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Speaking to parents about power of attorney and money issues

One of the great benefits of modern health care is people are living longer lives, which means British Columbia parents and their children can enjoy more time together. For some, however, an extended life goes hand in hand with diminished mental capacity. Even those who do not end up enduring full-blown dementia may find they lack the acuity they once had. For that reason, it is important for children to pay attention to their aging parents and watch for signs they may be losing the ability to manage their own affairs. If they are, it may be time to discuss making arrangements such as granting a power of attorney before matters get worse.

Researchers have found that the average person begins to lose the ability to deal with new information at age 60. The aging individual may be unaware of the change, so it is important for children to watch for warning signs. These signs may include difficulty grasping simple monetary ideas, struggling with basic math, omitting important information on documents and forms, or simply taking longer to complete routine financial tasks.

Introducing a topic of this nature may not be comfortable for everyone. Experts recommend easing into the subject by using a recent example from the news or from one's own life as a starting point. It is important to make it clear that the intention is to try and offer protection from scams, or making less than ideal choices, and not an attempt to take control of their life.

No one wants to give up their independence, or admit their mind isn't quite what it once was. It is important, however, to make provision for the day when it is no longer possible to make important decisions without assistance. Helping parents to gain peace of mind is a noble effort and no one should feel badly about setting the ball rolling. The professionals at a British Columbia law firm who regularly handle estate matters can help to create a power of attorney, or any other advanced planning directive an individual might wish to have.

Source: Canadian Business, "Signs your aging parents need help managing their finances", Jan. 4, 2017

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