Overworked, overlooked, and always putting the needs of others in front of their own necessities. They are caregivers and they are often related to the individuals that they protect. Before the pandemic, millions of Americans turned to caregivers to look after loved ones, including aging adults and the terminally ill. This is often done by caregivers at the expense of their own health and financial well-being. Oftentimes, they’re in it all alone, and now, during this pandemic and quarantining environment, they are even more isolated from the world. They still, however, stand strong, willingly and voluntarily supporting their loved one. If they have little to no access to health care, or paid vacation time, what can be done to support them, especially during a time when social distancing is recommended, but impossible for a caregiver?
According to AARP, nearly 42 million U.S. Americans are caregivers. That’s a lot of people. Unfortunately, many of them have no support system backing them. For that reason alone we’ve found it important to provide some insight into their situations, and to offer suggestions regarding how you can go about supporting caregivers and help lighten their load:
Leave your caregivers (or future caregivers) a sufficiently-drafted estate plan
Caregivers reportedly spend over $5,000 a year in patient needs. It has been reported that over 10 percent of caregivers spend nearly $20,000 on their patient’s needs, with five percent spending nearly $50,000. As a parent, it is important to think of the costs — rising costs! — related to your own long-term care needs. When no plan is in place directing your assets while you’re alive and after you’re gone, the caregiver’s job is even more difficult. If, however, you have valid powers-of-attorney and a properly drafted will or trust in place, you will make their lives even easier, while caring for you, for at least two reasons: (a) you have provided them with the proper power to handle your business without court involvement, and (b) you have provided them with the proper funding to undergird your care and their efforts. If you care about your potential or actual caregiver, contact TGQ Law immediately so that we can connect you with an estate planning attorney that can help you take this necessary step.
Understand Legal Inheritance Rights for friends
While the law is very clear on the legal rights of related caregivers when it comes to an inheritance (although such laws may not be in their favor), there is a grey area in terms of unrelated caregivers, or the testators. This typically created disputes between family members and such unrelated caregivers. It’s important that you contact an estate planning and/or elder law expert to get an understanding of such impact of the local laws. means problems from family members if you choose to leave something behind to friends or others associated with your long-term care needs. You’ll want to ensure that your wishes are carried out when considering those who care for you but don’t share a last name nor a bloodline. Find out what is legally available in your state for supporting caregivers who are members of your extended family.
Help caregivers digitize as many assets as possible
Digital assets count when supporting caregivers. You, like most individuals, have digital property to protect. When creating estate planning options for those who will care for you, remember to develop those plans with something in place for your digital assets. Digital assets include social media accounts, websites, ebooks, and related items. You’ll want to clearly describe how this property should be accessed, controlled, cancelled or deactivated. Special attention should be placed on any online trading, and the use of stock trading apps, such as Robinhood or Acorn. An estate planner will assist in helping you include these into a will for your caregiver. In the meantime, back up your data using all that is available in case a loved one must access your information if you’re unable to do so.
Caregivers deserve your support now while you’re able to provide it. Contact us to learn how to help those who help others.