Estate Planning Isn’t Just For The Elderly

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Seeking guardianship of a parent with declining health

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2020 | Elder Law, Guardianships

Even though there is no way to stop the aging process, it is still difficult for you to see your parent reach their final years like any other New York resident. You have made it to this point without experiencing any major medical issues with your parent or parents; however, it is now obvious that his or her health is declining. With that, their cognitive functions, including their memory, are not performing well. This has led to them making questionable decisions when it comes to their daily life and finances.

This has not only led to you exploring the reasons for health decline, but also ways to ensure they do not make decisions that will harm them personally and financially. Whether it is a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another cognitive disorder, adult children are often faced with many decisions as they navigate this difficult news. While it may sound odd, adult children sometimes need to sit their parents down and talk to them about what is best for them moving forward.

Mismanagement of money can lead to irreversible mistakes. Thus, obtaining guardianship could help avoid bad financial decisions now and in the future for their parent or parents.  This is likely not a one time conversation, and will likely be one to have several times before something is done. This does not make it any easier for either of you; however, it can help create the trust needed and the understanding of all the finances involved.

Obtaining a durable power of attorney would give an adult child the authority to assume financial decision making. Another valuable step to take is having your name added to a parent’s bank and brokerage accounts. This allows you to see statements to see where the issues are. In addition to establishing guardianship and powers of attorney, obtaining professional guidance from a financial advisor could assist with any issues and concerns you might have. It can further establish the breadth of a parent’s wealth and debt, understanding ways to best address them now that you, as an adult child, have authority over your parent’s finances.

It is never easy watching your parent’s health decline; however, when the signs are there, it is vital to take steps to ensure that a cognitive impairment will not generate financial harms. Seeking guardianship and obtaining powers of attorney may seem like a challenging and taxing process; however, when it is in the best interests of your parent, it is a necessary step to consider, understand and move forward with.