Elderly Parent Power of Attorney
As your parents age, it’s likely you’ll find yourself in a position where you need to help them in many ways. A power of attorney (POA) can be an important element of planning for your elderly parent’s future.
POAs can bring peace of mind to you, your parents, and your family. Powers of attorney allow your parents to name a trusted person who will have the power to act in their place when it comes to legal, financial, business, and health care decisions.
The person granted the power of attorney by your parent is considered the agent—the person who has the power to act in their place. The parent granting the power of attorney is considered the principal. The parent can choose for the agent to have power even when the parent is healthy, so the agent can help with certain efforts, or only when the parent is incapacitated.
Let Matthew Karr, Esq., an experienced elder law attorney guide you through this process. Older adults deserve to work with an elder law attorney who will represent their interests with knowledge, dedication, and compassion.
Types of Power of Attorney
Doing a power of attorney now will avoid the complex situation where a court-appointed guardian may be needed. Typically, a parent names one of their adult children as their agent in the POA, but they may choose the person best suited for them.
Arranging a power of attorney for an elderly parent opens a dialogue about their wishes in case of illness and financial changes. Being proactive and getting this document in place before a crisis occurs gives your parents time to think about their health care wishes and what they want with regard to their finances and legal and business interests. Below are just a few types of POAs to consider:
- General Power of Attorney – This type of POA is often used when a parent can still manage their affairs but would rather someone else take charge. It terminates in the event your loved one becomes incapacitated, dies, or revokes it. The agent can cover a variety of tasks, including signing documents for the principal, handling banking matters, handling real estate in the name of the principal, and paying bills.
- Durable Power of Attorney – Massachusetts state law and the details your parent decides on within the document dictate what can be done on your parent’s behalf. The benefit of this type of trust is that it continues to be in effect if your parent becomes incapacitated.
- Springing Power of Attorney – This takes effect at some point in the future. This is used for those who want to maintain their independence with their affairs for as long as possible. Your parent would need to be declared incapacitated for this to be activated. The springing POA often requires the agent to get documentation proving the principal’s incapacity before a bank or other such institution will honor it, so it, therefore, has more red tape associated with it.
- Limited (Special) Power of Attorney – This type of POA can give authority to someone for a limited amount of time and for a specific number of responsibilities.
- Health Care Proxy – A health care agent is named who will make health care decisions in the event your parent isn’t able to. It’s important for your parent to make their wishes known so the agent can uphold them in a medical situation.
Get a Power of Attorney with Help from an Elder Lawyer
It’s best to have these conversations now when your parents are doing well so you can talk to them about their wishes should a time come when they need some help or they are unable to make the choices for themselves. The most important step is deciding who the trusted agent will be and what authority they will be given.
Matthew Karr, Esq., is an elder care legal professional who can knowledgeably guide you and your loved ones through the process of deciding which types of power of attorney are right for your family’s needs. Contact The Heritage Law Center today at 617-299-6976 or complete the online form below to get started with a consultation.