Are You the Best Agent for Your Parents?

Estate Planning Hoover, AL: Appointing an Agent
Estate Planning Hoover, AL: Appointing an Agent

When an elder law attorney draws up medical and financial powers of attorney, an agent is named to make decisions in your place. The POA only authorizes someone to make decisions if you’re unable to do it yourself. 
If your mom has Alzheimer’s disease and has slipped to a point that she cannot make decisions related to her health, a medical POA allows the agent to tell doctors what tests they can run, what treatments are authorized, and what happens with end-of-life care. 
A financial POA authorizes the agent to access financial records, make decisions like signing up for the next year’s health insurance, and pay bills. The agent may research and sign up for homeowner’s or renter’s insurance and complete yearly taxes. 
Here’s a scenario where a power of attorney is needed. Your parent has a stroke and develops aspiration pneumonia. While your parent is in a coma, whoever is named as the agent must make decisions regarding medications, feeding tubes, ventilators, and when it’s time to stop treatments if there is no hope for recovery. 
Who should your parents pick as their agent? Is the adult child always the right person? Talk to your parents about this decision and how they should choose the person they trust most to fill this role. 
Are Adult Children Best? 
Most people name their adult children to be their agent. Some put their children in succession so that the eldest takes over or hands the duty to the next eldest. Being an agent, especially with end-of-life care, is a challenging role, and you may find you’re not ready or able to make decisions, so you need a sibling, aunt/uncle, or trusted family friend to step in. 
Your elderly parents need to sit down and talk to you about what they’d expect. You need to weigh heavily if you could make the decisions they’re asking you to make. If you can’t, you need to be honest with them so that they name someone who can. 
An adult child may not be the best choice. Your parents should consider their brothers or sisters to fill that role. They might want a close family friend. They may want to pick a grandchild, niece, or nephew. There is no right or wrong answer. Their choice of agent has to be about who they feel will do as asked without hesitation. 
Get an Elder Law Attorney to Draw Up the Paperwork 
Talk to an attorney who specializes in elder law about drawing up a power of attorney. Your parents can name their agent and any back-ups in case the primary agent is unable to complete his or her duties. With powers of attorney documents in hand, your parents’ health and finances are protected if something happens. 

If you or a loved need assistance with Estate Planning in Hoover, AL contact Nolan Elder Law & Estate Planning today. (205) 390-0101