Elder Law

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What is Elder Law?

Elder Law encompasses the living decisions and financial decisions made by you to take care of your needs during your lifetime.   You can make decisions in advance of an illness or incapacity and decide who will make decisions on your behalf.  The type of advance-planning documents used are Advance Directives and medical releases.  Nominating a Guardian to help you with daily living decisions is wise. 

Other decisions, which you can discuss with your attorney are your desires pertaining to whether or not you wish to use long-term care, planning for living in the home after incapacity, planning to live in assisted living and planning for someone to make living and financial decisions for you after your incapacity. 

Expressing your wishes to your chosen decision-makers is highly recommended.  Do you want to explain what type of living environment you need to assist your decision-makers in helping you thrive during incapacity and to help you live the best quality of life you can achieve?  One way to communicate your future needs when you may not be able to communicate your needs well is to express your wishes in advance.  Consider communicating about what makes you thrive to your decision-makers. 

At Soto Law Firm, P.C., we can discuss what makes you thrive and what does not make you thrive and ensuring that your decision makes understand your needs could potentially make your life better. 

Advance Directive

When you are incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself, an Advance Directive expresses, in writing, your opinion about who should be in charge of your health care decisions and what kind of decisions you want them to make. 

In an Advance Directive form, medical decisions are made by you in four, very specific health scenarios.  Keep in mind that you are always in charge of your own medical decisions when you are competent to do so. 

When completing an Advance Directive, you appoint a “Health Care Representative” who is the person who makes life support and tube feeding decisions when you cannot do so yourself.   The kind of health scenarios that you make decisions about are described very well in the Advance Directive.  Remember, if you have questions about the medical outcome of your decisions, you should review your advance directive with your personal physician.   

You can obtain an Advance Directive by using a form offered by your doctor’s office or your hospital.  Attorneys often supply Advance Directive forms to their current clients.  The form for Advance Directives comes from Oregon Revised Statute.

In Oregon, Advance Directives serve as an Oregon medical release. 

Guardian

A Guardian is a person who has been appointed by the court to make legal decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to make your own decisions.  A guardian’s legal authority is set out in Oregon law.  In Oregon, a guardian may make daily living decisions for an incapacitated person and monitor an incapacitated person’s health and provide for their care.  It is wise to nominate a guardian while you are healthy and well. 

Medical Releases

HIPAA (known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA for short) is the federal law that protects the confidentiality of your health information.  In a HIPAA medical release, you can nominate, in writing, individuals you trust to receive your health information and communicate with your health care providers.

Soto Law Firm, P.C., is prepared to assist you
with your Elder Law needs. 

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