Families can grow together with brothers and sisters under the same roof. But as time goes by and aging parents must make tough decisions, things can get difficult with feuds developing. An estate planning attorney can help the family through these difficult times, according to a Faribault Daily News article “Attorney can smooth path for families making legal plans,”
The article tells of a reader who faced a problem from siblings when the parents wanted to create a power of attorney for financial and healthcare decisions. The difficulties came from siblings who live far away but felt as if they were not being included in their parents’ plans. For this particular family, one sibling lives 500 miles away and another lives 800 miles in the opposite direction. The one daughter who lives in the same community is the logical choice for power of attorney. What can be done?
The parent’s foresight in updating their estate plan and related legal documents is to be congratulated. The one adult child who lives in their community, is the best choice for power of attorney for medical and financial decisions, so they can quickly handle an emergency situation.
The parents have assigned the other two adult children as secondary POAs and everyone has already been informed that they will all receive equal shares in the estate. The out-of-town siblings should be happy at how fairly and expeditiously their parents are taking care of in these matters.
Adults need someone to be named to handle healthcare and financial decisions if they become incapacitated and need someone else to make decisions for them. Having power of attorney documents in place makes it much easier to have that agent take over any necessary tasks. Having a secondary agent (attorney-in-fact) designated provides a smooth transition if the primary is unable to act.
When someone chooses someone as a power of attorney because they don’t want to hurt any feelings, the result is often disastrous.
Some states also allow what is known as a “co-agent,” so that decisions are made together. But in an emergency, if the other person is not immediately present and time is an issue, this can lead to critical situations being unresolved.
One way to soften this kind of situation is to have the entire family meet with the estate planning attorney in a family meeting. With a professional who is not emotionally tied to the family dynamics, decisions can be explained, and cooler heads may prevail.
An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances and help smooth over family issues, if necessary.
Reference: Faribault Daily News (August 28, 2018) “Attorney can smooth path for families making legal plans”