If you have elderly parents, you may want to encourage them to develop a comprehensive estate plan. After all, according to reporting from CNBC, 45% of Americans over the age of 55 do not have even a basic will. When preparing an estate plan, of course, your parents may also want to think about end-of-life matters.
Having a power of attorney allows your parents to retain some power over their health care during the final stages of their lives. With the right planning, your mother and father can also choose someone to make decisions for them if an injury or illness leads to their incapacitation. Still, you may wonder when it is too late for a person to create a binding power of attorney.
An adage about planting a tree
There is an adage that says while the optimal time to plant a fruit tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time to do so is now. For seniors who may believe they waited too long to take action, this notion can be instructive. Therefore, you may want to motivate your parents to plan for end-of-life care now.
A note about capacity
In theory, your parents can create a power of attorney at any time before their deaths. In practice, though, they may be running up against the clock. That is, for a power of attorney to be legally valid, your parents must be of sound mind when they create it. If your parents are suffering from dementia or another progressive disorder, they may have limited time to prepare a power of attorney.
Ultimately, if your parents continue to have control of their mental faculties, it is advisable to finish their end-of-life plans before they lose that control.