You May Not Be Able to Plan in Advance Later On

Posted on

Oct 25, 2018

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I was working with an Adult Protective Services representative just a few days ago, and she said something very profound. We were attempting to help a family whose mother was showing signs of either rapidly advancing dementia or some other medical issue. They had no powers of attorney in place; they had no authority to step in. She needed help, but they were stuck between not having any power of attorney documents and not being able to make the required showing to get a guardianship. The woman from APS said, "It's always to soon, until it's too late." How true.
Many families keep putting off the very critical act of executing the proper set of documents to insure that they can legally pitch in to help, if a loved one needs assistance. Procrastination can cost - BIG TIME! A will, financial powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney, HIPAA releases, advance directives, declaration of guardians in the event of later need are essential for every adult member of the family. If there are minor children in the mix, there should also be a declaration of guardian for your children in the event of later need. People often assume that, just because they are family, they will be able to jump right in, take over the finances, help with medical decisions, etc. WRONG! And the consequences of not having the right authority when you need it can be dramatic. When a family member needs help, the bills don't just automatically stop! Imagine the anguish that results from not being able to access that family members finances. No one realized the need to plan ahead. It's frustrating, gut-wrenching and expensive, if you have to come out of your own pocket to pay those bills. Consult with an elder attorney. There are issues that you probably haven't thought of and questions that you don't know the answers to. Please do it NOW! Remember, it's always to soon, until it's too late.
Editors Note: This article was submitted by J. Clarke Wilcox, attorney with Whatley Wilcox, PLLC. He may be reached at 888-593-5337. Article on page 39

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