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District of Columbia elder care: Focusing on powers of attorney

As adult children in the District of Columbia are faced with caring for their elderly parents, it may be time to discuss powers of attorney with them. As part of elder care, powers of attorney can be invaluable. They will allow adult children to handle their parents' affairs in the event they become incapacitated or are in some other way unable to make decisions for themselves.

Broaching this subject with a parent can be delicate. No ones likes to feel they are being made to give up control of their lives. It may be crucial to ensure that the parent understands that a power of attorney would only be used under certain, limited circumstances.

Further, the parent will have the right to be as general or specific as he or she feels comfortable with. For a parent that has total trust in an adult child, the power of attorney may be relatively generous and allow the adult child to conduct any and all financial affairs on behalf of his or her parent when the circumstances warrant the use of the power of attorney. On the other hand, the parent may limit the adult child by only giving access to a checking account for the sole purpose of paying bills. Whatever the trust level and needs of the parent, a power of attorney can be drafted to fit those needs.

It is not always easy for an aging parent to admit that he or she may need help. When making a plan to deal with elder care in the District of Columbia, this may be an important factor to consider. It could help to let the parents know that the adult children only want to make sure that their parents are cared for in any and all circumstances.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, A guide to power of attorney for your parents, Harper Willis, Oct. 8, 2013

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