Caretaking After clients execute their estate planning documents, several years may pass before I hear from many of them again. Sometimes, clients schedule an appointment to discuss caring for an incapacitated family member. While the family member may have executed the appropriate estate planning documents, our client seeks advice on providing the care, both financial and health, to his or her family member.
While our office is happy to assist our clients by providing them information about in-home caregivers, local nursing homes, and their fiduciary obligations to their incapacitated family members, most of our clients need to remember that care giving for an incapacitated individual is challenging. For example, I have a client whose spouse suffered from serious dementia. As a result, my client became housebound. She was unable to leave without her husband for fear he would wander away or harm himself. When she finally had the opportunity to leave the house, she came to my office for a meeting. By then, she had lost weight, looked exhausted, and was extremely emotional.
My client did not need legal advice. My client needed to know the resources available to her and her husband. I finally convinced her that if she was unable to care for herself, then she would never be able to care for her husband. My advice for all caregivers, especially unpaid family members, is to remember to care for yourself. If financially possible, hire someone to help care for your incapacitated love one to give you a break. Also, use the resources available through the Veteran’s Association, Alzheimer’s Association, social workers, and your loved one’s doctor.