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Acting as a personal representative for aging parents

Mental keenness begins to gradually decline after age 60, but most seniors do not realize that it is even happening. Studies show that as a person ages, the ability to complete complicated tasks weakens, especially with financial management. In Texas, it is important to begin speaking with senior parents about acting as their personal representative sooner rather than later. 

Acting as a personal representative for aging parents can be a daunting task. Experts agree that important financial choices should be addressed while seniors are still able to make sound decisions. If aging parents may not be open to sharing financial information, stress the importance of locating significant documents in the event of incapacitation. Elders tend to lose the ability to trust, and bad decisions and advice from outsiders could soon follow.

Most seniors are reluctant to hand over the purse strings to anyone, including their children. Persuading them early on to allow monitoring of accounts may help identify any problems that may surface. Check spending habits and review account statements. Over time, it may be as simple as them handing over the reins because they no longer want to deal with bill paying and tax information.

Relieving aging parents of financial burden may be as easy as a durable power of attorney, which dictates detailed actions such as bill paying. In Texas, having this document in place in the event a parent becomes incapacitated is critical. To avoid lengthy court hearings to appoint a personal representative, it may be wise to seek the advice and expertise of a seasoned estate administration attorney.

Source: kiplinger.com, "How to Provide Financial Help to Aging Parents", Eileen Ambrose, Sept. 24, 2017

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