Listen to Your Elders

For most us, our parents are the standards of adulthood, strength, and wisdom.  Late in life mental disabilities, such as dementia, catch many otherwise attentive adult children of older parents off guard, and the legal ramifications are often the true blindside.

It is important for your parents to meet with a lawyer to seek advice about who should act as their legal and personal representative in the event of their incapacity, and about what the best means of protecting their rights are.

Once these measures have been taken, it is just as important to keep a close eye on an aging parent’s condition.  Aging parents are likely to be at their best when around people they love and trust, namely you, and more vulnerable around people who may seek to take advantage of them financially.

The Public Guardian is able to step in and control an infirm person’s assets when there is a complaint of possible financial perfidy.  However, implementing your mother or father’s living estate plan once that step has been taken will require hiring a lawyer to negotiate, or even wrest control of the estate back from the government.

It is best, if you have any concerns about a parent’s mental abilities, to assess their capacity often.  Once you have determined that someone needs to step in, keep a close eye on their accounts; and of course, keep notes about everything you do and observe.