son having mother sign power of attorney

Should a Power of Attorney Be Drafted for My Elderly Parents?

Recognizing that your elderly parents are losing strength and ability as they age is painful, but it is also realistic. Just as your parents cared for and protected you when you were a child, it will now become your responsibility to care for and protect them. 

One of the best ways to protect them is to see to it that they have a Power of Attorney (POA) in place. For this, you need a compassionate and detail-oriented estate planning attorney. In Southeastern Massachusetts and on Cape Cod, Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. has the legal team you are looking for. Both of our lead attorneys are certified elder law attorneys (CELAs),  2 of only 24 CELA attorneys practicing in Massachusetts.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

Power of attorney is a document that allows the party you select to act on your behalf in legal, business, financial, or health matters if you are unable to make decisions or take action yourself. A Durable POA remains effective even if you become incapacitated. This is noteworthy because if you have a power of attorney that is not durable, it will automatically stop working if you become incapacitated — just when you need it most. In that situation, a court-appointed legal guardian or fiduciary would have to take over, adding additional cost and confusion.

In Massachusetts, under the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code, a durable POA can be general or specific and can take effect as soon as it is signed in the presence of a notary.

Why Your Elderly Parents Need Powers of Attorney Drafted Now

If your parent doesn’t have a durable power of attorney drafted by a capable attorney, an unexpected injury, medical event or progressive disease could prevent you from making legal or financial decisions on their behalf at a crucial moment. 

Arranging for a guardian at such a time will add expense and stress to an already charged situation, making life more difficult for you and your family. If the probate court becomes involved, a stranger may end up making critical decisions from your parents that are not in keeping with their wishes.

Tasks the Person Given Power of Attorney Can Take Over

If your parent becomes incapacitated, temporarily or permanently, a power of attorney gives a trusted person the right to act legally on their behalf. The designated person will be able to:

  • Sign legal documents on their behalf
  • Manage their bank accounts and investments, including management of RMDs
  • Make decisions pertaining to taxes
  • Apply for government benefits
  • Manage retirement benefits
  • Create a trust to protect their assets
  • Sell real estate for them if it becomes necessary

Knowing that such decisions will be made for them by those they trust most will give both you and your parents peace of mind. 

Contact our Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys Today

Don’t delay speaking to one of our knowledgeable lawyers about the need for powers of attorney until your parents hit a certain age, or worse, suddenly become incapacitated. An unexpected accident or medical event can change their world and yours in an instant. Contact us now so you are prepared for an eventuality that (sadly) becomes more likely as your parents age. Make sure that you will be there for your parents as they were there for you.