Elder Planning: Avoid Disputes

When it comes time to take care of the elder parent or someone who is chronically ill, helping them with their financial planning can create a new set of complications that can put everyone into a family feud. To help avoid this situation it is important to keep an open line of communication with everyone involved.

The first task to accomplish is figuring out who is the client. If the parent is the client, then they must give permission to add others on the account before sharing any information. If the client is unable to do this, then the task falls to the person who holds the durable power of attorney. Only they have the power of take actions on behalf of the client. By law, only the people list as able to receive information will be who is communicated with on a regular basis.

In many cases, this creates a family dispute. There is many reasons that this situation can turn into a family dispute, including problems already existing from childhood, jealousy or suspicions, resentment, etc. The problem arises when someone without authority on the account calls for information. They then have to be directed to another member of the family to get answers. This can only escalate the dispute, but it is important to remember that the person calling could have many devious intentions. Not everyone will, but by thinking that way, it helps to keep a perspective.

This tends to be a volatile situation. Emotions can get out of hand and what, under normal circumstances, would not be a big deal is not is now the only important thing. Carefully planning personal financial arrangements and talking about them ahead of time can help alleviate much of the tension during an already stressful time. Make sure everything is in writing and is clearly stated.