With around five million Americans living with some form of age-related dementia, it is important that loved ones know how to seek the proper financial aid for them, and are aware of the possible financial threats to those who are suffering.
Often times questions regarding one’s ability to handle their finances will occur when the family learns of their loved one’s age-related dementia, and handling regular billing can become difficult for them.
One’s attorney will make sure that the loved one who is stepping in for the elder client, is an ethical fit to assist or take over one’s finances.
An important first step in this process is determining one’s “Financial Capacity”.
Financial Capacity is determined by a combined effort of the medical and legal fields and is defined as, “a medical-legal construct that represents the ability to independently manage one’s financial affairs in a manner consistent with one’s personal self-interest and values.”
Having a clinical determination of diminished capacity plays a large part when seeking legal advice on assisting or taking over an elder loved one’s finances.
Here are a few ways one can go about helping an elder with age-related dementia when dealing with their finances.
-A joint checking account; this will allow you to pay bills on their behalf and allow you access to oversee their account. However, creditors of either party can seek satisfaction of debt from the funds in the account.
-A convenience account; this is similar to a joint checking account but offers the protection from creditors of the person helping the elder client.
Another solution is Financial Power of Attorney. This is a legally binding document that will allow an appointed person to stand in and have financial responsibility for their loved one.
Whichever route, the client, family, and attorney find most suitable, it is very important that the elder client is always heard, and their wishes are met to the best of everyone’s ability involved.
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