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Money matters: how hospice can help you plan ahead

Hospice and financial matters

Your hospice social worker can help you understand some of the necessary first steps
By Patty Ayers

How much do you really know about your finances or your parents’ finances?

One major stressor that hospice caregivers often report is the task of taking over paying the bills or financial matters for their own household or for their parents.  Ask yourself this: what exactly does it mean to be the Power of Attorney (POA) on behalf of someone else and how do I start the process?

The first step is to have the conversation with your parent or spouse when you still can.  If your loved one is already unable to make decisions for himself due to his illness, it may already be too late to have him sign a Power of Attorney, and you may have to apply for guardianship through the court system.

A durable Power of Attorney allows you, as the person designated as the “agent”, to make financial or medical decisions on behalf of your spouse or parent.  You can download a “boiler plate” POA form from many websites on the internet, buy a kit from a store that sells office supplies, or you can hire an elder care attorney to assist you in preparing a POA and other documents you may need along the way.

If you decide to download one or buy the kit, be aware that your parent or spouse has be capable of leaving the house to sign it in the presence of a Notary or you need to have a Notary come to you as your signatures need to be witnessed.

Once signed, this document will give you the ability to do things like pay bills, sell assets, and apply for Medicaid on behalf of your family member should the need arise.  If a homecare or hospice agency is involved in your parents’ care or if they are in a nursing home, most often you can request a social worker to help you navigate through this process.

Please visit our Useful Tools page for resources you may need in caring  for a loved one with a life-limiting illness.

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