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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Being a Caregiver Includes Financial Responsibilities

We have all heard and understand that it is often the case that as our parents age, we become the parents. We are often tasked with making medical decisions and other life-related decisions. Even something as simple as when mom or dad stops driving often becomes a decision for us to make.

All of it takes an emotional toll both on us as caregivers and on our older loved ones who often fight against giving up that control.

One of those areas in which we may have to step in is financial. From things as simple as balancing the checkbook or paying the monthly bills to protecting our older loved ones from scam artists trying to separate them from their estate, it is a challenging task.

While identifying a family member to have power of attorney authority and identifying a health care surrogate go a long way to solving some of these issues, sometimes it reaches a point where a younger, responsible family member takes over the checkbook and credit card. It is certainly a discussion none of us wants to have. But putting it off can cause problems with devastating financial impacts.

Here are some tips that may make that process and transition a little easier.

 1. Balance out Safety, Finances and Health

An important aspect of taking care of an older family member is deciding who is going to be ultimate decision maker in the family. Sometimes geography offers a logical choice. But when it doesn’t, honestly look for the family member who is best suited to take on these roles with compassion and understanding.

 2. Ensure Safe Environment 

If your elder loved one is still living independently, make sure they are in a safe environment emotionally, physically and even financially.

 3. Protect Assets and Finances

 Since our older family members are a part of the most frequently targeted group for financial fraud, we need to make sure they are financially safe. A trusted family member or close friend must be designated to keep track of their finances and transactions.

 4. Use Resources

There are numerous resources available to help in this process. The starting point should be a qualified elder law attorney who can guide you through the legal process dealing with guardianship, estate plans, trusts and wills. 


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