You’re The Power of Attorney for Finances: Now What?

Please Share
If your aging parents did some planning ahead, and you are the person Mom or Dad appointed for the job of managing finances, what’s the job description? First, you need to know when to take over the checkbook and other responsibilities. If your aging parent had a stroke, or accident and can’t talk or think clearly, it’s obvious that it’s time. But what about the situation in which your aging parent is gradually losing competence over time because of dementia? How do you know when to step in?

Dementia is a disease of the brain which causes the loss of brain function over time. Memory loss is the first sign. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia by far. The kind of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is not just simple forgetting a name or the date. It can be memory loss for the purpose of familiar objects, disorientation in one’s home, forgetting how to do things one has always done, and other serious signs. Millions of adult children of aging parents are now facing or will soon enough face this question. When is it time to take over handling the money for Mom or Dad?

If your aging parent has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia, it is good to plan a timeframe to take over the management of money. The early stages of AD can last for several years, and Mom or Dad may seem to do things pretty well at the early stage. However, dementias are progressive, which means they get worse as time passes, and no medicines available now can actually stop dementias from getting worse over time. So, if your parent is in the early stage of dementia, or has what doctors call “mild cognitive impairment”, it’s good to talk over a date when you will take on the responsibility such things as paying bills, deciding to pay for needed home repairs, and how to use savings or investments.

The problem with “mild cognitive impairment” is that no dividing line has been created to tell us the moment when “mild” becomes “moderate” or when “moderate” becomes “severe”. So, for the adult child who is to exercise the power of attorney, it is wise to set a date for taking over. One or two years past the time the dementia is diagnosed may be all you can count on as a relatively safe time for your parent to remember to pay bills and make financial decisions. It could be more and could be less. The point is, the ability to manage money is going to end as a person lives on with dementia. Caregiving family members need to be ready for that end point, even if it means creating one by agreement.

It is respectful of your aging parent to ask him or her early on in the progress of dementia, if possible, to agree to let you take over the checkbook by a certain date. Ironically, by the time dementia has done its damage to your aging parent’s brain, he will not likely be able to tell how impaired he is. Many people in the middle stages of AD, for example, do not have enough brain function left to actually see how dangerous they are in making financial decisions. They may think everything is fine. It is therefore up to their adult children or loved ones to see what lies ahead and make definite plans to take on financial management by a specific time, even if the aging parent does not agree.

Birthdays are a marker of time, and suggesting that the adult child take over the finances by a certain birthday of the aging parent may make the transition easier. It is good to let your parent’s doctor know this plan. In some cases, where there is a trust, for example, a doctor’s certification that the person is no longer capable of being in charge of money may be needed when the time comes to take over. A pre-set date to which the elder has agreed makes it easier for the doctor, too. For those whose aging parents have dementia, don’t be surprised if your parent forgets the agreement by the time that birthday rolls around. Stick to your plan, and keep your parent’s money safe by exercising that power of attorney. For aging parents with dementia, the risk of losing money or spending it unwisely is too great to ignore.

Please Download Our Survival Guide. It Has All The Vital Documents You Need

Download Our Free Tool Kit With All The Vital Documents You Need To Deal With Aging Parents

©2008 Carolyn L. Rosenblatt, R. N., Attorney at Law

Tiny URL for this post:

Please Share
JUST RELEASED “The Family Guide To Aging Parents”
Stack Of CashCheck out our latest website: click HERE to learn more
FREE Report: “One Critical Step You Must Take To Avoid Your Aging Parents Debts”
CLICK on the image Below
Testimonials by our readers
"Thank you for the article on the "grey area". It validated what I am currently going through with my Mother. It is so painful for me to go back and forth with her behavior. I just don't know what to do about the estranged sister who has exploited well over $50K of my mother's savings and my Mothers admitted " lack of "will power" to say no to her." Robert ________________________________ "I do want to thank you for the Webinar you offered. It helped me a great deal as I was facing the need to lead our family in finding a safe living situation for our mother. That information and the other information you offered as downloads gave me much needed guidance when I was feeling tremendous anxiety and uncertainty." Betty
FREE Report: 10 Warning Signs Your Aging Parent Needs Help With Money
Get Quick Tips – Newsletter FREE…. Just CLICK Below
  • What To Do When Your Aging Parent Is No Longer Safe Living Alone But Refuses To Move July 11, 2019
    What To Do When Your Aging Parent Is No Longer Safe Living Alone But Refuses To Move Carolyn Rosenblatt, RN, Elder law attorney, “My mom is not safe by herself but she refuses help!” “My dad can’t manage alone…Read more ›
    Carolyn Rosenblatt
  • Here’s The Newest Utility Bill Scam May 30, 2019
    Carolyn Rosenblatt, RN, Elder law attorney, We live in a county with a high number of older residents. A neighbor recently alerted all in our area to yet another scam she had encountered, targeting the unsuspecting. Here’s how it…Read more ›
    Carolyn Rosenblatt
  • A Remedy For Isolated Aging Parents April 30, 2019
    By Carolyn Rosenblatt, RN, Attorney, The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2060, nearly twenty-five percent of Americans will be age 65 and above.  At the same point, the number of people age 85 and older will triple. What will they…Read more ›
    Carolyn Rosenblatt
  • Warn Your Aging Parents About Fake “Social Security” Calls–They’re Scams April 10, 2019
    Carolyn L. Rosenblatt, RN, Elder law attorney, Scams targeting our aging loved ones never seem to stop. Thieves can fool the recipient of a call by showing a “real” number on caller ID with spoofing computer software. That’s a…Read more ›
    Mikol Davis
FREE Report: Mental Wellness Technique For Stress Relief