Livens & Reed, PLLC

Elderly planning includes discussions about many subjects

When a child is helping an elderly parent with the potential needs of long-term care, it may be critical to get some planning done as soon as possible. This is important in the event of an untimely deterioration in the parent's health, which may make discussions and elderly planning highly problematic. For Texas residents, advance elderly planning can save substantial assets and ease the transition for all concerned.

Subjects like home-care, title to real and personal assets, preferences for payment of bills, legal protections and insurances are all important enough to prioritize. The hardest part may be to break the ice and actually have a discussion that deals with these sensitive issues. There is always the danger of the parent feeling that the child is trying to rush things or is otherwise being uncaring. The situation may call for extraordinarily thoughtful approaches to the subject matter.

Perhaps it can be developed as a mutually helpful process for both parent and child, and maybe other family members as well. If the parent wants to extend in-home living as long as possible, then a power of attorney should be prepared initially for basic legal protection. If the parent becomes mentally incompetent, the power of attorney, signed by the parent when still in good health, will be critical in preventing the need to have a guardian appointed. This issue will go hand-in-hand with discussions about handling the checking accounts, savings, investments, insurance policies, credit cards, and every other manner of daily, weekly and monthly living expenses.

Whether residing in Texas or another state, it may be wise to have professional assistance early on, including an elder law attorney and a financial expert in some cases. Because some of the decisions will deal with important legal matters, along with financial management issues, outside help can be critical to the success of elderly planning. Beyond those general considerations, several other legal documents, such as trusts, medical directives, a will and other permissions or instructions, may need to be prepared, if not already done.

Source:, "More than a resolution: Broaching topics with aging parents", Greg Hartwell, Jan. 21, 2015

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