A power of attorney can allow you to access your parent’s accounts, pay their bills, and otherwise manage their property. Getting a power of attorney for an elderly parent can be a good idea for several reasons:
- If they ever lose mental capacity due to an accident or illness, you can manage their financial affairs.
- You can avoid the costly and time-consuming process of becoming a court-appointed guardian.
- You can also help them with their finances on a regular basis if desired.
Get a Power of Attorney Before You Need It
If your elderly parent is experiencing any type of cognitive decline, consider getting a power of attorney as soon possible. If you wait too long, your parent may not understand what they are signing or agreeing to. In these cases, they may lose the ability to sign legal documents due to lack of capacity.
However, if you have a power of attorney in place, it can remain in place if your parent later loses their mental capacity. The alternative is to go through the guardianship process, which requires going to court.
Customized Powers of Attorney
There are several ways to tailor a power of attorney to your needs. If your parent wants to handle their own finances as long as they can, then you could create a springing power of attorney. You (or your parent’ chosen agent) would only get power over your parent’s finances if they become incapacitated.
If your parent needs a little help managing bills, tax payments, and other financial matters, you could use a durable power of attorney. The agent’s powers would immediately take effect, and they would remain in effect if your parent ever becomes incapacitated.
You can also limit what powers the agent has. If your parent has certain assets or investments that they do not want sold, they can place these restrictions in the power of attorney document.
The agent can also be given the power to do anything the principal could do themselves, which provides flexibility to handle unexpected situations. For example, if your parent loses their mental capacity and has to leave their home to move to an assisted-living facility, the agent may need to handle the sale of the residence.
Consult with an estate planning attorney to discuss the benefits of creating a power of attorney for your elderly parents.
At King Law Office, we offer estate planning packages and customized estate plans to meet your needs. Come visit us at one of our multiple office locations in North and South Carolina.