There are a variety of conditions, such as Alzheimer's, that can lead to a person experiencing significant memory impairment as they get older.
Memory loss can impact many things for an elderly individual. This includes their financial management abilities. Thus, memory loss is one of the things that can lead to an elderly individual needing to have their finances be taken over by someone else, such as a friend or family member.
When no advanced planning is done, such transitions can end up being quite tumultuous. Issues can arise regarding things like who financial control should be granted to, how best to make the transition, how best to ensure the transition doesn't leave the elderly individual vulnerable to financial abuse and how the person financial control ends up going to gets everything they need to get proper access to an elderly individuals' accounts. Lack of a clear plan on these kinds of issues can lead to a family facing complex legal matters in connection to such transitions, like particularly complex conservatorship proceedings.
Dealing with these complex issues and matters can be very tough on a family, particularly when already dealing with the emotionally difficult situation of an elderly relative losing their memory.
Thankfully, there are preparations individuals can make in advance to try to make transfers of financial control from themselves to others that might become necessary in the future due to things like memory loss go smoothly. For one, individuals can include documents in their estate plan mapping out what will happen if a financial control transition becomes necessary. One example of such a document is a power of attorney document specifying who financial control will be transferred to. Thus, through proper planning, major problems and disputes related to financial control transitions for elderly individuals may be able to be avoided.
When it comes to possible future transfers of control of finances, it is not just important to have a plan, it is important to have the right plan. Individual circumstances will heavily dictate what the right type of financial control transition plan would be for a person. Attorneys can help individuals with tailoring a financial control transition plan to their particular needs and wishes.
Source: CNBC, "How to deal with memory loss and finances," Ilana Polyak, Jan. 19, 2016