Transferring Responsibility of Finances from Elderly to Family Member When Contemplating In-Home Care

There are many things to consider when contemplating in home care for a loved one. Taking charge of his or her finances can be a daunting task, but these three things can help the process run more smoothly.

1 Create A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

Also referred to as a medical power of attorney, durable power of attorney for health care is a legally binding document that allows your loved one to authorize an agent to make decisions about his or her medical care and end-of-life choices.

Talk with your loved one to ensure you are clear about his or her wishes for treatment and life support measures. Keep in mind a power of attorney for health care can be very broad or may limit the type of decisions the agent can make. It is essential to have a qualified attorney draft this very important document.

2 Create A Durable Power of Attorney for Finances

This legal document designates an agent to manage your loved one’s financial affairs should he or she lose the ability to do so. If your loved one becomes incapacitated, a financial power of attorney will allow his or her agent to take care of financial affairs such as:

  • Paying bills, taxes and medical expenses
  • Paying for in home care
  • Managing real estate assets
  • Accessing financial accounts
  • Investing on your loved one’s behalf
  • Collecting retirement benefits
  • Transferring and selling assets
  • Buying insurance
  • Operating a small business
  • Hiring legal counsel

3 Contact Financial Institutions and Other Businesses

As soon as you are legally named as your loved one’s agent, it is vital to inform any bank, investment firm, insurance company or other businesses with which he or she has accounts. Provide these organizations with signed, certified copies of both the financial and medical powers of attorney. Never give out the original documents and be sure to keep them in a safe place, such as a locked, fire-proof safe.

Some banks or other businesses may refuse to honor requests from an acting agent and require your loved one sign the organization’s own forms. If your loved one has lost the ability to act for him- or herself, this can create serious problems.

Read this Wall Street Journal article about a couple’s difficult journey trying to figure out their parent’s financial matters.

If you do encounter resistance, be persistent. Discuss the issue with managers or other high-level representatives of the company until the matter is resolved. If they still refuse to accept your powers of attorney, consult a lawyer as soon as possible. State law may require the business or person to accept the power of attorney and an experienced lawyer can help you put the matter to rest in a timely fashion.

Finding High Quality In Home Care

Taking the appropriate steps to have the right legal documents in place can help make a stressful time easier and give you and your family peace of mind while you enter the search for an in home care provider. Contact Home Care Book at (214) 377-0711 for a free home care quote and get started on customizing a plan to fit your loved one’s needs.