Hospice care is an approach to medical treatment which cares for patients nearing the end of their life. Hospice focuses on pain management and addressing the patient’s spiritual and emotional needs. There oftentimes legal issues that arise when a patients begins to undergo hospice care. These decisions range from the handling of healthcare decisions, managing the patient’s finances and how property should pass after their death. The following is a list of why it is important to deal with an experienced attorney at this difficult time.
- It is important to deal with an attorney who concentrates his or her practice on these types of issues. Helping families through this difficult time requires a special skill set. It is important to have an attorney who understands the technical part of law and also one who understands the emotional aspects of hospice care. You will want an attorney who you are comfortable with and who has helped other families facing the same issues.
- The attorney’s staff must also be well-trained. While it is important to deal with an attorney who is sensitive and understands the issues you are facing, it is also crucial to deal with an attorney whose practice is geared towards helping you and your loved ones. Also, it’s important that the attorney’s staff understands all of the challenges you are facing since you may be dealing with the support staff often.
- You want an attorney who understands the government programs that are available to you. You need an attorney who understands government benefits like Medicare and Medicaid.
- It’s important to deal with an attorney who knows how to help you protect your life’s savings. No matter the size of your estate, you worked hard to earn it. When selecting an attorney, be sure that he or she is knowledgeable on how to help you arrange things so that your assets will be preserved to your family to the greatest extent allowed by the law.
- You want an attorney who understands how to avoid probate. For many hospice patients, passing their estate to their loved ones without going through the probate court is a major concern. There are many ways to accomplish this, ranging from simple beneficiary designations, gifting strategies, and trust planning. It is important to deal with an attorney who understands the various options and can show you how to arrange your estate to avoid probate when appropriate.
All of these are reasons demonstrate why it is important to deal with an attorney who practices in this area of law and who has the sensitivity to meet the needs of a hospice patient and their families.