The parents don’t want help paying the bills, even if the bills are always late and shudder at the suggestion of putting their children on their bank accounts. They feel their adult children are being too pushy and trying to take control of their lives. They fear losing their independence and ultimately having to go into a nursing home.
In contrast, the adult child feels the parent isn’t thinking clearly anymore, and believes the parent simply refuses to listen to reason. The adult child feels the parent/child roles have been reversed and the parent should be forced into a different way of life for their own good.
This is a very common scenario. The parent’s fierce sense of independence escalates and the child simply doesn’t understand the parent’s need to feel independent. It is difficult to find a happy medium. Unless the child seeks to declare the parent incapacitated through a court proceeding, the child has to realize that in the eyes of the law, the parent may make their own decisions. However, it is important for the adult child to watch the situation carefully and not simply get fed up and leave the parent-to-their own devices. Is the parent, through their attempt to fiercely prove their independence, making decisions which are improper? We have seen the elderly make decisions to show they are still in charge, only to result in disaster; decisions like entering into unnecessary reverse mortgages, purchasing inappropriate annuities and bringing in roommates who turn out to be financial abusers. The adult children must find a way to monitor the situation, yet not be too controlling. Assisting does not mean taking over against their parent’s will. Too many children have simply given up when their help is not accepted. The elderly years can be as tumultuous as the teenage years. The elderly need assistance with respect and not made to feel like a child, even if the parent and child roles have truly been reversed.
Jane M. McNamara, Esq. limits her practice to probate, trust administration, estate planning, conservatorships, Medi-Cal eligibility and asset protection and legal issues involving seniors and the disabled.
For more information Jane M. McNamara may be reached at 661-287-3260.
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