San Antonio Elder Law Attorney
The elderly have the right to be treated with dignity and respect in their years of physical and perhaps mental decline. That’s more than common sense–it’s also the law in the state of Texas. The law then goes on to define dignity and respect as encompassing the right to make their own choices about their personal care and to never be abused, neglected, or exploited. An elder law attorney is there to work toward making that dignity and respect a reality.
Elder law covers everything from clearly articulating your own wishes in a legal document to protecting a loved one you believe is suffering abuse. Call the Law Office of Paul D. Hardy at (210) 405-1985 for help.
Making Wishes Known
In order to make one’s own decisions about everything from medical care to financial planning to last wishes, it’s imperative that people act before their mental faculties start to decline. That starts with putting one’s wishes down in writing.
People have different views over how they want to handle end-of-life medical decisions and those views are often strongly held. However, if you don’t put your strongly held beliefs into a legal document, they might not be actionable when decision-making time comes. The person who fails to create a health care directive runs the risk of their adult children arguing over how to manage care in the final days of mom or dad.
When you have a health care directive in place, the medical professionals know what you would ask for if you were able. When you don’t have a directive, the final result can be your wishes not acted upon and fractured relationships among your adult children.
As you and your lawyer draft a health care directive, it may become apparent that anticipating every possible medical outcome where you are incapacitated is virtually impossible. This is addressed by appointing a medical power of attorney, who can make decisions on your behalf. This person would not override anything specific in your directive, but would speak for you in any scenario that arises and was not addressed in the directive.
You will also appoint a financial power of attorney. As the title implies, this person can manage your money in the event of your incapacitation. It’s common–though not mandatory–for the medical and financial power of attorneys to be the same person.
Dealing With Elder Abuse
The exploitation and abuse of the elderly is a genuinely sickening crime and can take on several forms. Actual physical abuse is one tragic possibility, but it goes well beyond that. The refusal of a caregiver to give medication is elder abuse. So is leveraging access to food or medicine in exchange for something, most notably money.
Elder abuse is a felony offense in the state of Texas. Even third-degree felony charges can mean up to ten years in prison. Depending on the severity of the abuse, first-degree felony charges are possible. If you’re suspicious that someone you love is being subjected to abuse, an elder law attorney can work with you to gather the evidence and documentation needed to get prosecutors from the District Attorney’s office involved.
The Law Office of Paul D. Hardy is committed to seeing that our senior citizens get the dignity and respect they deserve in accord with both their humanity and the laws in the state of Texas. Whether you want to plan ahead for your own future or get legal help on behalf of someone you love, we’re here to help.
Call us at (210) 405-1985 to set up an initial consultation.