Did you enjoy visiting your parents at the beginning of the holiday season? Do you feel with each passing year that they are becoming more dependent on external assistance? Are you ready for what may face them in the future? Do you know if they have a power of attorney? What about who is listed on it? Although it may be difficult, it is important for you and your parents to have a conversation about their wishes for now and in the future and what you may be able to do to help them.
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows an individual, known as the “principal,” to appoint another person, known as the “agent,” to act on their behalf in financial and legal matters. For aging parents, a POA can be a crucial tool to ensure that their affairs are managed in the way they desire, even if they are unable to do so themselves. Here are a few reasons why your aging parent may need a POA now:
Incapacity: As people age, they may become increasingly vulnerable to accidents, illnesses, or other conditions that can leave them incapacitated and unable to make decisions or manage their own affairs. A POA allows an agent to step in and make decisions on their behalf.
Access to Accounts: Without a POA, your aging parent’s bank or investment accounts may be inaccessible if they are unable to transact business themselves. Having a POA in place allows the agent to access and manage the accounts, pay bills and manage finances.
Medical Decisions: A POA can authorize an agent to make decisions regarding medical care and treatment, including end-of-life decisions, in the event that your parent is unable to do so.
Asset Protection: A POA can help protect your aging parent’s assets from being misused or wasted. The agent can manage their assets and make sure they are used for their benefit.
Avoiding Guardianship: Without a POA, a guardianship proceeding may be necessary if your aging parent becomes incapacitated and unable to manage their own affairs. A POA can help avoid the expense, time, and public nature of a guardianship proceeding.
It’s important to keep in mind that your aging parent should choose their agent wisely, as it is someone they trust and who will act in their best interest. It’s also important to consult with a legal professional to ensure that the POA is properly executed and meets all legal requirements.
Planning for the future is critical to ensure that your goals for the end of life are achieved. We know this article may raise more questions that it answers. We do telephone, computer, and face-to-face appointments. Our face-to-face appointments are held outside in the open air (frequently selected by clients for document signing) and inside our office conference room. We follow all CDC guidelines. Our office procedures adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols and are designed and enhanced by medical review and air quality engineering.