If you have an aging parent, you may be wondering how you can ensure that they are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves and their future. As illnesses, medical conditions, memory loss, or other age-related issues arise, it’s important to know that your parent’s well-being is sufficiently safeguarded. One important aspect of estate planning is establishing powers of attorney documents, which designate trusted individuals to make legal decisions on behalf of your aging parent. It’s worth taking a look at the various types of powers of attorney available to your aging parent and how you can best support them throughout the process.
Types of Powers of Attorney in Washington State
There are two main types of powers of attorney that could be of use to your aging parent: Medical power of attorney and financial power of attorney. A medical power of attorney, also referred to as a “durable power of attorney for health care,” designates a trusted individual to serve as a health care agent. Should your parent become unable to make important decisions about their medical care, or if they are unable to understand or communicate such wishes on their own, the health care agent will step in and make these decisions on their behalf. Typically, the health care agent will use the instructions specified in your aging parent’s living will as a guide for making these crucial decisions about what health care interventions they would want (or decline).
A financial power of attorney names a trusted person to gain authority over your aging parent’s finances. This person can perform a number of tasks, including mail correspondence, depositing Social Security checks, monitoring retirement accounts, filing tax returns, and more. While many people select someone they know and trust to serve in this capacity, professionals are available to step in to fulfill this role.
Guiding Your Loved One Through the Process
It can be overwhelming for many aging individuals to face decisions that require them to think about their own mortality. If your aging parent is resistant to discussing estate planning matters, try to approach them with care and compassion. Explain that establishing powers of attorney protects them, but it also eases your anxiety as well. Many parents feel motivated to create a power of attorney to make life easier for their children. It can also be helpful to remind them that assigning powers of attorney is an act of control—by taking these important steps, they are ensuring that their wishes will be known and respected.
Get Started Today
At Legacy Law Group, we understand how challenging it can be to have sensitive conversations with aging parents about their future. That’s why we’re committed to helping all of our clients receive the tools and support systems they need in order to feel empowered throughout the estate planning process. To learn more about establishing powers of attorney in the Spokane Valley area, contact the knowledgeable long-term care and elder law attorneys at Legacy Law Group by calling (509) 315-8087 today.