As an elder law attorney, I frequently advise adult children who suddenly realize that they must step in to help their aging parents. Perhaps Dad has fallen behind on his bills, or Mom is not making sound decisions when it comes to her medical care. Regardless of the reason, this transition of control over a loved one’s very personal affairs can be challenging.
Unfortunately, many seniors are reluctant to plan for this possibility or even discuss it with their close family members. For example, creating a power of attorney (POA) document, which gives a trusted individual known as the “agent” the ability to make legal decisions on one’s behalf, is frequently seen as a direct loss of independence. Combine an aging parent’s refusal to discuss estate planning with an adult child’s reluctance to broach the subject out of fear that it may result in anger or offense, and you have a recipe for procrastination.