Family conflict can become exacerbated when a parent ages. Children who have disagreed or fought with their parents now threaten to take control of their assets. Sometimes the parent knows that if one child gets this power they will not act in the parent’s best interest. How can you protect yourself?
The most important step is talking to an attorney while you can still clearly designate who you wish to act. Start by naming someone as your Medical Power of Attorney to make any decisions regarding medical treatment, in case you can’t make them for yourself. Discuss with the person you want to designate what your wishes are about health care and whether you want to have extreme measures taken, if they were to become necessary. Make sure they understand that their role is to carry out your wishes and they must be prepared to make some hard decisions.
When it comes to financial decisions, you can designate a power of attorney or set up a trust. A revocable trust can be more protective and allows you to provide detailed provisions for how you want your assets used. Having the proper documents should avoid the need for a guardianship, but you can also designate who you would prefer as guardian, as well as the person(s) you do NOT want to be appointed if a guardianship were needed for any reason.
It is scary to think about losing the ability to manage our own affairs, but it is comforting to know that we can designate who and what we want ahead of time and these directives will be followed if there ever comes a time when we cannot act for ourselves. You may not be able to change your child’s personality or behavior, but you can protect yourself.