Gainesville Estate Planning Law Blog

Protecting loved ones may include financial power of attorney

Providing encouragement and support to an aging parent is a high priority for many adult children in Georgia. Such care often includes helping a mother or father transition to an assisted living residence. It can be stressful and challenging to find a good facility. Protecting loved ones is not always easy when it comes to physical, emotional or economic well-being. Regarding the latter, a financial power of attorney can be a great asset.

If an aging parent suffers incapacitation in any form that renders him or her unable to do certain things, such as talk on the telephone, read documents or travel to and from meetings, he or she may designate a financial power of attorney. The person so-named would then have authority to act on his or her behalf in a financial capacity, whether making financial decisions or conducting bank transactions, etc. There is also a limited power of attorney, which means the person designated to act as such would be called upon to do so in a singular instance, as needed, as opposed to taking over all financial decisions or transactions. 

Long-term care planning: Think about your home

It doesn't matter if you're thinking about long-term care planning for yourself or a loved one, there are some key considerations that deserve your full and immediate attention. For example, here's a question that always moves to the forefront: Could my home pose a problem as I age?

When you're young and in good health, you don't have any problem getting around your home. You know where everything is located, nothing gets in your way and you don't have to concern yourself with safety issues.

Georgia senior citizens may be concerned with these issues

Some Georgians might say that aging is for the birds. Others might have a most positive outlook, perhaps feeling  more liberated as they age and living life as they see fit. Many senior citizens agree, however, that aging often prompts fears or anxieties about certain issues.

Many older people get stressed when they think about losing independence, either due to physical conditions that make them unable to function without assistance on a daily basis or perhaps, mental decline that leaves them vulnerable regarding their own finances or medical issues. Sadly, many older people struggle financially as well. They may have worked their entire lives, perhaps even saving money as they were able, yet still be unable to meet the expenses associated with their long-term care plans.

How can you bring up estate planning with your parents?

Your parents have not done any estate planning, and you're worried that it is soon going to become a problem. You want to talk to them about end-of-life medical care, passing on family assets and heirlooms, moving into a nursing home and much more.

However, you know that they do not want to talk about it. Bringing it up feels awkward and strained. They do not like being reminded that they're moving closer to the ends of their own lives.

A court appointed guardian may affect your loved one's rights

If you're one of many adult children in Georgia who are caring for an elderly parent, you understand how challenging it can be. You want what is best for your loved one, but it isn't always easy to interpret that in a given set of circumstances. One of the most difficult decisions someone in your position can make is to file a petition for a court appointed guardian when your mother or father has become incapacitated.

If mental or physical health issues have made it impossible for your parent to make legal or financial decisions, it definitely signifies legitimate cause to ask the court to appoint a guardian. This can be a complex, time-consuming process. The good news, however, is that there are support resources available that can help alleviate some of the stress that often accompanies such situations.

A trust can help divorced parents protect a child's inheritance

Being a parent often means putting the needs of your child before yourself. All parents have to make sacrifices and changes to their lifestyle to provide for their children. Parents of special-needs children often have to do exceptional things to protect their children and their best interests as they grow up.

Unfortunately, the strain of raising special needs children can often undermine the relationship that resulted in a child. Many families with children with conditions like autism will see the parents divorce at some point: These families may have higher overall divorce rates.

Senior citizens often experience problems in assisted living

It's natural for older people in Georgia or elsewhere to want to cling to every bit of independence they can. This often leads to a struggle between aging parents and their loved ones who may try to convince them that the time has come to transition into an assisted living environment. In fact, approximately 25 percent of the senior citizens surveyed in one group had no personal control over their move to an assisted living facility.

It can be quite challenging for older people, who may have lived in the same house for decades, to get used to being around other people and to adapt to a new lifestyle that may include eating meals in a cafeteria style setting and having to eat at a certain time. Other types of problems often afflict elders in assisted living centers as well. For instance, many suffer from dementia -- not enough to necessitate moving to a nursing home but enough to need help as they function on a daily basis.

Do these things to help a parent find a nursing home

Even though it's a big change, if the time comes to help your parent find a nursing home, you should take immediate action. This is what's best for them at this time in their life, so you shouldn't hesitate to step in and provide as much assistance as necessary.

Anyone can find a nursing home for a parent or loved one. However, it takes a lot of time and effort to find the perfect nursing home for your parent.

Estate planning is not just about signing a will

Many Georgia residents and others associate matters of estate with signing a will. While signing a last will and testament is a common part of the estate planning process, there are many other types of documents and issues involved in executing a solid estate plan. It is never too early to learn as much as possible about the process; in fact, for those age 50 and beyond, it is often a crucial aspect of long-term care.

Parents of young children will also want to research how to plan their estates. Designating someone to care for children if parents die or become incapacitated is one of many protections an estate plan can offer. Parents of adult children may also want to consider various powers of attorney they may include in their estate plans.

Grandparents can provide for special needs grandchildren

If there is anything more magical and moving than being a parent, it may be becoming a grandparent. Much like with your children, you want the best possible future for your grandchildren. What's best can quickly become complicated if your grandchild has special needs.

Whether the condition is congenital or acquired through disease or trauma, it is likely that special needs will affect your grandchild's life indefinitely. It can also impact the parents in unpredictable ways. The stress of caring for special needs children can traumatize some or bring out the worst in others.

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