Get the legals in place

Your parents may be getting older and still have many years yet. Though, sometimes, we don’t know when illness takes hold and some serious decisions need to be taken. Remember, medical science has increased the longevity and at the expense of health.

The generation in their 70s, 80s and beyond tend to be stubborn in asking or accepting help. If any of the following are not in place, you could be in for a rough ride.

Here are six items to get in place BEFORE you need to use them and they are not in any order.

1. Enduring Power of Attorney or Guardianship

This is not about taking over. It can have a start date depending upon the circumstances. It’s about ensuring the wishes and lifestyle of your loved one is continued. You know your parent’s likes and dislikes, what they like to spend their money on. You can continue the pattern.

The last thing you want is for this to be taken over by social workers who implement legislation.

2. Advanced Care Directive

This details the person’s wishes with regards to medical care. You keep a copy and upload a copy to the person’s online health record. Also, send a copy to all the doctors, your part]ent is a patient with.

This avoids life saving measures undertaken unnecessarily.

3. Last Will and Testaments

I know when I looked at the wills of my parents, they were created many, many years before.

Make sure the Will is in line with their current wishes. Make sure you know where the Will is kept and who the executor is.

If a parent has a brain degenerative disease, then the Will can not be changed.

4. Details of financial documents

Know the account details and passwords of all accounts. If there are any changes ensure these are logged so the record is up to date.

5. Directory of Passwords

You want to be able to close down accounts at the end of life. You will need passwords. There are some accounts where presenting a death certificate will do it. Why add that extra layer when you will already be dealing with so many things?

6. Health Crisis

Where your parent has an episode of poor health and is in need of medical assistance, it is far better to take them to emergency department or the GP rather than calling an ambulance. The ambulance crew’s primary role is to save lives and get the person to hospital. The health directive may not be acted upon at this time. Your relative may have interventions contravening their health directive.

If you can stay in control, honour the wishes of your parent.

This is a complex area and I am expressing my opinion rather than legal opinion.

For Australia, these websites are a good starting point:

End of life in Australia

It is better to seek advice before an incident or emergency because, you will only need to address this rather than all the legalities at the same time.

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