What Is Legal Advocacy?

elder care lawPlanning ahead for all stages of life include understanding legal terminology. I will break down some of the more important terms.

Why Is Estate Planning Important?

  • Provides for person health care and affairs/assets in case of incapacitation
  • Leaves a legacy for property and memories for loved ones and special causes
  • Manages and reduces taxes (state and federal) for maximal asset transfer to heirs and benficiaries

ElderCompass highly recommends meeting with an attorney versed in elder law to plan a will and trust. Establishing wishes regarding end of life, finances, and property distribution may provide peace of mind, and family-advocates clear direction.

As you read further, these terms are all used when planning your legal documents. Become familiar with these basic terms to make your experience with legal professionals more efficient and less stressful.

Advance Directive:

Statement made by an individual, usually in a written document, concerning medical treatments to be provided and decision –maker to be appointed of the patient becomes incapacitated or terminally-ill.

Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (Proxy Statement):

Legal document prepared by an individual authorizing a family member or friend to make health care decisions on their behalf in case of incompetence.

Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR):

Physician order, inserted into an individual’s patient records and wishes documentation that Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) shall not be used as a lifesaving procedure.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR):

Emergency treatment that compresses the heart and forces air into the recipient’s lungs. This process is used when the heart  or breathing stops.

Competence:

In the context of healthcare, ability of a patient or individual to make independent decisions about health or medical treatments.

Conservator (Guardian of Assets):

Person appointed by the court to manage financial or legal affairs of an incapacitated individual.

Extraordinary Medical Measures:

Medical treatment that would not provide a distinct benefit, would serve  a patient’s best interest, or would be considered unreasonable in improving or saving a person’s life.

Guardian:

Court-appointed fiduciary responsible for a minor or incompetent person.

Informed Consent:

Legal condition whereby a person can be said to have agreed or given consent to allow something to happen based on full appreciation and understanding of the facts and implication of the action.

Marital Trust:

Trust that mandates the income of the trust be paid to the surviving spouse.

Power of Attorney:

Written document executed by one person who authorizes another person to act on his or her behalf.

Probate:

Legal process of administering and distributing an estate after death.

Trust:

Fiduciary arrangement set up by a grantor whereby property is held and managed for a named beneficiary by a third party, known as a trustee.

Trustee:

Person or organization holds legal title to property held in a trust. The Trustee holds and manages the property for the benefit of the trust beneficiary or beneficiaries.

Will:

Legal document that specifies how a person wishes to distribute probate property and provides other instructions in the event of death.

Conclusion:

Planning ahead is a favor to both seniors themselves and family/advocates.  End-of-life documentation can provide relief to those left behind. Keep legal documents in a safe place and ensure appropriate family members and advocates have copies and key contact information.