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Power of attorney: Sensitive but important topic to discuss

It can be hard to watch the people whom we love grow older, especially when aging leads to health troubles and issues like dementia. Seeing a parent or other loved one's physical and mental capacity diminish can be difficult emotionally, but emotions should not get in the way of trying to protect the best interests of a parent's estate -- their hard work. 

As people age, many become unable to make the best financial, business, and estate planning decisions. In order to protect the very things that a person might have worked his or her whole life for, it's important for a family to consider designating a financial power of attorney over someone's estate.

Taking a proactive approach in this legal matter is wise, though the subject should be brought up with an aging or ailing party in a sensitive, compassionate matter. Discussing the importance of assigning a power of attorney early most likely means the person will choose an appropriate POA while in a healthy state. Also, if a POA isn't designated and the person becomes incapacitated, then interested parties would likely wind up in court to determine how to handle an estate. This can be a stressful and time consuming process during a time when emotions are already running high. 

A person's estate, their property, assets and business matters are not just material things. They are likely where someone's passion, sweat, time, worry and hopes went into. Those things can make up a chunk of someone's legacy. Designating a power of attorney who understands that and who understands the person's desires regarding his or her estate is an invaluable way to respect a loved one's life and legacy.

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