One of the beautiful things about modern families is the connection from one generation to the next. So many of us know our grandparents and even great grandparents because modern medicine and longevity is on the rise. But at the same time, this also makes it more likely that adults will find themselves caring for an aging parent financially, physically, or legally.
If you are in the position of caring or looking after an aging parent, one of the best allies you can have is a family law attorney. A lawyer experienced in ‘family law’ is one who understands the importance of legal minutia. Who can check your mother’s mail, who can speak for your father in the hospital, and how to grant a parent independence and safety at the same time.
A family lawyer can help you make whatever legal arrangements are most practical or necessary to take care of your parent(s) as they age.
Grant Power of Attorney
Power of attorney is an important position in any person’s life. This is the right to make important medical and legal decisions for another person if they are incapacitated or deemed unsound of mind either permanently or temporarily. By default, you have power of attorney for your children. Your spouse has first power of attorney followed by your parents. So your parents probably have power of attorney over each other if both are still alive.
However, you do not necessarily have power of attorney for your parents if they fall ill. A family law attorney can help your parents grant this to you quickly and easily.
Granting Proxy for Mail and Bills
Did you know that checking your parent’s mail without permission is a federal crime? Most people don’t. Similarly, you may be mistaken for committing fraud by paying your parent’s bills or accessing their bank / online accounts to do so. An attorney who practices family law can help your parents grant you the position of legal proxy, meaning you can legally act as a representative of your parent(s).
Create Elder Abuse Protections
As your parents get older, most families rely on a combination of family care and hired care professionals. Both have some known pitfalls that can lead to intentional or unintentional elder abuse. And elders left alone without some protection may fall victim to elder-targeting financial frauds or care facility malfeasance.
By working with a family lawyer, you can set up certain arrangements and protections for your aging parents. To maintain independence and care, you can set up automatic bill pay. On the other, you can monitor your parent’s accounts for unusual expenditures or off-location activity. There are also careful and legally supportive ways to secure your parent’s assets while paying thier expenses so that they are safe from targeted fraud.
Estate Planning with Wills & Trusts
For many people, writing a will and estate planning in general is something that gets put off. However, a well-planned estate can pair perfectly with your parent’s retirement care plan if you work with a family lawyer to build what’s right for your family. Annuities and living trusts among other options can serve to provide protected income to your parent and help to manage property that will transition smoothly in the future.
Family law can help your parent wrap up their affairs, arrange for their final years, and plan for how they want to pass things on.
Allocating and Protecting Funds for Care
Finally, you can work with a family law attorney to set up a comfortable and safe lifestyle for your parent’s last few decades. If your parent is clear-minded but needs some physical help, if your parent is able but growing forgetful, or any combination you will likely want to set up some amount of safety monitoring or long-term care assistance. And in doing so, you also want to ensure the assistive living costs are paid and that there is no way for assistants to commit fraud against your parent.
With a family lawyer, you can set up a legal and financial system to protect and support your parent, in whatever level of independence they prefer or can achieve.
Can your family, parent, or situation benefit from the help of a Boca Raton family law attorney? Family law can help you build a support system for an aging parent so that they can maintain their independence and you can make sure your parent is well taken care of both daily and in the long term. For more information or to consult on the right solutions for your aging parent, contact us today!