Four Ways to Help Elderly Family Members Ensure Care

Simpson Law, PA.

Thanks for the fast turnaround; our very nice trip to Russia was made better knowing all this was taken care of with your professional expertise…we will keep you in mind in the future…and when we know someone else is looking for estate planning help.

--Steve, Silver Spring, Maryland

Thanks so much for everything…I gave your business card to 3 co-workers… I gave you the highest recommendation!

--Elizabeth, Fairfax, Virginia

Thanks again for your help and patience while we dragged our feet.

--Debbie,Potomac, Maryland

Getting a will written, designating a power of attorney - these are all tasks that I knew must be done - but I had been putting them on the back burner. Suzanne made the process simple, quick and painless. Everything was done professionally and in a timely manner. It brings me peace of mind to know that all this is taken care of!

--Nancy, President and Founder, Moms, Inc.

Thanks again for being so thorough…stay in touch.

--Donna, Reston, Virginia

I really appreciated all you did to make this so simple and speedy. You have done a great job incorporating all our various issues. I hope to have opportunities to send other clients your way.

--Caitlin, Laurel, Maryland

Suzanne handled the preparation and filing of all the estate documents for me, my husband, and our daughter. This included our wills, general powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney, and others. Her explanations were always clear and thorough. Suzanne also found a possible problem in the wording on the deed to our house--- and recommended a simple solution. We are so happy to now have everything in good order. Working with Suzanne was a personal and professional pleasure!

--Terry

Thanks for letting us bring the children!

--Jennifer, Boyds, Maryland

Thanks for making it so easy and coming to our house both times!

--Don, Olney, Maryland

Suzanne is honest and knowledgeable about estate law. She will guide you to what best fits your needs and your financial situation. She is also very family oriented and that means a lot to me.

-- Linda

Thanks a lot for your help!

--Jan, Fairfax, Virginia

Thanks for everything!

--Cindy, Olney, Maryland

I am a lawyer as well, but my family went to Suzanne several years ago to prepare our wills and related estate documents, and we were extremely pleased with her services. From my professional perspective, she is very intelligent and stays up-to-date on the current laws, and on a more personal note, she is a very warm and caring person.

--Melissa

I’m telling my friends about you!

--Suzanne, Olney, Maryland

Thanks for making it easy!

--Paula, Rockville, Maryland

We worked with Suzanne to develop an advanced directive and will. It was a pleasure working with her -- she was helpful, very well-informed, thoughtful, and understanding of our needs. She was able to lead us through the process with clear instructions and had obviously done her homework before we arrived so that the process was efficient, with minimal back and forth. She has developed a very specific approach to writing advanced directives that reduces ambiguity and provides tremendous reassurance that our wishes will be fulfilled. She dispelled some misconceptions we had about wills and trusts in a respectful, courteous and patient manner, without ever making us feel awkward or uncomfortable. We absolutely trust her judgment and her recommendations which are provided with a commendable balance of professionalism and warmth.

--Anne

I've been a client of Suzanne's for almost a decade and, with flexibility and compassion, she has worked with me to adapt my plan to meet my expectations. I trust her advice and highly recommend her services.

--Donna

I had a unique opportunity to observe Suzanne's interactions with a diverse group of colleagues over a year of her participation in Leadership Montgomery and based on that I choose her to prepare my estate plan and to advise me about the process. She is a good listener who is well-respected by her peers for her thoughtful insights and assessments. I decided to retain her to prepare my own estate plan and felt she handled my case with competence and integrity, making the process very comfortable and easy for me.

--Katalin

Suzanne prepared our wills and other estate documents after our child was born. She helped us think through the consequences of the decisions we made, including making sure we had contacted our choices for guardians. We really appreciated her flat-fee based billing too. We knew exactly how much to budget for her service. As a great bonus, with her quarterly newsletter, we get regular updates on relevant legal issues. We have recommended Suzanne many times in the past and will continue to do so. She's a great go-to person.

--Wendy

Suzanne Simpson is the best lawyer I have ever met. She helped me in a most difficult probate case made extremely complex by incompetence of involved parties. She handled the case with efficiency, integrity, know-how and compassion making the best out of a very complicated situation. Due to her knowledge and efficiency my case was resolved in a positive manner. I have not enough words in my vocabulary to express my trust and respect for her ability to successfully finalize a case which other lawyers had deemed to difficult to handle. Kudos for Suzanne Simpson, Esq.!!

--Marta

Ms. Simpson was our attorney helping us form a will and all the related documents that are important when you have a child -- and even when you don't. What can I say? She has it in all areas. First and foremost, she is an honest person and I always feel she is focused on giving us the best advice. She is highly knowledgeable and continues to go to seminars and keep up with the latest changes in the law -- of which there are many! Her service is impeccable: prompt, calling back ASAP, polite. And in all the while I have known her, she has never made any reference to any client. So I know my own info will be kept private. And her compassion is true, something you need and want when dealing with life and death issues.

--Michelle

Suzanne was easy to work with and very knowledgeable. She explained advantages and disadvantages of optional language and was very helpful in developing our wills, health directives and powers of attorney.

--Wills client

My husband and I were referred by our financial advisor to Simpson Law and from the first phone call to Suzanne Simpson we were handled in a professional manner-she clearly explained all of our options, the laws involved, we made our decisions and within the time frame that we requested. High Marks---we plan on recommending Simpson Law to all of our business partners, family and friends as well.

--Mary Joe

She does what it takes to get the job done. Suzanne is caring and compassionate which is helpful during the estate planning process which can be very emotional in some cases. She is a pleasure to work with and her fees are very reasonable, unlike many other attorneys.

--Susan

Read more testimonials

Far too often, elders do not have their affairs in order in time, leaving heirs or caregivers to try to sort out what should happen with accounts, property, or medical decisions. Or elders outlive their heirs or friends and have no one to turn to in a time of need. Here are just a few tips for helping your elderly friends or family members make sure they are taken care of in terms of legal items during their most vulnerable times.

Choose a Medical Agent

Not only should a person's medical wishes be recorded, but a medical or health care agent should also be named. Typically, the agent is identified in a durable power of attorney. The medical agent would be responsible for making decisions on the elderly person's behalf once that person is judged to be incapacitated, whether due to dementia, accident, or illness. This person must be chosen carefully and would ideally be a trusted family member or close friend. The agent may also have to make end-of-life decisions, such as allowing life support or providing "do not resuscitate" instructions based on the elderly person's wishes.

Create a Financial Checklist or Plan

Medical care can become expensive. It's better to sit down and discuss a financial plan sooner rather than later if one has not already been created. Does your elderly family member have enough to ensure their care? If not, what else is needed? If they have created a trust, are there enough funds to fuel the trust? Have they made decisions about divisions of assets or what might be done with bank accounts, retirement benefits, or other financial items? You can help your elderly relative tackle these questions and more by creating a financial checklist or plan of what needs to be addressed, what decisions have been made, and what still needs to be done1. These decisions can then be discussed with a lawyer as needed when creating legal paperwork.

Ensure Paperwork is in Order

Without legal paperwork, agents and caregivers may have to guess about the elderly person's wishes for their care, or use their own best judgment in making decisions based on what they know of the person. Having the paperwork in order is the best way to make sure that a person's health care, financial, and legal wishes are recorded and enforceable. In the situation of ensuring care for an elder, such documents might include powers of attorney, wills, trusts, and/or other medical documents.

Avoid Guardianship

It is much more common for a person to have named an agent to make decisions on their behalf once he or she becomes incapacitated. However, by waiting too long to name agents or get paperwork in order, it could become necessary for the court to step in and appoint a guardian if a person has become incapacitated. The guardian would then be able to make financial and/or health care decisions on that person's behalf. Guardianship tends to occur when the family has a dispute or disagreement over how decisions should be made for the elderly family member.2 This is more likely to be avoided if legal paperwork has already been created, such as establishing a living will, durable power of attorney, or trust document that names agents and records the family member's wishes in regards to their care.

Talk to your elderly family members or friends today and begin the process to ensure their wishes for their care are recorded.

1"Legal Documents." Accessed March 22, 2016. Alzheimer's Association. https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-legal-documents.asp.

2"Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families." Accessed March 22, 2016. AARP. http://assets.aarp.org/www.aarp.org _/articles/foundation/aa66r2_care.pdf.