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California Law Attorney: Creating Designation Documents to Help Your Children


Last updated 8/4/2021 at 9:05am

At some point, most senior citizens will either want help managing their finances or will need someone else to handle their finances for them. It’s usually around this time when they also begin to think about the types of end-of-life treatments they may (or may not) want to receive.

While many seniors already have a Power of Attorney or Living Will in place, there’s always a chance that the documents are outdated and do not reflect the senior’s current wishes or situation. What happens then? Adult children, who are supposed to help during this time, are often left with their hands tied. In some cases, they won’t be able to make necessary financial or medical decisions on the senior’s behalf without involving the court in a long, costly Conservatorship process. This is why it’s important to have a set of designation documents created that matches your current stage of life, as it gives your children the tools necessary to help you when you need it the most.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney allows you to name an agent (in most cases, your spouse or adult children) to act on your behalf concerning financial matters. Senior citizens who have trouble traveling to the bank or who want someone else to handle their bills and finances will use a Durable Power of Attorney. This document allows a spouse or adult child to care for financial matters on behalf of their parent without having to prove any kind of medical disability. It also gives them the ability to fill out paperwork necessary for assisted living or nursing home admissions. To determine if a Durable Power of Attorney is right for you, contact an elder law attorney to have them review your current situation.

Healthcare Directive

A Healthcare Directive allows you to name an agent (again, spouse or adult child) to act on your behalf concerning medical matters if you become incapacitated as well as leave instructions for end-of-life care. It’s important to review your Healthcare Directive with your adult children and explain your wishes regarding end-of-life care, especially if your spouse has already passed away. This will help them to know that all decisions are yours and it can help take any burdens off of their shoulders when it comes time to stop treatments or “pull the plug.” An elder law attorney can provide guidance on what should be in your healthcare directive and how to help your children understand their role as agents.

If you would like to learn more about creating designation documents to help your children, or if you’d like to have your existing designation documents reviewed for your current situation, please contact us at 800-244-8814 to set up a consultation.

– Robert Galliano, Attorney at Law, Copenbarger & Copenbarger, LLP

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