Finances & Legal Matters

Legal Documents You Need for Your Parent in Senior Care

Do you have a parent in senior care, or are you getting ready to enroll a parent in senior care services?

If you answered “yes” to either question, then it’s high time to familiarize yourself with the legal documents you need for your parent in senior care.

There are several aspects about preparing for senior care that might seem obvious, but believe it or not, this is one area where lots of families fail to consider until the last minute.

It’s important to know what documents you will need, as well as when and where to find them. Below is a list of the types of legal documents that are likely to be required during this process:


Advanced Directive

Having an advanced directive in place is crucial for a senior in senior care.

Advanced directives are a collection of documents that detail your senior’s instructions and preferences for medical treatments and comfort in regards to their end of life care.

This can include decisions like how they would like to be cared for, where they would like to be taken in the event of a serious illness or injury, and who they would like to make medical decisions on their behalf. This can also include whether or not you want life-sustaining treatments administered if you’re incapacitated.

An advanced directive also becomes increasingly important if and when your senior is unable to speak for themselves. This way, arrangements have already been made for their care, and you don’t have to worry about making decisions at a time when you are likely already dealing with grief over your loved one’s condition.


Legal Documents You Need for Your Parent in Senior Care


Living Will

Next, there is a living will, which is a critical component of an advanced directive.

A living will is a document that will outline your senior’s wishes for their end of life care. End of life care can include surrogate decision-making, medical treatments, and whether or not they would like to be on life support.

This legal document allows your loved one to have input into their care before they are incapacitated by illness or injury, while still providing you with the guidance and reassurance that their wishes have been respected.

A living will also lets healthcare providers and physicians know about your senior’s wishes if they are being carried out by a healthcare proxy (see more information on healthcare proxies below).



These two documents may sound similar, but each is uniquely necessary to define your seniors’ preferences when it comes to resuscitation or intubation.

DNR stands for “Do Not Resuscitate” while DNI means “Do Not Intubate.” DNR orders state that an individual does not want CPR, chest compressions, or the use of a defibrillator to keep them alive.

However, a DNI orders state that an individual does not want a breathing tube inserted to keep them alive.

These conversations are not easy to have with your loved one, but they are crucial as your loved one continues to age. We suggest having an open an honest discussion with your senior regarding these documents, and inform them of the importance that these conversations have.

This will allow them to make an educated decision about their end-of-life care, and provide you with peace of mind knowing that they are comfortable with what will happen should an emergency arise.


Legal Documents You Need for Your Parent in Senior Care


Power of Attorney

A person may have two different types of power of attorney: durable and healthcare/healthcare proxy.

The first, a durable power of attorney, gives another person the legal right to conduct all matters on behalf of your senior. This includes matters related to real estate, banking, finance, government benefits, and medical.

The second, a healthcare/healthcare proxy power of attorney, lets your senior appoint another person to ensure their wishes about end of life care are honored if they cannot speak for themselves.

Both documents are important, and should be created and reviewed by your senior and their attorney. The legal power of attorney should also include a list of people who are able to act on behalf of your senior in case the first person named cannot do so.


Will and/or Trust

After a senior loved one passes away, a will or a trust are legal documents that involve settling matters pertaining to the disposition of your senior’s property or their possessions.

Having this conversation is not easy, but it can provide you with a sense of security knowing that your loved one has the opportunity to discuss how they would like their estate distributed.

A will or trust document can help you avoid costly and time-consuming legal battles with other family members who may not agree with how their loved one wanted things done.

We recommend that your senior establish these types of documents with an attorney as soon as possible.


We understand it can be overwhelming enrolling a parent into senior care services and getting these documents in order, but it’s important to be prepared for whatever the future might bring. And, remember—the sooner you look into these documents, the better. If you haven’t had these important conversations with your senior loved one yet, we suggest planning a time to talk to them. You can even visit our blog here for tips on how to start an end-of-life conversation with them.

For any additional questions you might have, feel free to contact our team at Home Care Assistance today! We can help you find the answers you need.

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