As your parents get older, they may face more health and memory problems. It’s very important to establish powers of attorney so you can make important medical, financial, and legal decisions for your parents.
Navigating the process of obtaining a power of attorney for your parents can be confusing. This guide will help you simplify the process and complete your legal checklist so you can be there for your parents anytime, anywhere.
What Does It Mean to Have Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a document that grants you the ability to make important decisions for your elderly parent. Once you have been granted power of attorney, you will be able to speak for your parent and keep their life running smoothly.
Think of having power of attorney as being a personal agent for your aging parent. You have the rights and responsibilities related to their life: their finances, their medical care, and their legal standing.
Understanding Different Forms of Power of Attorney
There are different types of power of attorney. It’s important to understand which ones are relevant to you and your parents’ lives so you can make the best decision together. No matter what form of power of attorney you take on, know that it’s a big responsibility and huge honor. Your job is to protect your parents’ best interests at all times.
Having general power of attorney can be risky, depending on the mental and physical health of your parent. When you have a general POA document, you are able to make legal, medical, and financial decisions for your parent until and unless they are declared incompetent.
With a medical power of attorney, you can make all medical and healthcare-related decisions for your parent once they are declared incompetent. This happens fairly often, as aging can bring on problems with memory and judgment. When this happens, you will be responsible for ensuring your loved one gets the best type of medical care possible.
A durable power of attorney is the most far-reaching type of POA available. With a durable POA, you remain a source of authority in your loved one’s life, regardless of their physical and mental status. This means that through chronic illness, coma, memory problems, and other devastating conditions, you can be there to make choices for them.
How to Get Power of Attorney Set Up
Setting up power of attorney for your elderly parents doesn’t have to be difficult or confusing. Here’s what you need to know about gaining POA.
Choose the Agent with POA
Your parent(s) will have to choose the person they deem best fit to have power of attorney. That may be you, one of your siblings, or another trusted family member. There are two limits on who can be chosen to have power of attorney: agents must be over the age of 18 and mentally competent.
Encourage your parents to think carefully about what they want for their lives while choosing their agent for power of attorney. This decision could affect their quality of life later on. It should be an informed, confident choice.
Fill Out Your State’s POA Forms
You will need your state’s power of attorney forms to start the process. You can find most POA forms on official state websites, so make sure you check online first. You can also ask a healthcare institution for medical POA forms.
Sign the Forms In Front of a Witness or Notary
Once you fill out the power of attorney paperwork, you will have to sign it in front of a witness. This is required by law to ensure that the documents are legitimate and that your parent was not coerced into signing them.
Register the Forms with the Courts (if Necessary)
Some states require court registration once the POA forms are complete. Always check your state laws or consult a lawyer for specifics. If you need to register the forms with the courts, make sure the documents are notarized and free of any errors.
Why Getting Power of Attorney Is So Important
You might wonder, “Why does my elderly parent need a power of attorney if they’re still competent and rational?” The answer is simple: your loved one’s mental or physical health could change at any moment.
Finding the Best Medical Care
As the child or other family member of an aging loved one, you can help your loved one get the best quality of life and medical care possible in their later years. This is an honorable legal position that every family with seniors should have in place.
Healthcare and financial practices are not always ethical, and seniors are among the largest group to be taken advantage of every year. By gaining power of attorney, you can make sure your loved one is never exploited, harmed, or neglected in any way.
Peace of Mind
Your loved one likely has enough to worry about, and appointing you as having power of attorney can ease some of their stress. They would no longer have to worry about the “what-ifs” in life. They can rest knowing you will take care of their medical, financial, and legal needs once they can’t anymore.
Take Care of Your Loved One with a Power of Attorney
Getting a power of attorney for elderly parents is important for their quality of life and peace of mind later on. Don’t skip this important step in caring for your loved ones. When you have a power of attorney, you can make the best choices for those you love the most.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.