Do you know if your parents have created an estate plan, including a durable power of attorney? The reason for this question is because even though, right now, your parents are healthy, what would happen if one or both of them were to suddenly become incapacitated? For example, one or both might lose their mental or physical capacity due to an accident, a sudden decline in health, or any factors that come as they age. Be aware that if your parents are not able to make plans for themselves, it is possible that the state of Florida will appoint a guardian for your parents rather than looking at other options. Most certainly, your parents, you and your family want to avoid this situation, so what can you do? You and your family can help your aging parents by encouraging them to plan ahead and meet with an experienced Florida elder law attorney and obtain a power of attorney as soon as possible, definitely before it may actually be needed.

Now that your parents have a power of attorney they can allow someone to make decisions on their behalf. The person enabled with decision making power is called the agent. You or a family member who lives close to your parents may wish to act as the agent. The most important part of this decision about selecting an agent or agents is that by planning ahead, while your parents have capacity, they have a voice in making the choice. The completed durable of attorney will keep the state of Florida from having to appoint a guardian for your parents.

As you and your parents talk about their power of attorney, it is important to know that there is more than one type of power of attorney. To begin, your parents should consider what type of authority your parents want to grant and to whom. Your parents could establish a general power of attorney intended to enable financial decision-making, like paying bills or handling investments. However, establishing a durable power of attorney means that the authority granted by the power of attorney will remain intact even if your parents, the principals, become incapacitated.

Remember, if your parents, you and your family avoid making these decisions together, the state of Florida could end up making them for you later. This is, most importantly, why your aging parents should have a power of attorney in place right now. Then your parents, you and your family can have peace of mind that if one or both of your parents become incapacitated there is a power of attorney in place.

At the Perlin Estate Planning & Probate our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services. By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.