Important Legal Documents to Protect Yourself and Your Aging Parent

Page Reviewed / Updated - May 2015

Caring for an elderly loved one is challenging enough without legal obstacles.  Follows is a series of legal documents of which all persons caring for elderly individuals should be aware.   It is not necessary for everyone to have all these documents, but caregivers should be familiar with them and help their loved one to understand if they are relevant and necessary for their situation. 

Many of these documents are referred to by a variety of different names, some perhaps inaccurately, but nonetheless, those names are still used.   An strong effort has been to make reduce the complexity and confusing legal language associated with these topics.   Use the links in the table below to learn more about each document, what it can and cannot do, for whom they are important and all the relevant parties involved in the creation process.   We also explore the associated costs and the available assistance options. 

Name:Also Known As:Purpose:
Durable Power of Attorney for Asset Management -Financial Power of Attorney
-Springing Durable Power of Attorney
Allows one to appoint another to act for them in financial matters
Healthcare Power of Attorney -Medical Power of Attorney
-Health Care Proxy
Allows one to appoint another to act for them in medical matters
Advance Health Care Directive -Living Will
-AHCD
Instructs what health care actions to take should one become unable to communicate
Last Will and Testament -Will Controls the distribution of  property upon one's death
Do Not Resuscitate -DNR
-No Code
-Comfort Care Order
Informs medical professionals what they should not do if one stops breathing or heart stops