As soon as an older parent starts showing signs of dementia, it’s time to have open and honest discussions about their wishes, personal affairs, and plans for managing finances. If your parent doesn’t currently have designation documents in place that give others legal authority to make decisions, time is of the essence to have these created. Likewise, if mom or dad has an older estate plan, these documents may still need to be amended. The key here is to get your parent’s wishes properly documented, preferably with the help of a local Brandon elder law attorney, while they are still mentally and physically capable of doing so.
Create a Power of Attorney
Setting up a Power of Attorney allows your parent to choose someone to handle their finances when they are eventually unable. In general, a Durable Power of Attorney is most appropriate for a person with dementia. This will allow a designated agent to act on the parent’s behalf without having to prove any sort of medical disability or incapacity first. Your Brandon elder law attorney can help you and your parent decide which type of Power of Attorney to choose if there is a question, while also explaining what responsibilities may be required so that mom or dad can choose the best person for the job.
Create a Healthcare Directive
A Healthcare Directive also allows your parent to choose someone to act on their behalf, but this is in regard to medical matters rather than financial. In their Living Will, your parent can specify how they want their long-term and end-of-life care handled, while also appointing a healthcare agent who will be in charge of making such decisions when they are unable.
Review These Documents Yearly
Again, if any of these documents have been filed in the past, take time to review them and make sure that their wishes are still the same. If they’ve been diagnosed with dementia in the time since those documents were drawn up, they may have changed their minds on how they want their care to be handled. We often recommend that our clients review their documents yearly to ensure that they still reflect their wishes and portray an accurate snapshot of their life.
An elder law attorney can offer advice and guidance on these documents, ensuring that they are accurate and comprehensive enough to address any potential issues in the future as your parent’s needs change. If you need help getting started, we invite you to contact our elder law firm in Brandon, Florida, at (813) 438-8503 to schedule a consultation.