Often, a senior may have difficulty managing their finances at a certain point, and it comes down to their adult children to provide assistance with these matters. It’s important to know what you’re getting into when you begin assisting an elderly parent with their financial affairs, especially if legal intervention is required.
To start, you’ll need to examine your parent’s current situation and in what areas they need help. This may require conversations with doctors or other caregivers to determine if there are any cognitive issues that are of concern, and also looking at recent financial transactions to determine if help is needed. This is especially important if your elderly parent is responsible for writing checks for rent or a mortgage, utilities, or other expenses that may have a serious impact if payment is not received on time.
If it’s determined that your parent does, in fact, need assistance, there are some necessary steps to take. Your parent must be made aware that they require help, and that you or other family members can take on that responsibility. An Ohio elder law attorney can assist with these conversations to try to make it easier for your parent, since they will be allowing you, their child, to assist in the management and control of their finances. You will need to have a Power of Attorney drafted in order to have access to their finances and make decisions on your parent’s behalf. If their finances reside in a Revocable Living Trust, then you may need to speak to your parent and an attorney about taking over as a Successor Trustee.
If it’s clear that your parents can no longer make financial decisions but are unwilling to give up control of their finances, or if they’re no longer capable of making these types of decisions, you may want to speak to an experienced Ohio elder law attorney about placing your parent in a Conservatorship. A Conservator is named by the court to make financial and medical decisions for the elder. While this option is better than a guardianship, early action, cooperation and a well-crafted general durable power of attorney for legal and financial decision-making and an up-to-date health care power of attorney will provide a much smoother transition, in which the management of the elder’s needs can remain within the family and free from the oversight of outside parties.
If you’d like more information about assisting your elderly parent with their finances, or if you’re currently working with their finances and need assistance, please contact our office at 1-877-653-3450 to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.