Fairly often, I meet with an adult child who’s attempting to help their aging parent with some financial or medical issue… for example, communicate with a mortgage company, file an insurance claim, talk with a doctor about a medical diagnosis, and so on. You name it – the issues are endless. The child is doing his/her absolute best to help mom or dad, but they’ve come to realize they don’t have the legal authority to do so.
Thankfully, most of the time, I can help by preparing documents we call Advanced Directives. Advanced Directives allow mom to appoint someone (most often a family member or trusted friend) to act on her behalf. They include (1) a Power of Attorney, which grants an agent the authority to handle financial matters, and (2) a Designation of Health Care Surrogate, which gives a surrogate the right to communicate with doctors or make medical decisions. In many instances, without an Advanced Directive in place, the only way to help dad is to initiate a guardianship proceeding, an expensive, time-consuming (but wholly avoidable) legal court case.
Sometimes, however, it’s just too late, and mom no longer has the mental capacity to sign the Advanced Directives. Sometimes, dad’s medical condition has quickly worsened, making it physically impossible for him to sign. That’s why it’s so very important to get Advanced Directives in place before they’re needed, not afterward!
If I can help you or your loved ones by preparing Advanced Directives, please contact me at (813) 244-7758 or Ross@RossSpanoLaw.com.