Elder law: Using a power of attorney responsibly

Although virtually no one likes to think of becoming unable to make decisions on their own behalf, this is a reality that many people deal with each and every day. This makes having a living will and power of attorney a good idea for just about anybody in Georgia, but especially those who are well into their retirement years. However, those who are tasked with making important financial decisions may need to better understand their role and how elder law applies to their situation.

In general, when a person chooses someone as their financial power of attorney, it means that the person granting the power has an enormous amount of trust in that person. The weight of this responsibility is usually not lost on the person who is left to exercise that power of attorney. Keeping funds separate and organized can help relieve some of that stress by not only making things easier for that individual, but also by creating an atmosphere that is difficult for other family members to second-guess.

An easy way to do this is to establish a separate bank account in the name of the incapacitated family member. Although it might be possible to manage the loved one’s finances from a personal account, it can be extremely difficult to tediously comb through which funds were for personal use and which were for power of attorney responsibilities. This method can also make things easier when tax season rolls around.

Acting with a power of attorney on behalf of an elderly family member can be a rewarding but stressful experience. What most people in Georgia do not need is increased scrutiny and pressure from other friends and family members. By keeping finances separate and maintaining a basic knowledge of important elder law topics, these individuals can usually fulfill this role to the best of their abilities.

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