As people grow older, they often are not able to manage their own care. Frequently, loved ones such as children or grandchildren are called upon to take control of an elderly person’s care. That could mean anything from managing that person’s finances to choosing an assisted care facility.
Unfortunately, these arrangements can create all kinds of problems. “Elderly people have always been targets of scam artists who are looking to take advantage of people who might be too old to defend themselves,” says attorney Martin Sweet of legal information website THELAW.TV ( http://www.thelaw.tv).
Here are some potential legal problems:
“The first thing you should discuss is appointing someone to have legal authority over your aging loved one's assets,” suggests Sweet.
An elder law attorney can help you with this process. Although many experts recommend appointing powers of attorney, this traditional solution creates as many problems as it solves.
“Documents appointing powers of attorney are subject to abuse, are not enforceable, and often lack sufficient instructions to avoid court involvement,” explains Sweet.. "A better, more modern, solution is to appoint people you can trust (which can include family members) as trustees over assets."
“Joint powers of attorney can provide checks and balances and reduce the risk of any type of abuse,” adds Sweet.
If your aging loved one has financial investments, he might need someone to manage those investments. Of course, you might have neither the expertise nor the time to perform these duties. If this is the case, you might consider hiring a financial advisor, such as a certified financial planner (CFP). Many CFPs specialize in handling the investments of elderly people.
Keep in mind that it’s never too early to plan for the final stages of your aging loved one’s life. Just a little bit of advance planning could ensure that those golden years don’t become a burden on them or you.