Part of caring for an older family member is making sure that they have a will, a Power of Attorney and a “living will” an Appointment of Enduring Guardian.
Documents for Planning Ahead
We have been helping people with Wills and Estates since the 1950s.
Health Care Decisions
Every person has the right to refuse (or accept) medical treatment, but the difficulty arises when you wish to ensure that you receive the treatment that you want when you are not able to make your preferences clear. Also you need to make your wishes about your future health care clear while you still have what is called “capacity”. Some informal ways of doing this are by making your wishes known to friends, relatives and your doctor, and by writing your wishes down.
There are also formal, legal ways to make sure that your wishes are respected. These are called; enduring guardianship and advanced health care directives or living wills.
See us to draw these up for you.
Assessing Decision Making Ability
You may have to address the question of whether the senior is able to make the required decisions. Correctly identifying whether someone is capable of making their own decisions is fundamental to the protection of their human rights.
Anyone who needs to assess decision-making capacity, such as friends, family or social workers, must consider the particular elements of the legal test specific to the decision. For instance, in assessing whether someone has the capacity to make their own financial decisions, you will need to consider two questions.
- First, is the person capable of managing their own property and affairs? They don’t have to be able to manage them in the best possible way, they just have to be able to manage them. Issues to consider include:
- A. whether the person is able to deal in a fairly capable way with the ordinary regular dealings in life so as to provide for their own welfare and anyone dependent on them,
- B. whether they understand their assets and outgoing expenses, and, C. whether they can manage their money to provide food, clothing, medicine and other necessities.
- Second, if they can’t manage their affairs, is there a risk that they may be disadvantaged or harmed, or their money or property wasted or lost?
In addressing capacity it is important to avoid discrimination. Don’t assume a person lacks capacity based on age, appearance, disability, behaviour or any other condition or characteristic. Before concluding lack of capacity, ensure that everything possible has been done to support the person to make a decision.
Caring for an older family member
There is an association for relatives and friends who are caring for people with a disability, mental illness, chronic condition or who are frail aged. Carers NSW produces several fact sheets with information about support for carers, financial assistance and legal issues.
- Caring for an older person
- Dealing with Hospitals
- Considering Residential Care
- Caring for someone in Residential Care
- The information is sometimes specific to NSW and the full list can be seen at the CarersNSW site
For other states see:
It is a Living Thing: all you need to know about living wills