Group Legal Plans Provide Assistance for Caregivers

During National Caregivers Month this November, there will be a lot of talk about the strain on caregivers, both emotional and financial, of taking care of an elderly family member. According to an AARP study released this year, four in ten caregivers say they were not prepared to take on the role of family caregiver.  Among those who were prepared, only 16% say they were “very prepared.”(1)

Many of these caregivers are a part of the Sandwich Generation, balancing the needs of their own families with caring for an elderly parent. Juggling these two responsibilities can be a difficult balancing act and it’s often unclear where to get help. In addition to the day-to-day care of a loved one, caregivers often have to handle complicated financial and legal matters. From questions about Medicare or Medicaid to nursing home agreements and reviewing estate planning documents, caregivers have many legal issues to consider when caring for an elderly parent.

Attorneys can offer invaluable assistance to individuals dealing with caring for a family member and a group legal plan is an affordable option for individuals to get this help. Here are some of the issues a caregiver can use a legal plan for:

Estate Planning

One of the first legal issues a caregiver needs to consider is what estate planning documents a parent already has in place and how those documents may impact them. Having access to an attorney through a group legal plan allows caregivers to meet with an attorney to discuss exactly what documents their parent needs, and to discuss how these documents may affect them if they plan to become an executor of their parent’s Will or the agent in a parent’s Power of Attorney. Group legal plans also give caregivers access to attorneys to review their parent’s current estate planning documents and answer questions they may have in relation to how certain issues may impact them.

Medicaid/Medicare Issues

One of the issues involved in caring for an elderly parent that raises a lot of questions is figuring out how to pay for long-term care and what Medicare and Medicaid will cover. Caregivers with access to a group legal plan can meet with an attorney to review Medicare and Medicaid materials and advise them on how these issues may affect them as the caregiver. Attorneys can also answer any questions the caregiver may have about what the best options are for the parent.

Choosing a Nursing Home

At some point, a caregiver may decide it’s time for the parent to move into a nursing home. There are many things to consider when exploring nursing home options. This process involves a great deal of research, knowing what questions to ask and what factors to evaluate before deciding on a place. An individual who has access to an attorney through a group legal plan can get help reviewing documents related to nursing home agreements.

There are many legal issues to consider when taking on the responsibility of caring for a parent and a caregiver should not go it alone. Having access to an attorney to review documents, provide advice and answer questions on elder care legal issues is a valuable benefit for caregivers during a stressful time.

1 AARP, Family Caregiver Survey, November 2017