6 Common Reasons For Seniors To Consider A Power Of Attorney

Powers of Attorney are all about authority. When you sign a Power of Attorney (“POA”), you are authorizing someone else to make decisions for you when you can no longer participate due to age or incapacity. Powers of attorney are not just for elderly, but here are a few reasons aging adults need to set up a power of attorney:

  1. Financial responsibilities
    If your aging relative has a hard time staying on top of financial obligations, or is in danger of overspending their savings, it may be time to establish a financial power of attorney. Common signs that it’s time include unopened mail, overdue bills, duplicate checks, and fraudulent requests for funds.
  2. Alzheimer’s disease
    It’s vital to set up a power of attorney for an elderly parent with dementia before they experience significant cognitive decline. If you’re starting to see the signs of dementia, act immediately. Once deemed mentally incapacitated, a power of attorney is no longer an option and a judge will be required to appoint a conservator and guardian. 
  3. Upcoming surgery or medical emergency
    Invasive surgeries can lead to complications. A power of attorney for medical decisions ensures that a loved one’s wishes will be respected in case of emergency.
  4. Planned travel
    Sometimes, a POA is established out of convenience, rather than medical necessity. If seniors are traveling in retirement, they may want someone at home able to cash incoming checks and handle bills. We also see this when parents of young children leave on vacation without their kids for the first time.
  5. Medical diagnosis
    A senior with a terminal diagnosis may want to establish a power of attorney to ensure their wishes are met when they become incapacitated or too sick to make health care decisions.
  6. Unstable family relationships
    It’s common for adult children to fight about a parent’s care, especially if they disagree about finances or end-of-life decisions. A power of attorney clearly designates who’s responsible for upholding the senior’s wishes, and can block disputing members from intervening.