As people get older, turning over financial matters to a family member or some other appointed party may be a tough decision. Maybe you have long experience in running a business or handling other financial affairs, and you know your accounts as well as anyone else. But sometimes there are warning signs that suggest it may be time to let go of the reins before estate assets are depleted and your loved ones are left with difficult decisions in probate.
Children of elderly parents can also have a touchy time trying to protect the parents’ assets. With that in mind, let’s consider some options for Florida residents who have concerns about a loved one’s incapacity to manage financial matters.
First, it’s important to keep in mind that aging is natural, and so is occasionally forgetting to do a household task. But stacks of unopened bills, ill-advised charitable donations, compulsive buying — these could all be warning signs that a person is no longer able to handle his or her finances.
In that case, have a talk with your aging loved one, and frame the discussion in terms of how he or she wants to implement a comprehensive estate plan. If no such plan is already in place, then an attorney can work with all concerned parties to draft a will and weigh other options for protecting estate assets. If there is a plan, then it may be time to update it.
Aging relatives tend to be okay with the idea of turning over decision-making power regarding health care, but fewer people are inclined to simply give up control of finances. An estate plan can address these issues in detail, however, as well as assign powers of attorney and create health care directives.
Clear communication among family members prior to a loved one’s incapacity is often the key to protecting assets and ensuring that the loved one’s needs are met. To learn more about achieving these goals, please visit our estate planning pages. And check back here each week; we’ll be posting on topics that are related to estate planning in Florida.
Source: Miami Herald, “When to ask for, hand over money reins,” Gregory Karp, Oct. 18, 2013