Are you helping to manage an elderly loved one’s money? For older parents, especially those with mental impairments such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, handling their money and paying bills is one of the first skills they lose. If you are considering helping your aging parent(s) manage their money, there are a few things to keep in mind to help you avoid problems down the road. Fortunately, the skilled team at Morgan Law Center can help. We have a proven track record of assisting people like you learn the ins and outs of managing loved ones’ finances. To get started, check out the following tips to make your new responsibility as hassle-free as possible.
- Keep your loved one involved in the process. Don’t fall into the trap of allowing your loved one to just hand over all of their account passwords and account numbers. Keep them as invested and engaged as possible. Doing so will help foster a sense of trust. In simple terms, act like a fiduciary, or in the best interests of your parent(s) or loved one. This means avoid borrowing money or combining assets.
- Make sure your loved one has a current Durable Power of Attorney. In Florida, the law requires very detailed and specific powers, many of which must be initialed at the time the power of attorney is signed. In addition, if your loved one needs governmental assistance for nursing home care, the power of attorney will need an initialed power permitting you to create a qualified income trust.
- Make sure all of the legal documents are signed and in order. If an important document is not signed properly and in accordance with Florida law, it is not legally valid. This will cause a myriad of unintentional, and possibly damaging consequences.
- Do not add yourself as a joint owner on your loved one’s assets or financial accounts unless doing so is consistent with your loved one’s estate plan. Adding your name as a joint owner will cause the jointly-titled asset to pass directly to you, outside of your loved one’s will or trust. This may be inconsistent with your loved one’s wishes, and can cause drama and problems with other family members.
- Keep receipts and pay as many bills online as possible. This creates a paper trail, making it easier to track expenses if questions ever arise in court, when applying for governmental benefits for your loved ones, or between family members.
- Be mindful of actions that may be considered elder exploitation. In Florida, elder exploitation is a third-degree felony. Misusing your power of attorney in any way could put you on the receiving end of an elder exploitation allegation.
Do you have an aging parent? Are you thinking about elder care and helping them manage their finances? Do you have questions about the process and legalities? We are here to help. The team at the Morgan Law Center in Lake City, Florida is passionate about helping clients like you. Call our office today for a consultation at (386) 755-1977.