Like people in all states, many Oklahoma residents suddenly find themselves in dire financial straits when called upon to care for an aging parent. Fortunately, a number of valuable resources can help with this extra burden, including good advice from a reliable attorney. In some cases, it's even possible to lessen or avoid this financial hardship altogether with a well-developed estate plan or a health care power of attorney.
As a parent ages, they can qualify for benefits like Social Security and retirement, but these resources can only go so far in helping seniors cover living expenses and medical treatment, especially if they have little saved. It typically falls to adult children to make both financial and health care decisions for infirm elders who cannot care for themselves. Even with savings, this can blind side a young family and put a strain on the quality of life for everyone involved. Financial advisors claim the best way to deal with the financial needs of an aging parent is by anticipation and planning as far in advance as possible.
Although it might be a painful discussion, it's a good idea for adult children to sit down with their parents ahead of time for a frank conversation about how to handle potential issues in the future. One way to make the transition easier for both the aging parent and the adult child who will manage finances and health care is putting a power of attorney in place. This powerful legal resource gives adult children the power to consent to medical treatment for the parent and to make financial decisions without going to court to have a parent deemed incompetent or incapacitated.
The issues associated with aging might be uncomfortable to consider, but advance preparation with help from a qualified estate planning attorney is the best way to ensure aging parents get the care they need with dignity and respect.
Source: Miami Herald, "Tips on caring for your aging parents" Julie Landry Laviolette, Feb. 04, 2014