Ask The Attorney

The following are a series of Elder Law questions fielded by Attorney Caroline Knox and published on Blue Ridge Now (website for the Hendersonville Times News).

An estate plan is an important one to help you identify your assets and help you ensure they are distributed according to your wishes after your death.  An estate lawyer can help you create this advanced directive and feel secure that your plan will be followed.  But do you have an advocate to help you protect your assets and assist with a plan in case of a health emergency?  If you develop a life-changing disability or disease, you need to learn about and plan for the challenges you may face in this crisis.  

Question: My father signed health care and financial powers of attorney 12 years ago and named me as his representative. I am the oldest of three children. None of us lives close to dad. He is a widower and is living at home alone, but he really shouldn’t be. The neighbors check on him every morning and told me that a couple of times they have had to help him up from the floor, where he may or may not have spent the night after a fall.

Question:  My husband has Alzheimer’s disease and I am his caregiver, but I am in poor health myself. I am worried about what will happen to him if I die first. How should I set up my will and assets for him?

Question:  My wife, who had a stroke, was discharged from the hospital to a local nursing home. I thought Medicare would pay for it, but after 23 days, the nursing home told me Medicare is ending because she is not getting better, and I have to either take her home or pay $8,000 per month to keep her there.