It’s never a happy scenario when an independent parent becomes unable to live on their own and needs their adult children to become involved with their day-to-day life. There are many legal and financial decisions that need to be made, and it becomes an emotionally difficult time for everyone.
For some, that process begins when an adult child and parent decide that she needs to move in with the adult child and his family. In its recent article, “Helping an elderly parent downsize,” The Best of New Orleans reports that a senior’s active lifestyle can often stop with a serious fall requiring hospitalization.
There are also legal issues associated with becoming a parent's caretaker. It’s important to obtain power of attorney (POA) documents to make an adult child or other trusted person the primary decision maker for a parent's medical and financial matters.
Those in this type of situation would benefit from calling an estate planning attorney.
Estate planning concerns handling people's estates after they pass away. Estate planning attorneys work with executors in dealing with the affairs of the deceased and distributing assets to heirs.
A POA states who will act on the person's behalf, when he or she is incapacitated or simply needs assistance in handling certain affairs. The power of attorney can apply to financial or medical matters (or both). An advance health care directive (“living will” in many states) tells your family and the medical staff what your wishes are regarding end-of-life medical issues.
When someone dies, going through their lifetime of belongings is an overwhelming and emotional major task. It's hard to make progress with items of sentimental value and family heirlooms.
Some families find an estate sale a good way to divest themselves of years of furniture and knick-knacks, while others prefer to distribute possessions among children and grandchildren. An estate sale can bring in some money when budgets are tight, but many families enjoy knowing that paintings, furniture or mom’s best serving platters are still being used at holiday dinners and keeping the memory of a beloved parent alive.
My firm's elder care coordinator can help with many of the care related and emotional issues involved when an elder no longer can live on his or her own, and with selecting and monitoring caregivers to keep the elder safely at home before a move out is necessary. There are senior move managers who can help organize decades of possessions, and help the family decide what goes with the elder, what goes to the children, what is sold, and what is trashed. In short, there are many emotional and other issues involved when an elder gets to the point of moving out of his or her home, and family members should reach out to the resources available from professionals in the field if for no other reason than to reduce the stress on those family members.
Reference: The Best of New Orleans (October 30, 2017) “Helping an elderly parent downsize”