Extended care is a continuum of care, housing, and services people and their families may need because of a chronic illness, frailty, or accident. It is assistance with activities of daily living or supervision caused by severe cognitive impairment. The objective is for people who need caregiving to remain at home allowing your family to oversee your plan of care or depending on the need to be in a care center.
General Power of Attorney
A General Durable Power of Attorney (POA) containing Asset Protection Powers is the first essential document. Not all POA’s are created equal; it is crucial that this document is prepared by a knowledgeable and experienced Attorney and not from a template on the internet.
A power of attorney is an important document in the event that, due to frailty, illness, or injury, you are unable to be personally responsible for your legal and financial affairs. Asset Protection Powers written into the POA are essential in order for your family to protect your assets,
A power of attorney is designed to avoid the need to go through a court-supervised conservatorship proceeding, which is time-consuming and an expensive process. Families must go to court to have you declared incompetent and to be appointed as your Conservator. The Conservatorship process is often referred to as a type of “living probate” because the Conservator is subject to all the rules of the probate court, including the requirement of filing annual accountings with the Court. State laws vary regarding the use and acceptance of a power of attorney.
Advance Medical Directive
A Long-Term Care Plan is an Advance Medical Directive (AMD) containing a Long-Term Care Directive.
An AMD (also called a Medical Power of Attorney or a Health Care Power of Attorney) authorizes a person (called your “Medical Agent”), to make decisions with respect to your medical care in the event that you are physically or mentally unable to do so. This document includes the type of provisions that used to be in what was commonly called a “Living Will,” allowing you to indicate your wishes concerning the use of artificial or extraordinary measures to prolong your life in the event of a terminal illness or injury. In the AMD you will also appoint a “Medical Agent” and give that person the power to consent to medical and health care decisions on your behalf with regard to providing, withholding, or withdrawing a specific medical treatment or course of treatment when you are incapable of making or communicating an informed decision on your own behalf. A comprehensive AMD will also allow you to indicate your wishes with regard to organ donation, disposition of bodily remains, and funeral arrangements.
A properly-drafted AMD is designed to avoid the need to go through a court-supervised guardianship proceeding, which is a time-consuming, expensive, and publicly embarrassing process whereby someone goes to court to have you declared incompetent and to be appointed as your Guardian, typically at the same time they are requesting appointment as your Conservator.
Long-Term Care Directive
Your Advance Medical Directive Long-Term Care Plan should include a Long-Term Care Directive (or this could be drafted as a separate document), which will allow you to make your desires known in the event you need long-term care in the future. For instance, do you want to remain at home and receive home-based care as long as possible, regardless of cost, even if it drastically reduces or entirely depletes your estate? Or would you prefer to remain at home and receive home-based care only if it doesn’t drastically reduce or entirely deplete your estate? If nursing home care is recommended, would you like to protect as much of your assets as is legally protected so that you can qualify for publicly-funded Medicaid benefits? If so, do you prefer that the protected assets be used to enhance your quality of care, or to provide an inheritance for the beneficiaries of your estate?
In order to be easily accessible when needed, your AMD should be registered with an electronic archive service that can immediately fax or e-mail the document.
Lifestyle Care Plan
A Long-Term Care Plan is a document called a Lifestyle Care Plan, also known as an Advance Care Plan. The Lifestyle Care Plan identifies your specific needs, desires, habits and preferences and incorporates all of this information into a document that your caregiver, family, or guardian has in writing because there has been the conversation.
An example of how this may be accomplished: Josephine Bonaparte wrote in her Lifestyle Care Plan that if Alzheimer’s disease or some other type of dementia inhibited her mental abilities to communicate or recognize her surroundings, she wished to be in a respectable facility and only asked when family and friends visited they brought chocolates. This request seemed silly at the time, but when her mental capacities diminished, the instructions were there. No one had to wonder if they should try to take care of her at home and how they would do it. Without guilt or question, they placed her in a respectable facility that took care of her needs. All they had to do was make loving visits, and of course, they brought chocolates.