14th Dec 2016
There is rarely a day that goes by that a client comes into our office with an old, outdated durable power of attorney or they don’t have a power of attorney at all. Having an old, outdated durable power of attorney is better than nothing, right? Not necessarily! It becomes more complicated depending on the individuals situation.
A durable power of attorney is a legal document which allows you to designate a person to handle your financial affairs in the event you are unable to handle them yourself. It is vitally important and often times people do not realize how important it is until it is too late.
The holidays are a perfect time to discuss estate planning with your loved ones. The discussion doesn’t have to go into any details about who or what was done, but ask your loved one if he or she has completed estate planning documents and when they were done. If it has been more than a few years it may be a great time to nudge them to review their documents at home or with their Seminole elder law attorney. It is also important to review your legal documents if there have been any life changes, such as: deaths, mental health issues, dementia, or Alzheimer’s.
If you notice that your loved ones health or memory is slipping and you are worried about them, it is time to become more proactive and make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed. This may require having very difficult discussions with other family members or extended family. The best course of action is to say something as it is often difficult for people to acknowledge or see the decline if they are close to or see the loved one often. Communicate and most important, listen.
Communication and preparation is the key. Executing a durable power of attorney does not mean you are giving away your money. It is a tool to help you. It is a tool to allow a trusted person to help you when you are struggling to help yourself. The best advice we give clients is to prepare the best you can in the event you can no longer care for yourself. Your life situation may not be ideal but at least you will know who is helping you and you will not have to rely on a judge who may appoint a stranger as your guardian.
Care Enough to Talk About the Power of Attorney
Open your eyes this holiday season and enjoy the company of your loved ones. Have those difficult life discussions, not because you want to but because you care enough to have them. If everything is in order then you are in great shape. If what you see or hear has you concerned then encourage your loved one to review their legal documents with their attorney or call our Seminole office at 727-397-4768 to schedule a time to review these documents and power of attorney.