Help Protect the Assets of Your Elderly
Parent or Spouse
by Shane Flait (2013)
An elderly parent or spouse may have
solely owned and controlled his assets
for the benefit of you or a spouse. But
his sudden death or incapacity can
prevent those assets from being used by
the very people he wanted to help.
Hereís whatís at jeopardy and how to
quickly remedy the situation.
unexpected loss of control may cause
inaccessibility of his assets
Suppose youíre caring for your aging
parent who owns everything in his or her
name only. If he dies, his assets become
part of his estate. You canít access any
of his bank accounts to pay for the
funeral expenses. And this is especially
true if he has no valid will.
Or suppose your spouse who likewise
controls everything in his name becomes
seriously ill and unable to communicate.
access his account because it's solely
under his name.
Or, suppose you canít afford to take
care of an aging parent and put him in a
nursing home. The funds deposited in his
bank accounts Ė which you donít have
access to Ė will be taken by the nursing
home as payment for providing shelter
and healthcare services. Thereís little
one can do once your parent in a nursing
home to protect assets in his name. His
assets and the income they generate will
be used to pay for the nursing home
facility before Medicaid will pick up
the cost for free.
These circumstances put the control of
your disabled or dead parentís or
spouseís assets in someone elseís hands.
And thatís probably not what your parent
or spouse would have wished.
loss of control of his assets so as to
maintain accessibility to assets
Because of emotional reasons itís common
to want to put off making even simple
financial arrangements for the
protection of a loved oneís assets. But
delaying to do so is unwise. Begin today
to eliminate the jeopardy that assets
and accounts solely in your love oneís
name are subject to.
Hereís what to do now:
Explain the jeopardy of leaving
assets solely in your love oneís
name to your loved one, then
Add your name to any bank account
that your elderly parent or spouse
Have an attorney draw up a durable
power of attorney for the finances
of your loved one
Initiate a durable power of attorney
for health care of your loved one in
case he or she becomes
Doing so will keep the control of his or
her assets in the family should he
become ill or die. Thatís because youíll
be able to use and control those assets
yourself to handle those situations that
will inevitably arise.
Setting up a living trust will keep your
loved one in charge, but allow you to
take over in case of death or illness.
Shane Flait is a writer and educator