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Establishing power of attorney for a parent

Watching one's parents get older can be challenging, as many Floridians probably know. It can be especially difficult if they lose the ability to manage their own finances and legal matters on their own. One woman, whose mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, learned through first-hand experience what details need to be arranged before a parent loses the ability to make decisions for him or herself.

This woman approached her mother's decreasing independence carefully and in advance. As soon as her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, this woman began making plans for how her mother's finances would be managed in the future. Establishing power of attorney as soon as possible was very important for this woman, because the legal process would vary depending on her mother's level of competence.

Power of attorney is important because it allows a person to legally handle another person's finances. Establishing power of attorney before her mother was too incompetent to be able to approve the power of attorney was critical. If the daughters had waited, they would likely have had to go to court. The daughter explains that her mother granted durable power of attorney to her and her sister, which lasts until their mother's death.

For this daughter, it was also important that she looked over her mother's spending. If a parent is unable to remember making purchases, he or she may make more purchases than he or she can afford.

Establishing power of attorney or a guardianship for a parent may be a difficult thing to talk about. But, broaching the topic is likely much easier than trying to manage a parent's finances after he or she is no longer able to and then running into difficulties since one is not authorized to manage the parent's finances.

Source: Daily Finance, "Alzheimer's, mom and money: When a retiree can't remember," Cameron Huddleston, Nov. 26, 2012

For more information on establishing a guardianship or power of attorney, please visit our Miami estate planning website.

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