Skip navigation

Obtaining power of attorney: How to navigate the legal waters

Children often want to help mom or dad plan for retirement and the realities of aging. It’s not just about giving back to the people who raised you, but also guaranteeing the highest quality of life possible and least amount of burden or hassle during the aging process.

A key part of this planning includes preparing for all possible scenarios. If an illness or accident impacts a parent’s mental state or overall well-being, it will fall to immediate family to help make decisions in their loved one’s best interests.

This responsibility begins with obtaining power of attorney. This legal status ensures your control over the future care of your parent when the unthinkable or the unknown happens. Yet, concerned family shouldn’t wait until this actually happens; discussions about power of attorney need to be held as children help parents plan their later years.

What is power of attorney and when is it needed

Power of attorney refers to when a principal (mom or dad) decides ahead of time who should represent their interests – the attorney-in-fact – when or if they cannot make decisions for themselves. This can often occur as a result of dementia, stroke, terminal illness or an injury.

The process of granting power of attorney begins with paperwork, and it’s best to talk to an elder law attorney. Having a lawyer draft power of attorney documents helps ensure you and your parent’s unique needs and concerns are met. There may be other less costly options, like getting documents from the internet, but there’s no margin for error when establishing and enforcing power of attorney.

Some different scenarios in which a power of attorney may be needed include:

What kind of power of attorney do I need?

The power of attorney process can be a bit confusing for anyone first dealing with the subject. However, it’s crucial to know that there are a couple variations on power of attorney that parents and children should understand:

Having the talk is difficult, but necessary

There’s no real easy way to broach the topic of power of attorney, given all the things it relates to, but talking with mom or dad about it is essential. Life can largely be unexpected, and it’s highly important that families prepare to handle any challenges that may occur, particularly when they involve a parent’s aging process.

Some tips to get the conversation rolling include:

At Milestone, we understand the difficult position families are put in when power of attorney must be addressed. That’s why we try to provide the most hospitable environment for parents and children as the former live out their retirement years being cared for and in comfort. Talk to us today.