Elder Law Attorney Jim Koewler talks about advanced directives, crucial for family caregivers.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
The following podcast is by Mr Jim Taylor, elder law and special needs attorney, helping and protecting those who need long term care, and welcome back to answers for elders radio is. We are talking about elder law and what is that actually mean for our families and how are you know how we can best navigate elder care and senior care? And one of the things that we are very blessed to talk about today is with a topic I think that is really important for family caregivers, and so if you’re taking care of a loved one, please listen to the following segment. This is important for so many reasons and I will tell you, as a previous caregiver from my mom, it was probably one of the most important things that I learned in the process. And we are joined again by Mr Jim Taylor, who is an elder law attorney in Ohio, but Jim is also wonderful resource for us because he is connected to elder law attorneys all across the country and, as a result, he’s here to talk a little bit about advance directives and what is that actually mean, especially if you’re taking care of a loved one. So Jim, welcome back to answer for elders. Thanks, Husie, glad to be here. Well, we’re glad you’re here. So we talk about advanced directives. That’s also talking about. You know, it’s called a power of attorney, but there’s different types and you know what is power of attorney advanced directive and why is it important? Well, let me before we get into that, let me clarify one thing. This is this is more for people who aren’t yet taking care of people in their family. Absolutely this is planning ahead before the roof. Thank you. Yes, okay, so if you are a family caregiver and the person to whom you are providing care has written good advanced directives, your life is easier. So if you are the family caregiver, please listen to this and prepare good advanced directors for yourself for your eventual caregivers to make their lives easy. Amen on that one. But from my seat I’m a big I like to talk about advance directives because someone who comes to me because I work in crisis long term care. I help people who can no longer take care of themselves and help them get Medicaid, via benefits whatever, to pay for care. And if they come to me with no or with weak advanced directives, my job is a lot harder. If they come to me with good advance directives, then my job is easier. So that’s an interesting thing. When you say a week advanced directive and a and a, you know, a well done one. You know, people just think it’s all the same. They think that you know, they’re going to go on to a site, website, download of form and fill it out. Don’t do that. Don’t do that, please, don’t do that. Don’t do that. Yeah, exactly. So. So what makes what makes a good advance directive, I guess, is my question. Okay, as far as I’m concerned, a good advanced directive is written to prepare for the risk of long term care in the future. Okay, powers of attorney. There are two basic types, general power attorney and healthcare power attorney. The easiest way to describe that as healthcare power attorney is like skin and contents. Healthcare Power Attorney is about everything that health insurance would cover and a few other things like that. Help in turns not going to pay for a nursing home, but a healthcare power returney empower someone to make nursing home decisions and a general power attorney can be everything else. It can be limited. I mean in here in Ohio, and I suspect this is pretty true in many states. We can have a power of attorney as small as allowing my spouse to go get my drive my license plate for my car because I she can’t go get it if I don’t give her a power rettrinity to do so because the DMB won’t give it to her. Right. So there’s these very limited powers of attorney. But in planning ahead for the risk of long term care in your future, you want a broad general power returney and a healthcare power returnee. In some states are called healthcare proxies, but they’re the same concept. You and writ hower someone else to make decisions for you on certain things that you put in there. My suspicion is most states have a form healthcare power returney. Here in Ohio we’re very lucky. We have an excellent form healthcare power retturney. It was negotiated with hospitals, doctors, government agencies, hospice and respite care industries. So they revisit this every once in a while. Our last change ones in two thousand and seventeen, and the one before that was in sixteen. So they look at it this pretty constantly starter states. I hope they have quality documents like we have. Use that one right. Okay, a healthcare emergency can happen. A banking emergency isn’t going to be you individually, it’s going to be a crafty economy. So your powerty is not going to make any difference in a banking emergency. Anything that you need done through a general power returney can wait till tomorrow. You can’t need done. The health healthcare power attorney might need done right now. So you want that doctor or nurse or caregiver to have seen this form before and know what they’re looking at right right. And you know, it’s interesting too when you say that, because you’re absolutely right in making sure that you know who that person is. But even more important, if you’re S say, establishing a son or a daughter to be your power of attorney, you need to know what you’re reck. You know your what you want in advance. Don’t leave it up to their judgment because you never know what what you know, you might say, I don’t want to be kept alive artificially. If there’s no chance for me to, you know, to be revived or if I’m beyond a certain things. You need to communicate that to whoever’s advocating for you in that response. I, and you know you think about I was power of attorney from my mother and when they came to me when she was at the end of her life and they said, basically, you know, we can initiate comfort care and start and allow her to, you know, to pass away peacefully, or we can keep her alive for the next two weeks if you want, you know, two to three weeks she might last. And you know, I had to make that decision and that was a very powerful, profound decision on my behalf. But you know what, I knew what my mother would want and that was that was comfort to me and I think one of the things that families tend to not do is have those difficult conversations, and somebody like you can help initiate those conversations with the family. So as you’re planning those things in advance you want to make. I’m sure you have those decisions, do you not? Yes, now, I don’t do a whole lot of that work because I fact right, I focus my practice on long term care, but meaning my elder law competitors do estate planning and include advance directives. From whatever reason, I don’t enjoy that work. So I do a lot of talking about it and encouraging people to have quality advanced directives, but I don’t do that work except really extremely rarely, because I just didn’t find it interesting. Yow. Yeah, well then it’s it’s a diff conversation. But even managing at financial power of attorney, how do you want your money spent? You know, what are the most important things to you in in me making these decisions? Is it important for me to make a decision that you’re kept in a really nice place, that so that we drain all your finances, or do you want to just be more practical with your money and have money left over for people to hear it? Those are the things, those two kind of questions way in advance that that power of attorney obviously needs to know. Is that correct him? That is correct the person needs to know. In addition, you need to write the document, the written power of attorney. Technically the person is the attorney in fact, or agent, depending on what term your state likes to use the power of attorney is just a Sheaf of papers with instructions on. So tells the World Suzanne is my agent. She can speak for me if I can’t speak for myself. And here’s what, you’re not my agent. Yeah, be clear. Yeah, I was financial power. What is well written? You want to empower that agent with last choices, because most states have adopted what is called the uniform power of Attorney Act. Now it’s not uniform. They make a little tweaks here and there, but the basic outline is the same and it is not very powerful for long term care. It is quite weak for long term care. So when, if you start looking for an attorney to help you write good powers of attorney, my suggestion is you look for an elder law attorney. You can find one through Naila Dot Org. Find a lawyer, nail is Naela, national accunty. Go to law attorneys and then when you find those, there’s a find a lawyer button, putting your Zip Code and then when you find that, will give you a list. Look at individuals on that list, look at their website, see if they do long term care or medicate work. Okay, and estate planning. People who do long term care work tend to write better powers of attorney attorneys who do only estate planning and probate administration, other words of stuff after you die. They assume you’re going to die and that’s all that’s going to happen. They don’t. They rarely think we’re thinking. Don’t think very much about what happening. We so go to an elder law attorney who has a lot of experience in long term care and you will probably get a better power of attorney than you would if you go to an estate planning attorney with little or no long term care experience. H sorry, my stick planning friends, I apologize, but that’s the no and I’m really glad that you bring that up for sure, because that’s one thing. So you’re talking about Nayla. So if you’re outside of the state of Ohio, how it’s? I think it’s Anaela Dot Org, an a ELA Dotorg, and you can and and listen to Jim’s advice on how to find a good, you know, elder law attorney to hat draft up your power of attorney. It’s very important. And second of all, make sure that I will, I will amend. I’m probably unusual. I don’t know that I’m the only outlaw attorney doesn’t want to do a state planning, but the vast majority of elder law attorneys will do estate planning. I guess don’t like to work. So I said no, yeah, and I you know, Jim. I’m going to close with a really quick story just of why this is so important. My mom had dementia. She had a two hundred and some thousand dollars to live on and she was perfectly capable of managing her own finances until such time that she started to decline and the doctor went ahead and he he activated because she was declared incompetent at that point. And so we ended up then that my power of attorney went into effect. The bank set me a COP credit card with my name on it that had Aif at the at the act, you know, think a journey. In fact, that’s the next reference I was making. But my mother was online. are on the phone ordering from catalogs to the point of Twentyzero of credit card debt. Had I not had that power of attorney, I would have been liable for that. And those are the things when we look at these these scenarios, thank goodness, or documentations in place to save and protect our family caregivers, are those that are poverts. Attorney. That is a document to protect you and it’s also to keep you, you know, safe in liability. So that’s just my two bits here to say. That’s why that document is so, so important. So thank you so much, Jim, for being with us and we’re very excited. Jim’s going to be with us for several segments in the future and we’re looking forward to learning more about elder law. So in the meantime, everyone, you can reach Jim at jkoe wler AFE. So my first initial my last name. Weird, is it is? That’s my last name. A fee for answers for elders allows me to figure out who’s how. People found me at protecting Seniorscom, and Jim can also be reached through answers for elderscom and he’s also all on our platforms, on apple podcast, Google podcast, spotify and more. So we’re looking forward to future conversations with you and thank you so much, Jim, for being on our show today. Thank you, Suzanne. State of Ohio residents, you have a friend to help you navigate long term care while protecting your assets. You can reach Jim at www dot protecting seniorscom or just email him at j Koewler afe. That’s j Taylor AFE at Protecting Seniorscom
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Originally published June 18, 2021