Are you the adult child of aging parents? Are your parents currently in good health? Have you given thought to what would happen should that change in the future? Be aware that it is important that, if both of your parents suddenly lose their mental or physical capacity due to an accident, a sudden decline in health, or any factors that come alongside aging, they may not be able to make plans for themselves. In that event, it is possible that the state of Florida would have to step in and appoint a guardian for them rather than looking at other options. You, your parents and your family would not ever want this to happen. Therefore, to avoid this situation it would be better to plan ahead and obtain a durable power of attorney right now for each of your healthy parents, before it may actually be needed.
Now, you may be wondering what a power of attorney is? A power of attorney is a legal document that can allow the person (or principal) creating the document to have someone (agent) make decisions in the event the principal is incapacitated. To be clear, the person given decision making power is called the agent. Now you, as the adult child, may wish to act as agent for both of your parents, however there may be another relative who lives closer who may be a preferable choice. It is a choice that your parents, who have the mental and physical capacity to do so right now, can make for themselves. This is, most importantly, why creating the power of attorney now while your parents are in good health is so vital. You, your parents and family do not want to ever be in a situation where the state of Florida would have to step in.
To continue, there is more than one power of attorney. Your parents will need to consider what type of authority they would wish to grant and to whom. Your parents could establish a general power of attorney intended to enable financial decision-making, like paying bills or handling investments. However, by establishing a durable power of attorney they can be sure that the authority granted by the power of attorney will remain intact even if they, the principals, become incapacitated. To learn even more about the importance of a durable power of attorney, you and your parents should reach out to a qualified Florida elder law attorney.
As the adult child, encourage your aging parents to be prepared for any unexpected accident or illness by creating a durable power of attorney. By your parents creating their own durable power of attorney now, they can decide who their decision makers will be.
At David H. Jacoby Elder Law Advocate, P. A., we are focused on providing thorough, ethical, and timely solutions for our clients and their loved ones. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with us.