7 Legal Tips for Family Caregivers

Available for Interviews: Glenn Matecun.

Glenn R. Metecun, CELA, is certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Sometimes special occasions like Thanksgiving offer great opportunities to have heart-to-heart conversations with the people we care about. Here are some talking points on how one can engage in a thoughtful and crucial conversation with his or her elderly parents on estate planning:

Talking Points from Glenn Matecun
On Legal Caregiver Tips

Many times family caregivers are so busy taking care of their every-day duties, they ignore pressing legal issues that need to be handled. Here are the top 7 legal issues:

  • Understand Your Legal Authority. Capacity is not all or nothing, but generally capacity declines over time. If your loved one has capacity, they may be making financial and medical decisions on their own. If not, they you must understand what legal authority you have to handle financial and medical matters for your loved one.

  • Appoint a Health Care Agent. Make sure that your loved one has a Health Care Power of Attorney (sometimes called an Advanced Directive, Living Will or Medical Directive). If not, you will need to go through the time-consuming, expensive and emotionally draining process to become appointed by a probate court. It’s also important to sign a global HIPAA Authorization to allow loved ones to access health care information when necessary.

  • Complete a Financial Durable Power of Attorney. If your loved one is unable to write checks or dealt with other financial matters, you must have a Durable Power of Attorney to step in and assist. But be careful—all Durable Powers of Attorney are not created equal—many forms from the internet or from inexperienced attorneys will not work the way you expect.

  • Understand what benefits may be available to your loved one. You will need to manage your loved one’s social security and medical benefits (likely Medicare and supplemental insurance), but you must also understand that there are certain other benefits that may be available, like Veterans benefits of Medicaid benefits.

  • Know the Signs of Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation. As a caregiver, you are the front-line protection against neglect and financial exploitation of your loved one. You must be able to spot and respond to elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

  • Be Careful of Personal Care Agreements. If you are caring for a family member, beware of the Medicaid rules on Personal Care Agreements. Most payments to family caregivers are penalized as “gifts” unless they are structured exactly the right way.

  • Know what you don’t know. Understand that you can know everything, but also that there are considerable resources available to you to find answers to all of your legal/caregiving questions.


Interview: Glenn Matecun.

Glenn R. Matecun is a Michigan estate planning and elder law attorney, helping families plan for life, resolve conflict, deal with loss, protect assets and preserve a lasting legacy. He has been an attorney for over 30 years and practices throughout the state of Michigan.

Jo Allison
PR Managing Editor
Success In Media, Inc.

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