Your aging parent may be in great health, but have you considered what will happen should that change in the future? It can be important to keep in mind that, if your parent suddenly loses his or her mental or physical capacity due to an accident, a sudden decline in health, or any factors that come alongside aging, he or she may not be able to make plans for himself or herself. In that event, it is possible that the State of Florida will appoint a guardian for him or her rather than looking at other options. This may be a situation you and your family would almost certainly rather avoid, so it may be better to plan ahead and obtain a power of attorney right now, well before it may be actually needed.
A power of attorney can allow someone to make decisions on behalf of another person. The person enabled with decision making power is called the agent. You may wish to act as your aging parent’s agent, or there may be another relative who lives closer who may be a preferable choice. Whomever it is, it can certainly be better for your parent to have a voice in making the choice right now versus waiting for the state to do it for him or her when it is too late.
You and your parents should understand that it is possible to have more than one power of attorney. Consider what type of authority your parent would wish to grant and to whom. Your parent could establish a general power of attorney intended to enable financial decision-making, like paying bills or handling investments. Establishing a durable power of attorney means that the authority granted by the power of attorney will remain intact even if your parent, the principal, becomes incapacitated.
Just remember, if you and your loved ones avoid making these decisions together, the State of Florida could end up making them for you later on. This is why your aging parent should have a power of attorney in place right now. Get something acceptable to everyone in place for security. You can go back and make changes at any time.
For comprehensive estate planning, that includes planning for incapacity, please reach out to our office to arrange a meeting time.