Obtaining A Power Of Attorney For Elderly Parents

Posted by Yuki Ku | Nov 23, 2023 | 0 Comments

Helping your aging parents make important decisions can be tough, but having a power of attorney (POA) can ease the process. It lets you make financial or medical choices for them when they can't due to age or illness.

Though discussing this with your parents might be challenging, starting early can ensure you honor their wishes if their health changes. Approach the conversation with empathy and understanding.

In this article, we'll explain how to get power of attorney for elderly parents and offer tips on discussing it with care. Our aim is to ensure your aging parents receive the best care and support possible.

What's a POA?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that varies by state. It gives someone (the agent) the power to make decisions for another person (the principal). The agent can only do what's in the POA document, and the principal can still make their own choices if they're able to do so coherently. So, the agent can't make all the decisions for the principal.

Types of POA

There are different types of Power of Attorney (POA):

  1. General POA: The agent can manage the principal's affairs for a specific time, and the principal can cancel it anytime. It's often used when the principal can handle their affairs but prefers someone else to do it.

  2. Durable POA: This POA continues even if the principal becomes incapacitated. It can end in various ways, like the principal's death or if the agent completes the conditions in the document.

  3. Springing POA: It only takes effect if the principal becomes incapacitated. The principal controls their affairs until they lose capacity.

  4. Medical POA: Agents make medical decisions for the principal. It lasts until the principal is competent or for a specified period.

  5. Limited POA: This restricts the agent to certain tasks, like bill payments or house sales. It's usually temporary and ends when the principal loses capacity.

Why and When to Consider a POA For Your Aging Parents

Here are the common reasons why individuals may consider getting a POA:

  • Financial Issues: POAs help manage bills and finances when parents struggle with them.

  • Serious Illness: A POA lets elderly parents focus on recovery and reduces the stress of managing affairs.

  • Memory Problems: If parents develop dementia, a POA helps manage their affairs, but it must be obtained before they lose capacity.

  • Surgery: For parents undergoing surgery, a POA allows decisions and affairs to be managed during recovery.

  • Frequent Travel: Some elderly parents travel a lot, so a POA ensures their affairs are handled while they're away.

Choosing a POA for Your Parents

When selecting a POA for your aging parents, remember these key points:

  1. Trust: Pick someone you trust to act in your parents' best interests and follow their wishes.

  2. Family vs. Outsider: While family members are common choices, consider if an objective outsider like a lawyer or financial expert might be better, even if it comes with extra costs.

  3. Discussion: Talk thoroughly with your parents to understand their needs and preferences. Different types of POAs have varying levels of responsibility, so clarify expectations.

  4. Financial Implications: Know the financial responsibilities of being a POA, including keeping your finances separate from your parents' and justifying your decisions.

Choosing a POA is a significant decision; approach it with care and honesty. Open discussions and seeking advice can ensure your parents get the best care and support.

Contact Your Local Personal Family Lawyer® for POA Advice

Discussing power of attorney (POA) with elderly parents can be sensitive, but early talks bring peace of mind. Show your parents you're there to support them and will use POA powers only when necessary. This promise reassures them that you have their best interests in mind.

Consider seeking advice from an experienced estate planning attorney to address any concerns your parents may have. We're here to assist you and your family during this challenging process. Contact us today for more information.

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This article is a service of Roots + Wings Legal, a Personal Family Lawyer® Firm. We don't just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you've ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session.

The content is sourced from Personal Family Lawyer® for use by Personal Family Lawyer® firms, a source believed to be providing accurate information. This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.

About the Author

Yuki Ku

Yuki Ku Chief Attorney Roots and Wings Legal Get In Touch Welcome to Roots and Wings Legal, where we are committed to helping you secure your family's future and ensure a smooth transition for your business. My name is Yuki Ku, and I am an estate planning attorney based in the vibrant San F...

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