If your loved one’s mental health declines, you may want to step in

Lynard C. Hinojosa

Your loved ones are getting older, and you know that it’s just a matter of time before they cannot make decisions for themselves any longer. One thing that you fear is that their loss could end up making them vulnerable to people who want to take advantage of them.

Your dad and mom already have wills in place, and their estate plans are fairly sound. However, they still have the ability to make changes. What you’ve noticed, though, is that your dad often doesn’t recognize you. It wouldn’t be reasonable for him to make changes now because he’s confused and unable to understand his decisions on certain days.

What can you do to protect your parents against being taken advantage of if they lose cognitive function?

One thing you may want to look into is talking with your parents’ doctors about testing or options to let you know exactly where they stand health-wise. You want to know if they are capable of making decisions or if they are confused by what they’re being told. You don’t want someone to manipulate them into changing their will or giving away assets; you want them to have their wishes carried out as they expected when they could understand.

A medical provider may let you know when your loved one should no longer be making decisions for themselves. At that point, you may want to look into who they have established as their power of attorney, so that person can support them with health or financial decisions. Your attorney can talk to you more about the steps to take if you want to protect your loved one in this kind of situation.




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