Estate Planning & Elder Issues

Planning for our end of life is not always easy for the planner or their family. No one likes to think about getting old or the possibility of losing our ability to care for or make decisions for ourselves. Having the right tools in place can help alleviate the worry of the “what if?” Discussing your wishes and plan with family members can give them clarity and help avoid additional stress and conflict if something happens to you.

Estate Planning, Probate and Elder Issues

Wills & Trusts: These are basic tools that allow you to have a say on issues that are important to you after you die. Who will take care of your minor children? How will they be provided for? What will happen to any property you own? Who do you want to ensure your wishes are carried through? If you don’t express your wishes the court will have to make these decisions.

Powers of Attorney: There are two types of powers of attorney, financial and health care. These allow someone else to make decisions regarding your health care or manage your finances if your are unable to.

Advanced Directive (Living Wills): An advanced directive allows you to explain what care you do or do not want as you near the end of life. It also allows you to name who you want to make these decisions. The end of life can be very stressful for families and loved ones and having your final wishes in writing can bring comfort and help avoid conflict.

Guardianships & Conservatorships: If a person can no longer care for themselves or manage their affairs, and earlier arrangements have not been made, it may become necessary to establish a guardianship or conservatorship to allow someone else to make decisions regarding daily care and manage the finances. A guardian takes care of the person. A conservator manages the finances.

Estate Administration: When someone dies their estate must be collected and distributed either according to the terms of the will or by the intestate provisions of the Iowa Code. In either situation someone must be appointed to administer the estate.

Elder Mediation

Elder care mediation is designed to meet the needs of older adults and their families through improved communication and proactive planning. We face a variety of issues as we age and it can change the dynamic of the family. For adult children, questions come up that we don’t know how to ask gracefully. For older adults the day to day is gradually changing in ways that younger relatives don’t understand. Our tendency is to wait until there is a crisis to act. Mediation can help families have these conversations sooner so that when crisis hits there is already a plan in place.

Common Issues

Health/Medical decisions
Financial decisions
Living arrangements and personal care
Family relationships and communication issues
Respite care and support for caregivers
Safety, risk-taking, and autonomy
Discharge or transitional plans from hospitals or nursing homes
Less restrictive alternatives to a guardianship or conservatorship