Anchorage Elder Law End of Life Care and Planning
Our goal is to make end of life concerns easier for families in Alaska.
At some point, all of us end up one step closer to the end of our life and the many decisions that must be made one way or another. Discussing our mortality is never a comfortable topic, but being prepared for end of life care and other concerns can give you peace of mind.
Seniors, in particular, should consider end of life planning as early as possible if you haven’t already done so. A skilled Anchorage attorney from Wyatt & Butterfield, LLC can help put a plan in place.
About Elder Law
Elder law is a specialized area of law with a focus on older clients and their families. Our goal is to help you make informed decisions with sound judgment regarding end of life concerns and planning for the long term.
Over the years, we have helped many people in dire circumstances. When we meet with our clients, we truly listen to every situation so that we can put a plan together to address all concerns.
As elder law attorneys, we advocate for you and the legal issues that older people face, including Medicaid planning and senior healthcare, long term care, retirement planning, estate planning and asset protection, and end of life concerns.
We take these complex matters and break them down in an easy to understand manner for you. Most of all, our focus is your best interest as we navigate towards helping you make the best choices for you and your family.
End of Life Care and Elder Law
Unfortunately, sometimes we receive a terminal diagnosis or failing health that signals the end of life sooner than we hoped for.
End of life planning can happen at any age, but as you get older, time is of the essence. Being prepared can benefit you in a couple of ways.
Most importantly, it can help ensure that your wishes are carried out whether it concerns the financial matters of your estate or your medical care. This allows you to stay in control of your own affairs while taking the burden away from your family.
End of life preparation can help put your mind at ease so you can better enjoy whatever time you have left.
The important thing to understand is that to ensure that your wishes are respected, various legal documents must be in place for your decisions to be legally enforceable. These documents must address any potential health issues that may come up as well as any financial concerns you might have.
Careful consideration of your general health status, your spiritual beliefs, your financial health, and the dynamics within your family should factor into some of your decision makings. Once you’ve evaluated those things, it’s a good idea to ask an attorney about these important legal documents and the role they can play in seeing your wishes to fruition.
Alaskan law will only recognize your wishes if they’re conveyed in a legal document. Some of these documents may include a Healthcare or Durable Power of Attorney, an Advance Healthcare Directive, and wills and trusts.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
A Healthcare Power of Attorney empowers someone else to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. You’ll want to appoint someone you literally trust with your life.
Your healthcare power of attorney should be highly detailed for any given scenario and you should be specific about your wishes.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone you trust to manage your property, assets, and financial affairs if you become unable to do so.
As you near the end of your life, it can become more challenging to pay bills, make financial decisions, and file and pay your taxes. A designated person can do these things for you.
During the final days, months, or even final years of your life, your health becomes center stage. You’ll have healthcare concerns on top of financial concerns and both must be adequately addressed.
Trusts can prevent your property from being seized by creditors while you’re alive or after you pass away. The Medicaid Asset Protection Trust, for example, can help protect your home and any assets you have from having to be sold off or seized should you need long term care in the future.
However, you need to allow a five-year period for the trust to be valid without penalties because Medicaid looks back during that time to make sure you didn’t transfer control just to avoid losing your assets.
As elder law attorneys, we understand how to legally leverage the Medicaid rules of asset and transfer guidelines to protect your assets if you should require long term care.
Gift and loan strategies, annuities, and other tools are available to protect you in spite of the five-year look-back period. This is invaluable since you may not have time to prepare in the eventuality of needing long-term care.
Advance Directives and Their Role in End of Life Planning
You may have heard the term ‘Living Will’ before. An Advance Healthcare Directive and a living will are essentially the same things. This document allows you to instruct your family and the medical profession on the type of medical treatment you want in certain situations where your prognosis is deemed terminal.
A Living Will is usually valid if you’re in the latter stages of a medical condition that is expected to end your life, or if you’re unconscious and doctors don’t expect you to ever wake up. These conditions would likely render you incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself.
If your wishes are not legally outlined, the final decision for any medical treatment you may need may fall to your family or someone else. And while your family will have your best interest in mind, chances are they may disagree among themselves.
This could create a lot of unnecessary resentment among your loved ones. Meanwhile, you may not end up with the decision you would make for yourself. So, it’s important to make this decision while you’re in better health and have it detailed in an Advance Healthcare Directive.
Your Advance Healthcare Directive might outline under which situations you’d want to continue treatment and which ones you’d want to withdraw treatment altogether. It might stipulate whether or not you want cardiopulmonary resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, or even hydration and nutrition fed through your veins if doctors don’t expect you to recover.
Ideally, you’ll have an Advance Healthcare Directive and a Power of Attorney. The agent you’ve named in your Power of Attorney should understand your end of life wishes and both your agent and your attorney can play a role in ensuring that your wishes are carried out.
Contact Wyatt & Butterfield, LLC for Comprehensive End of Life Planning
Think about how a long term plan can help make the choices you want while protecting you and your family’s future.
You don’t want to discuss and carry out these important end of life concerns to just anyone. These decisions will be the most important choices you’ll ever make. It’s important to seek the help of a compassionate elder law attorney who understands how Alaska law factors into your decisions.
You also want someone who really understands the family dynamics involved in decisions like this. While the choices you need to make aren’t easy, once you have a plan in place, there will be less stress for everyone.
As elder care attorneys, we go above and beyond the call of duty. We’ll advocate for you and support you and your family at a time when you need a calm, reassuring voice. And we’ll be there at every stage of end of life planning.
Contact our knowledgeable Anchorage attorney today for your long term plan. We want to ensure that you’re financially and medically protected during your late-life challenges.