Are Your Parents Getting Older? It’s Time to Do Some Planning

Are  they forgetting things? Do they struggle to manage their finances and health? Are they susceptible to scams targeting their generation? You can help and protect them by making sure they have a complete PayneFree Estate Plan™ that includes completed powers of attorney that let you step in to help manage and protect their financial and health interactions with others.

Whether or not you notice signs of physical or mental aging in your parents, the process hits all of us at some point, and it makes sense to prepare sooner rather than later. If you wait until the need arises, it may be too late to take the easy steps because they may lack the capacity to understand and execute the necessary documents. You could be stuck with only costly, invasive options, such as involving the court process to set up a guardianship or conservertorship to assist them. These are slow, time consuming, and expensive processes.

Consider The Big Picture and the Details

Planning for the aging process requires you to consider the big picture and overall goals as well as all the details. You need to have some conversations that could be difficult. Is there a need to downsize the home? Do your parents want to be part of a senior living community? How much do they have saved up? What do they plan to do when they get to the point where they cannot take care of the yard or drive themselves around? Do they have the documents that give you the authority and ability to help them with their financial accounts, utilities, insurance, doctor visits, and healthcare decisions?

You should examine any estate plan type documents they have in place. Do they have a few random older documents or have they worked with an estate planning attorney to prepare a comprehensive plan that may need only minor adjustments?

Do they have plans to protect themselves in case of emergency? Are these plans up-to-date? Payneless Law attorneys are used to reviewing the broad circumstances and goals and ensuring that all the pieces are in place to reach those goals, so consulting Payneless law is the place to start the process.

Prepare Powers of Attorney as Soon as Possible

One type of document that can be critical for any adult but especially important to help aging people is a power of attorney. With a power of attorney, you authorize someone to act for you, and make certain types of decisions. This can be helpful on a routine basis and essential in an emergency. We recommend both a finanical power of attorney and a separate, but just as important, healthcare power of attorney.

  • A financial power of attorney enables someone to manage your finances, pay bills, sell assets and handle other legal and financial issues. You can grant your agent broad authority to act in a variety of circumstances for you at any time, or you can limit your agent’s authority so that they only have access to certain accounts or only gain authority if a specific event happens, such as if a doctor were to declare you legally incompetent.
  • A health care power of attorney allows a friend or family member to authorize treatment and make medical decisions if you are unable to make or communicate your own choices due to an illness or other condition.
  • A mental health power of attorney enables your designated agent to make mental health care decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated, such as receiving mental healthcare treatment or admittance to a memory care or behavioral health facility.

As your parents grow older, they will need one or all of these documents at some point to be able to assist them and your ability to help them will depend on these documents authorizing you to do so. If Alzheimer’s, dementia, or another condition causes your parents to lose their legal capacity, then it will be too late to create a power of attorney. At that point, you would need to petition the court for guardianship. Guardianship strips away decision-making power from an adult, so courts are reluctant to grant guardianship unless it is demonstrated necessary. The process of obtaining guardianship is very difficult and expensive, not to mention extremely slow, and almost always needs an attorney to guide you through a complicated process, so it makes sense to avoid the need by preparing powers of attorney now.

Planning for Long Term Care Needs

The cost of a nursing home or even home care is frighteningly high. It will deplete family resources quickly. However, you can make plans to establish eligibility for long-term care benefits through Medicaid. If you can put plans in place at least five years before you expect to need nursing home care, you have the most options for conserving resources. With the right preparation, you can preserve assets for the family rather than spending your parents’ savings on long-term care costs.

Schedule a Consultation with PayneLess Law Today

Planning for the aging process is always emotionally challenging, but failing to plan can leave everyone in a very painful position. At PayneLess law we help you and your parents determine what protective steps you need to take and the most efficient way to accomplish those steps. 

PayneLess Law is ready to help. For a free consultation to learn more about the ways we will assist you, call us at 480-420-7199 or schedule an appointment online. 

Our Philosophy

Combining years of experience with a personal touch, we address your unique needs and concerns with utmost empathy and professionalism. Our commitment is to provide you with a clear, customized plan that reflects your values and secures your family’s future, and to make the entire process as PayneFree as possible.

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Ready to start planning your legacy? Connect with us today to begin the journey towards a secure, well-planned future for you and your loved ones.

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Monday to Friday 9 am to 6 pm