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With Ohio seniors living longer, fuller lives now than ever before, it can be difficult to know when to step in and help an elderly relative. This is an issue that family members find it is best to tackle before it becomes necessary. If provisions and desires are accounted for ahead of time, the transition could be easier when the time comes.

Before worrying about the legal documents, it’s necessary to understand a senior’s wishes as far as lifestyle, health care, independence, and housing. Once these are understood, it will be easier to plan a course of action that includes all aspects of managing an elderly relative’s finances.

Once everyone is in agreement, the first step is to complete the HIPPA authorization and a health care power of attorney, which respectively will allow the designee to have access to health care information and make critical decisions regarding acute and long-term care. Once that is complete, a durable financial power of attorney will be necessary for the preservation and management of assets. It can cover areas such as real estate transactions, bill paying, and managing benefit accounts.

After the necessary legal forms have been obtained, all health care, financial, and legal paperwork should be organized and kept together. This should include information regarding bank accounts, retirement plans, life and health insurance policies, and all relevant bills. Setting up automatic payments for recurring bills can be a tremendous time saver. This is also a good time to check into any state or federal benefits that may be available.

Though it can seem like an overwhelming process, an elder law attorney can often make the entire process a bit more manageable by preparing and reviewing the applicable documents. Once all of the issues have been discussed and proper provisions made, seniors can relax knowing that their wishes will be carried out by their family.