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New app gives families access to vetted caregivers

Many families turn to caregivers when they are unable to care for their aging or ill loved ones. Few adult children or spouses are equipped to provide the daily attention that an elderly person may require. However, finding qualified and trustworthy caregivers is no easy task, especially in light of horror stories documenting abuse and neglect.

There are several online care marketplaces such as, Carelinx, ClearCare and HomeHero that offer tools for selecting a good caregiver. The latest to join them is San Francisco-based startup Kindly Care. The company aims to enable families to hire and manage private live-in caregivers themselves, rather than going through a specialized home care agency, which can be costly.

Caregivers that sign up with Kindly Care are required to undergo a screening process. They are asked to record a profile video in a specific format. Each video features the same questions such as why they chose to become caregivers and who their most memorable client was.

The Kindly Care app offers a broad range of tools that allow the day-to-day management of caregivers. Family members can schedule shifts and create to-do lists for the caregiver, as well as monitor the patient’s health and caregiver’s activities. The transparency helps prevent negligence while providing care managers the opportunity to remain involved in their loved ones’ lives.

Kindly Care also automates payroll and sets up necessities like taxes, Social Security and insurance. It is available for free online and on iOS and Android.

When it comes to providing loved ones with the best care possible, there are several important steps families can take to plan for long-term care without exhausting their savings. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can provide valuable insight into the options available.

Mark Gilfix Discusses Estate Planning With the Star of the Investigation Discovery Show, “Reasonable Doubt”, Melissa Lewkowicz

Mark Gilfix recently sat down in the offices of criminal defense attorney, and cable TV star, Melissa Lewkowicz, to discuss the 3 key estate planning documents that every American needs. Watch the Facebook video below.

You can watch Melissa Lewkowicz in Reasonable Doubt on Investigation Discovery or see clips at

Why a durable power of attorney is a valuable estate planning tool

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) allows an individual to give a designated person — known as an “attorney in fact” — authority to sign documents and act on their behalf. The legal document is particularly beneficial for individuals who are worried about mental or physical incapacity in the future. For example, an elderly person may be aware of their gradual memory loss, which may soon render them incapable of making important decisions.

Some people might view the idea of preparing and signing a DPA as a sign of losing their independence. However, it allows individuals to specify how they want things handled while they are still alive but unable to manage their affairs. Without a DPA in place, family and friends will not be able to make any important financial decisions in the event of unforeseen incapacity.

The attorney in fact has a significant amount of control over an incapacitated individual’s financial and legal affairs. They have the power to make decisions about assets, enter into contracts, manage businesses, and handle tax and trust matters. Therefore, it is critical to choose a trusted individual such as a family member or friend and to fully discuss the scope of responsibility.

The DPA can either be effective immediately once signed, or when and if a person becomes incapacitated. The document is legally valid for a person’s entire lifetime unless he or she revises or revokes it at any time while being of sound mind.

An experienced estate planning attorney can provide guidance on selecting the best approach to protecting one’s future interests. For example, in some cases a court-appointed conservatorship may be necessary when the individual lacks the capacity to sign a DPA or does not have anyone to name as an attorney in fact.

“We all want to avoid court involvement,” warns nationally known attorney Mark Gilfix. “Signing a well-drafted Durable Power of Attorney is therefore an essential part of proactive planning.”