It can be very awkward as an adult child to discuss dementia and senior cognitive decline with your parents. However, waiting to have these discussions until your loved one's decline is evident may prove even more troubling. Putting in place support, such as a Financial Advocate, can ensure the financial safety of your parents.
At Vick Law, P.C., we are firm believer in taking action before the crisis through planning. Aging parents and children of older parents should consider establishing a financial advocate. A financial advocate, usually a family member or close friend, should be bonded and insured, with some kind of oversight by another party. The advocate can assist with major financial responsibilities, including:
This is a way to maximize the older adult’s independence. A financial advocate uses the senior’s values and preferences to guide financial decisions, which prevents outcomes that go against their wishes. CNBC’s recent article entitled “Waiting to talk finance with an aging parent in cognitive decline is a mistake, experts say” says that you should be talking to an elderly parent while they’re still working because they’re still competent and able to fund [long-term care] and pay the premiums from income.
What If I Already Notice a Change in Cognition?
If a senior appears to be declining, see how they respond to basic questions, such as whether they know how much money they have and where their financial documents are located. If their answers seem abnormal for them, it's time to put some plans into action - such as a financial advocate. Adult children may need to secure authorization to release information and/or designation of a representative forms from their parents’ insurance company and other relevant service providers. Also, it may be time to consolidate their assets and, if they want a legacy, they may start Medicaid planning to conserve their assets through a trust that takes the assets out of their name.
These conversation can be very difficult emotionally. An experienced elder law attorney, such as Vick Law, P.C., can help discuss planning and crisis prevention to support you and your aging parents. Contact Vick Law, P.C. to discuss your estate planning, elder law, or financial advocate needs.
Reference: CNBC (Nov. 30, 2021) “Waiting to talk finance with an aging parent in cognitive decline is a mistake, experts say”