This document will help you manage your parents’ finances when they no longer can. Before that day comes, it is important to have them execute a Power of Attorney. If you wait until they are incapacitated by a stroke or maybe alzheimer’s , it will be too late to have this executed since the law requires that they be competent at the time of execution. I recall one of my clients who called to inform me that his Mom was just diagnosed with alzheimers disease (Dad had died a few years earlier). He wanted to arrange to have her give him Power of Attorney so that he could do her banking, sell some of her stocks and eventually sell the family house. He also mentioned how his Mom would require nursing home care and that he feared that the expenses of such care would mount quickly with the nursing home ultimately attaching a lien against the home for expenses incurred. I explained to him that it was too late to have his Mom execute this document. In order to become her legal agent for purposes of conducting her financial affairs he would have to be appointed her conservator through a Surrogates Court proceeding. I went on to explain that this would take a while to complete and that it would be quite expensive with both legal fees and Court fees. Had they come in to my office a week earlier while she was still healthy, we would have just had her execute the Power of Attorney. The son would have then been empowered to conduct her financial affairs.
Don’t let what happened to this client happen to your family. Although the topic is not a popular one to discuss, it makes sense to sit down with your elderly parent to explain the importance of executing a Power of Attorney.
The Law Office of William J. Reinhardt, Jr. has been providing estate planning advice to families for over 25 years. Additional documents to consider along with a Durable Power of Attorney are a Will, a Revocable Trust , a Health Care Proxy and a Living Will. You may visit my website for additional information on these topics.
I offer a free consultation to those considering these services. You may schedule your appointment by calling me at 718-377-8880 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.