As a person ages, it can be difficult for their family to determine what, if any, actions should be taken to assist them with their daily needs. This is especially true if an elderly person begins to show signs of dementia or other age-related diseases. Some in the field of elder care refer to the earliest stages of dementia as "the grey zone." In such cases, families in Texas sometimes turn to guardianship alternatives such as a power of attorney.
When seeking guardianship alternatives, families often first assess the degree of difficulty that their elderly relative is facing. Does the person have difficulty managing their finances? Or is the impairment such that the individual requires daily intervention and assistance? The answers to such questions can help a family to make an informed decision about the level of care needed.
When an elderly person cannot handle their financial needs on their own, a power of attorney may be used. This estate planning tool can allow a person who has been appointed as a power of attorney to take control of the checkbook, bank and investment accounts of a person who is unable to manage them. From writing checks to pay the bills to buying groceries, a power of attorney can help an elderly individual control spending and help protect him or her from fraud and scammers.
Regardless of the estate planning tools used by a family to assist a loved one suffering from dementia or impairment, the intent is most often to make that individual's life easier and more comfortable. In fact, having a trusted party act as a power of attorney can be one of several guardianship alternatives that can help to protect assets from people who want to take advantage of their altered decision-making abilities. For families in Texas there are many different alternatives to guardianship to be considered before deciding on the best path to take.
Source: forbes.com, ""The Grey Zone": How to Handle Partially Incompetent Aging Parents," Carolyn Rosenblatt, Sept. 5, 2012