: Finally, it’s advisable to have a list detailing where to find these documents as well as the contact information for lawyers, doctors, and financial advisors. This list will save valuable time and reduce stress during emergencies or after the patient’s passing.

Each Caregiver Situation Is Unique

Since no two caregiving situations are identical, it is essential to discuss the specifics of yours with one our our knowledgeable attorneys. Contact us now to make certain that you have all the updated documents you need so you can be more relaxed during this difficult time.