Resources to Help with End-of-Life Care

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Entrusted Legacy Law

Posted on

Jan 20, 2023

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Pennsylvania - Greater Pittsburgh Area

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No one wants to think about our death or the death of a loved one. The reality is that death is inevitable, so preparing for end-of-life decisions is essential. Over the past few years, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, we've all been reminded about life’s fragility. 

When you're faced with addressing end-of-life care, knowing where to turn for the answers your family needs can be overwhelming. For guidance in getting started, continue reading.

Hospice Care 

Hospice care is medical treatment for patients close to the end of their lives. Their conditions are unlikely to improve. Hospice care focuses on patient comfort and family support.

If you choose to place a family member in hospice care, you'll have a team of medical professionals surrounding you during a difficult time. Examples of the care your loved one may receive include medications to reduce pain, periodic visits to the patient by a care team, and respite for family members and caretakers.

To learn more about the availability of hospice care and how to get connected to resources in your area, visit the Hospice Foundation of America online. 

End-of-Life Planning 

In addition to making your loved one as comfortable as possible, ensure their legal interests are protected, too. If you have a loved one with a terminal illness, it may be wise to have them complete estate planning documents if they haven't already done so. 

For guidance in drafting these important legal documents, consult with us.

Last Will and Testament

This document aims to set up how your affairs will be handled after your death. A loved one diagnosed with a terminal disease or who is elderly should have a valid last will and testament to help family who is left behind to avoid the stress of dividing their deceased loved one’s assets and property.

Living Will 

A living will, also known as an advance directive, is a document that directs your family about your health care before you lose the capacity to make your own decisions. 

The purpose of a living will is to include your choices regarding emergency care and life-saving medical treatment. Having a living will helps your family avoid the stress and guilt associated with making end-of-life decisions regarding medical care.

Grief Support Groups 

It's as essential to take care of yourself as it is to take care of your loved one as their life ends. You may feel alone during this time of grief. Build a support network around yourself to aid in navigating the grieving process. If you have family members to lean on, take advantage of that. 

It's possible to find support groups filled with people who understand your situation if you don’t have family or close friends. If you're looking for a place to start, visit findhelp.org. You can search for bereavement groups, counseling services, and workshops that fit your needs in your area. 

Whether you're looking for a group that understands the loss of a parent or spouse, a veterans’ group, or any other unique group of people, know you aren't alone.

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What is a Last Will and Testament?

A Last Will & Testament, commonly referred to as a Will, is a legal document that expresses a person's wishes regarding the distribution of their assets and the management of their affairs after their death. It serves as a written record of how an individual wants their property and belongings to be handled, including who should inherit their assets, who should be appointed as guardians for minor children, and any other specific instructions they may have regarding their final wishes when they are gone.  Many people confuse a Will with a Living Will which is a much different document that takes effect while you are alive!  Here in Florida, it generally covers three conditions and states that if you have: a terminal condition; end stage condition; or if you are in a persistent vegetative state, where in the opinion of two doctors, there is not reasonable medical hope of recovery, that you do not want to be kept alive by machines.  Again, a very different purpose than your Last Will & Testament. The main purposes of a Last Will & Testament are:Asset Distribution: A Will allows individuals to specify how their property, such as real estate, investments, bank accounts, personal belongings, and other assets, should be distributed among their beneficiaries or heirs. Without a Will, the distribution of assets typically follows the laws of intestacy, which may not align with the deceased person's preferences.Guardianship designation: If the deceased person has minor children, a Will can designate a guardian who will be responsible for their care and upbringing. This allows parents to have a say in who will be responsible for their children's well-being if they pass away and not leave it solely up to a judge with no input from them.Personal Representative Appointment: A Will typically appoints what is referred to in Florida as a personal Representative.  Other states call the persona and Executor.  This person is responsible for ensuring that the deceased person's wishes, as outlined in the Will, are carried out. The Personal Representative manages the administrative tasks, such as paying outstanding debts, filing tax returns, and distributing assets according to the instructions provided in the Will.Avoiding potential conflicts: This is a big issue, especially in situations where there is a second or third marriage involved and there are children from a prior relationship.  A well-drafted Will can help minimize conflicts among family members or other potential beneficiaries, as it provides clear instructions on asset distribution and removes ambiguity. To be legally valid in Florida, a Will requires certain formalities, such as being in writing, signed by the testator (the person making the Will) and witnessed by two witnesses.  Also it is best to have the testators signature and the witnesses signatures acknowledged by a Notary Public.  This makes the Will a self-proving Will which avoids the necessity of having to find the witnesses when the testator passes.Will ContestsContesting a Last Will & Testament means challenging its validity or certain provisions within it. There are a number of grounds on which a Will can be contested in Florida. Some of the typical reasons for contesting a Will include: Lack of testamentary capacity: This refers to the testator's mental ability to understand the nature and significance of creating a Will. If it can be demonstrated that the testator lacked the necessary mental capacity at the time of creating the Will, it may be deemed invalid. Factors that can affect testamentary capacity include mental illness, senility, or undue influence.Undue influence: If it can be proven that the testator was coerced, manipulated, or unduly influenced by another person when creating the Will, it may be contested. Undue influence typically involves someone exerting pressure on the testator to make decisions against their own wishes or best interests.  It is often a caregiver who cuts off outsiders from contact with the testator.  It can be a child, a spouse, a home health aid of trusted advisor.Fraud or forgery: If there is evidence to suggest that the Will was forged or that fraud was involved in its creation, it can be contested. This may include situations where someone impersonates the testator, forges their signature, or makes fraudulent changes to the Will.Improper execution: Wills must generally meet certain formalities to be considered valid. If the Will was not properly executed according to the legal requirements of the jurisdiction, such as lack of witnesses or failure to sign the document correctly, it can be contested.  This often occurs when someone tries to use a do it yourself Will kit.  While DIY may be good for home improvement projects, it is best to consult professionals when planning to disburse your hard-earned assets.Mistake or ambiguity: Another problem with DIY Will kits are mistakes or ambiguities in the Will that make it unclear or open to interpretation.  In such cases it may be contested. This can occur when the language used in the Will is vague, contradictory, or inconsistent, leading to disputes among beneficiaries.Revocation or subsequent Will: If a more recent Will is discovered that explicitly revokes or replaces the previous Will, the newer version may be contested based upon all of the grounds discussed above.It's important to note that contesting a Will can be a complex legal process, and the specific grounds for a challenge must be explored thoroughly as a Will contest is expensive and time-consuming as well as very difficult to win.  That is why your best course of action to avoid this for your family is to work with a team of professionals, including your lawyer, investment advisor and accountant, to develop an estate plan that best fits your intentions, and prepares you and your family for when life happens.

Foolproof your Home: Senior Safe Strategies

As our loved ones age, ensuring their safety and well-being becomes a top priority. For many seniors, the desire to age gracefully in the comfort of their own homes is strong. However, as homes age with them, they may pose various risks and challenges. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore foolproof strategies to make your home safe for seniors, enhancing their independence and well-being.Understanding the Importance of Senior SafetyAging comes with its own set of challenges, including decreased mobility, vision impairments, and other health concerns. It's essential to create a safe living environment that addresses these challenges and minimizes the risk of accidents and injuries. By prioritizing senior safety, we can help our loved ones maintain their independence and quality of life.Introducing Aging in PlaceAging in Place is a concept that emphasizes the ability for seniors to remain in their own homes as they age, rather than moving to assisted living facilities or nursing homes. This approach allows seniors to maintain their sense of independence and familiarity with their surroundings, promoting overall well-being and happiness.Identifying Home HazardsBefore implementing safety measures, it's crucial to identify potential hazards in the home. Common hazards for seniors include slippery floors, poor lighting, cluttered walkways, and inaccessible bathrooms. By conducting a thorough home safety assessment, we can pinpoint areas that require attention and make necessary modifications to improve safety.Essential Home ModificationsOnce hazards have been identified, it's time to implement modifications to enhance senior safety. These modifications may include:Installing grab bars in bathrooms and near stairs to prevent fallsAdding non-slip flooring and mats in high-traffic areasImproving lighting throughout the home to reduce the risk of trips and fallsInstalling handrails and ramps for easier mobilityLowering countertops and cabinets to make them more accessibleUpgrading bathroom fixtures to include features such as walk-in showers and raised toiletsBy making these modifications, we can create a safer and more accessible living environment for seniors, allowing them to navigate their homes with confidence and ease.Leveraging Technology for SafetyIn addition to physical modifications, technology can also play a crucial role in enhancing senior safety. Smart home devices such as motion sensors, doorbell cameras, and medical alert systems can provide added security and peace of mind for both seniors and their caregivers. These technologies can help monitor for potential emergencies, provide assistance in case of falls or accidents, and allow for remote monitoring of the home.TruBlues Senior Safe SolutionsAt TruBlue, we understand the importance of senior safety and independence. That's why we offer a range of services specifically designed to make homes safer and more accessible for seniors. From home assessments and modifications to ongoing maintenance and support, we're here to help seniors age in place with confidence and peace of mind.Taking Action for Senior SafetyEnsuring senior safety in the home requires careful planning, assessment, and implementation of foolproof strategies. By identifying hazards, making necessary modifications, leveraging technology, and partnering with trusted experts like TruBlue, we can create a safe and supportive environment that allows seniors to age in place with dignity and independence. With the right approach and support, we can make our homes safer and more comfortable for our aging loved ones, ensuring their well-being and happiness for years to come.

Spring Cleaning Checklist: Essential Home Maintenance Tips

As spring approaches, it's the perfect time to refresh and maintain your home with a thorough spring cleaning. This guide provides essential tips to ensure your home is in top condition, covering everything from deep cleaning to checking for any necessary repairs or updates. Spring Cleaning Checklist1. Deep Clean Inside: Start with decluttering each room, followed by dusting, vacuuming, and mopping. Don't forget to clean windows, treat carpets, and organize closets.2. Check Your HVAC: Ensure your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system is ready for the change in seasons by replacing filters and scheduling a professional inspection.3. Inspect Roof and Gutters: Winter weather can take a toll. Inspect your roof for damage and clean out gutters to prevent water damage.4. Safety Checks: Test smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers. Replace batteries as needed.5. Exterior Maintenance: Power wash the exterior, check for paint touch-ups, and ensure your landscaping is in good shape.6. Plumbing and Leaks: Look for any signs of leaks under sinks, around toilets, and near appliances. Consider scheduling a plumbing inspection to catch any issues.7. Prepare Outdoor Spaces: Clean and set up outdoor furniture, check decks and patios for needed repairs, and get your garden ready for planting.  Why It's ImportantRegular maintenance not only keeps your home looking great but also prevents costly repairs down the line. Tackling these tasks can extend the life of your home's components and systems, enhance its value, and improve your living environment.  Let's Get Started!Feeling overwhelmed? TruBlues team of professionals is here to help with all your spring maintenance needs. From deep cleaning to repairs and everything in between, we've got you covered. Contact us today to schedule your spring maintenance service and enjoy peace of mind knowing your home is in expert hands.This guide is designed to be your starting point for a thorough spring refresh. By following these steps, you'll not only maintain your home's condition but also create a healthier, more enjoyable living space for you and your family. Let Us Become Your Home AllyWhen it comes to handyman services, choosing the right company can make all the difference. With TruBlue of North Pittsburgh, you can trust that your home is in capable hands. From our commitment to providing a great experience, our skilled handyman professionals, to transparent pricing, we strive to provide you with a seamless and stress-free experience from start to finish. So why settle for anything less? Experience the TruBlue difference for yourself and see why we're the trusted choice for homeowners.

Local Services By This Author

Entrusted Legacy Law

Elder Law 100 Pinewood Lane Suite #303, Warrendale, Pennsylvania, 15086

Our Firm Prepares You for Life What makes our firm different is that we were built with the needs of growing families in mind. We understand you are BUSY, you are growing, you are planning for a life of prosperity and you value ease, convenience and efficiency. You are raising children, and caring for elderly parents, while also working hard to build your own nest egg for a lifetime of support. You want to know youve made the best decisions for your family and that your plan will work when your loved ones need it most. You want to make sure your minor children would be raised by the people you choose, and never by anyone you wouldnt want, and that your teens and adult children are properly prepared to care for you and what you leave behind.  You want to feel confident that youve made the right choices, and handled everything so that you arent leaving behind a mess, when something happens. That is our focus as well. Weve developed unique systems to give you the same access to a Personal Family Lawyer as was previously only available to the super-wealthy, so you can have the guidance you need to build and maintain a life of prosperity and wealth. And, to keep your family out of court and out of conflict, which is the greatest risk to the people you love and all you have created, even if youve already worked with a traditional lawyer or created documents online. Our Team Is Here for You We encourage communication with our clients. In fact, weve thrown out the time clocks so you never have to be afraid to call with a quick question. Everything we do is billed on a flat-fee basis, agreed to in advance, so there are never any surprises. We have a whole team to serve you. When you call our office to ask your quick question, you wont have to wait hours or days for a phone call back. Youll get your question answered, right away. And, if you need to schedule a more in-depth legal or strategic call with your Personal Family Lawyer, a call will be scheduled when you're both available and ready for the call so we can make the very best use of your time and not waste your time by leaving voicemail after voicemail back and forth. And, we ensure the most important details of your planning are followed through on and your plan continues to work throughout your lifetime. We have a funding coordinator to ensure your assets are owned the right way throughout your lifetime and none of your assets will end up going through a long, expensive court process or being lost to the state because they were missed after your death. Weve created unique membership programs to keep your plan up to date year in and year out as well as give you access to our Trusted Team of Legal Experts for guidance on ANY legal or financial matter. One day you will need a lawyer. I dont know why and I dont know when, but when you do, you will be grateful you can call on us and well be here to advise you or get you out of a jam. We Help You Transfer Your Life and Legacy Lastly, we believe your financial wealth is only a small part of your overall Life and Legacy Planning which is made up of your far more valuable and most often lost upon incapacity or death intellectual, spiritual and human assets. These assets are what make you who you are, and sum up whats most important to you. And, a survey of inheritors has revealed that what they care about even more than inheriting your money, is inheriting these intangible assets.   Most estate plans only focus on the transfer of your financial wealth to the next generation. Most people have such great intentions of passing on the intangible, but very few ever get around to it. Its just not a priority, until its too late. How much do you know about your grandparents values? Their most prized personal possessions? How they felt about you? What they had learned during their lifetime? If you are like most people, you know very little. Thats why we build the capture and passage of these most valuable assets into every estate plan we create. Not only will we help you pass on your money, but also your values, your insights, your stories and your experience the truly valuable assets your loved ones care about the most.  Weve developed a tool that allows us to capture and pass on your whole family wealth, including your Intellectual, Spiritual and Human assets.  I cant go into all of the details here, but well definitely talk about it when you come in for your Life and Legacy Planning Session.