When Your Parent Can No Longer Handle His or Her Financial Affairs

Posted on: Dec 13, 2016

Whether incapacity arises as a result of illness, medical condition, or accident, it can happen very quickly and when you least expect it. As a result, you should have a frank conversation with your family, and especially your parent or parents, about how he or she wishes to handle his or her financial affairs should they suddenly become unable to do so. The laws in all states, including Washington and Idaho allow individuals to make this decision by executing a general durable power of attorney. This document allows the trusted individual designated by the person executing the durable power of attorney to manage his or her financial affairs in the future if he or she can no longer do so. Perhaps most importantly, a power of attorney does not require withdraw any authority from the person executing the document; thus, he or she retains authority, independence, and decision-making powers  unless he or she becomes incapacitated. Therefore, the general durable power of attorney typically isn’t utilized until it becomes necessary. However, the durable power of attorney must be in place prior to incapacity. Without a good, effective durable power of attorney in place, a guardianship will be required and the state will take over the person’s affairs.
A general durable power of attorney gives a certain designated person, who is generally referred to as the attorney-in-fact, the legal authority to make decisions as to the person’s financial and personal affairs. For instance, if a parent becomes incapacitated, his or her attorney-in-fact will be able to pay bills, maintain bank accounts, file federal and state income tax returns, sell assets to satisfy debts, and provide payment to Long-Term Care providers and medical facilities for their services. Executing a power of attorney can eliminate the need for a court to appoint a guardian, which process and court intervention can be an extremely time-consuming, complex, public and expensive court proceeding. Plus, signing a power of attorney allows the person to appoint to his or her own attorney-in-fact, rather than leaving it up to the court.
The Washington and Idaho power of attorney lawyers of Elder Law Group PLLC know how emotional and difficult it can be when the time comes that a loved one, such as your parent, is unable to handle his or her financial and personal affairs. Be fully prepared before it’s too late. Avoid the time and expense of guardianship proceedings. Our attorneys are dedicated to creating a comprehensive estate plan that addresses not only the authorization needed to manage financial and personal responsibilities between you and your parent, but any other issues that may arise, based on your circumstances. We handle elder law cases every day, including attorney-in-fact designations, and we know how to place you in a position to handle even the most complicated of situations. Don’t hesitate to call Elder Law Group at 509.468.0551 and see how we can help.