People in California probably have a lot of New Year's resolutions on their mind, as people strive to make 2014 better for themselves and their loved ones. This includes people who have elderly and aging parents and family members who grow more and more susceptible to health issues as the years go by. Many concerned children think a lot about their parents' health, but they may not fully appreciate the need to be concerned about their parents' financial well-being, as well.
Older people aren't just more likely to encounter poor health, but they are also more likely to be the victim of financial abuse. As older folks' mental states diminish, they become susceptible to con men and individuals promoting shady "investment opportunities" who really just want to steal their hard-earned lifetime of accumulated wealth.
It can be a difficult discussion to have with a parent, and a difficult thing for a person to accept, but without precautionary measures, an elderly person remains at risk to lose some or all of his or her financial stability to poor decision-making and dishonest dealings that may amount to plain and simple theft.
People should consider appointing a designated representative to make financial and legal decisions for an aging loved one with diminished capacity. A power of attorney, or POA, gives a person the right to make decisions on a person's behalf, which can save an incapacitated person from being forced to make choices that go beyond their present capabilities.
A power of attorney should be a part of every family's plan for dealing with the realities of an aging loved one's life. This document is highly customizable for almost any situation, and with the help of an experienced estates and trusts attorney, can be established very quickly. In 2014, concerned family members should consider setting up a POA for their aging loved ones.
Source: Forbes, "Year-End Mission: Spot Signs of Elderly Financial Abuse," John Wasik, Dec. 23, 2013