Home hospice care: What you should know
Proper planning can help home hospice bring peace.
In this article:
- Home hospice care allows one to be in the comfort of one’s home, surrounded by loved ones, at the end of life
- Planning ahead can prevent legal distractions from interfering with home hospice
- At minimum, a basic estate plan should be in place before entering hospice, including a health care proxy and power of attorney
WHY PEOPLE OPT FOR HOME HOSPICE CARE
Before we get into legal preparations for home hospice care, let’s learn more about why people need it. Home hospice provides medical care and other services for a person in the last phase of a serious illness and all in their own home.
Families may be able to spend more precious time with loved ones during home hospice and to be more directly involved in the caregiving than they would in a hospital.
Basic estate planning needed beforehand
However, there are important estate planning decisions that should be made before a patient enters hospice. This can include setting up a health care proxy and power of attorney. Here are some things to consider:
Because a person enters hospice care near the end of life, it’s possible that they could become incapacitated. In the event of incapacitation, someone (called a health care proxy) must be legally named to direct health care decisions. And having someone with a power of attorney who can take care of your finances, such as paying your bills, is important during this period. These are separate legal documents and you can name the same person for both roles or different people, but they will need to work together, so you get the care you need.
The basics of estate planning, like having a power of attorney, a health care proxy and a will or a living trust all should be in place when someone enters hospice care.
- Erin Gilmore Smith, Director, Estate Planning
Beyond having a will or a living trust that specifies how your assets will be distributed when you pass, Smith says people should also consider creating a “living will.” A living will spells out if you want to be resuscitated and the kind of palliative care you prefer. Just as importantly, you can also specify your funeral arrangements, but be sure they are financially covered.
“It’s going to be an emotional time,” says Linda Campbell, Director, Financial Planning. “Many times, the caregivers are the spouses or the close relatives who also happen to be the beneficiaries,” Campbell says, adding, “It’s important to get estate-related, legal documents in order as much as you can beforehand.”
This means all documents, including insurance and retirement accounts, should be reviewed by a financial planner to help ensure they have the most up-to-date beneficiary information.
“If your loved ones understand your last wishes, everyone can focus on your last moments together,” says Smith.
Home hospice care may provide just the right medical and emotional care you and your loved ones want at the end of life. Planning for it with an estate planning attorney and a financial planner will help ensure your family is not distracted from what is most important during this time – being together.
The information regarding estate planning should not be construed as tax or legal advice and is for general informational purposes only.
Neither Edelman Financial Engines nor its affiliates offer tax or legal advice. Interested parties are strongly encouraged to seek advice from your qualified tax and/or legal professionals to help determine the best options for your particular circumstances.