It is never easy to see your parents age. If everything went as you hope, your parents would stay sharp and healthy until their dying day. Unfortunately, it does not always go this way for Texas senior citizens. Numerous age-related cognitive and physical conditions may make it difficult or impossible for your parents to take care of themselves or make sound financial decisions.
Therefore, you might wonder about the best time to consider a power of attorney. This type of estate planning gives a trusted representative the authority to make financial, medical or physical decisions on behalf of the elder. The following situations might signal it is time to consider a power of attorney:
- Your parents have fallen prey to common scams targeting the elderly that they would not ordinarily have been fooled by, such as a false IRS phone call or a sweepstakes “win” that requires money up front.
- One or both parents received a diagnosis of a cognitive disorder, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
- A doctor has said your parent may be at risk of a stroke.
While the above examples might signal it’s time to discuss a power of attorney with your parents, it is wise to remember that you may not always have warning ahead of time. Your parents may be in a car accident or suffer a sudden illness that nobody expected. This could leave them incapacitated without having left instructions as to their medical preferences, end-of-life wishes and financial planning.
Different powers of attorney can authorize you to take certain measures on behalf of your loved ones. For example, a medical power of attorney gives you permission to make decisions for your parents’ medical, hospital or hospice care. A financial power of attorney may be beneficial if your parents are still relatively healthy but unable to make informed decisions regarding their money. These issues are complex and require experienced counsel to help you make the right decision for your loved ones.