The odds that at least one parent will have cognitive trouble down the road are pretty high. Here are some planning tips:
- Have a frank discussion about the issue, and offer to help to the extent they want it. This can be a sensitive subject, so tread carefully!
- Suggest they review or create a living trust, and appoint someone responsible (like you) to be the successor trustee if they get to the point where they need help. Suggest they put a simple competency test in the trust, like a written opinion from a doctor they trust.
- Make sure all the important assets are titled to the living trust. The trust only controls what it owns.
- Have them keep powers of attorney fresh. Often, institutions will not respect older ones out of fear of financial fraud. If their state permits them, use “springing” powers of attorney, those that only activate if there is diminished capacity to manage one’s affairs. See Important Disclosure Information at https://www.camarda.com/p/adv-important-disclosure& https://www.camarda.com/rankings-disclosure