It’s a common problem for families when a parent in charge of finances develops cognitive impairment and needs help managing the family trust and his own spending. It can be financially dangerous with a stubborn parent. Forbes’ recent article asks, “What Can You Do When A Stubborn Aging Parent Refuses To Give Up Control?” The article explains what it took one family to get an aging parent out of the position as trustee and to permit the successor, the adult daughter, to take over.
The family saw signs of dementia and a family member’s financial abuse.
The trust provided that the parent could be removed as trustee if two physicians declared him to be incapacitated for handling his own finances. In that case, a judge’s decision wasn’t required. The doctors verified that the elderly parent was incapacitated to safely handle his money. However, all this takes time.
A parent’s failure to listen to reason and their stubborn refusal to resign as trustee when asked can cost his children dearly. In that situation, a family may have to engage an attorney to resolve the problem.
Remember that even if your aging parents are fine, there’s no time like the present to ask them to review their estate planning documents with you. Look at the terms that define what happens in the event of “incapacity.” Be sure that all of you understand what would happen if impaired parents are unwilling to give up financial control and you have to institute the proscribed process to remove control from them.
Those who are named in trust as the “successor trustee,” must know what that means and how much responsibility is involved. The family needs to recognize that financial elder abuse is a huge problem in our country, and family members are frequently the abusers. If you see abuse, and your elderly parent can’t resist the pressure to give money to any dishonest person, our elder law attorneys can give you worthwhile advice on the best approach, as well as the law.
Lastly, in the event, your aging parent never created an estate plan, work with our experienced estate planning attorneys, and ask your parent to get going for the family’s sake. You don’t want to live through the situation described above, with no legal means to stop an impaired parent from financial ruin.
Submit our online form to request a consultation with one of our experienced estate planning and elder law attorneys. They can create a comprehensive estate plan for your aging parents, or review an existing plan to help avoid the scenario above.