Studies pertaining to Florida and nationwide indicate surprisingly that cognitive decline regarding sound financial decisions may begin to occur when one is in his or her 30s. It may not be noticeable, but the gradual toll may occur over the next several decades and may lead to a point where it is to some degree noticeable. Researchers have discovered that persons in their 70s, 80s and beyond can be capable of keeping up with the more basic tasks, such as paying bills, the mortgage and conducting most or all everyday living tasks. For these reasons, some preliminary elder law planning can help in meeting any future challenges.
Although taking care of bank accounts, basic light shopping, paying bills and the like may be perfectly manageable for most healthy people, there are some older persons who may become disabled or incompetent to handle most or all of their necessary tasks. The durable power of attorney will have been prepared when the will and other estate planning documents are done. This provides for a trusted family member, friend or institution to manage one’s daily and long-term financial tasks during an incapacity.
When making up the will and other estate planning documents, it is a recognized elder law planning technique to also prepare a spending plan for retirement. This is best done with the participation of family, including adult children, and any financial experts who are in one’s planning team. Persons who need to know should be informed of the plan, with access to it for monitoring for fraud.
The plan may include instructions on transferring responsibilities for financial tasks and for managing the money flow in the event of death or disability. Both spouses should be adept at running the household finances and should be able to transfer all tasks to one spouse if necessary. The elder law plan is a general framework consistent with Florida law for handling the gradual evolution of needs as aging takes its natural toll over the decades ahead. With such planning and people available to help, stressful or embarrassing times can be totally avoided, while money matters will continue to be managed for one’s own good.