In my years of working with elders, and I shudder to think how many that has added up to, I’ve had the privilege of working with many elders. Some were people born before 1900, who invented things like plastic wrap and lunch bags, who participated in the creation of the first nuclear power plant, and who grew up during the great depression. Others told me they remembered the first television shows watched on a neighborhood black and white television.
In my profession as an elder law attorney I have the opportunity to speak with people about their final wishes almost every day. We then craft legal documents such as wills and trusts that comply with the law so that the individual’s assets are passed along as smoothly as possible.
You would be surprised how many times we get that call in our office. A Daughter or son calls and wants us to prepare a “simple” power of attorney for the parent. But it doesn’t always work out. Before anything else we ask, “Why is your parent not calling?” The answer to that question will tell us so much.
One day, a few years back, Nancy came to us to protect her mother, Betty’s, last $25,000. Betty, had been in a nursing home for three years and had used all of her savings except for that little bit. Nancy wanted to hold it back to use for Betty to buy clothes, a special chair and pay travel expenses so her disabled brother could visit Betty.
One of the misconceptions about the very frail and old is that they were all good, kind people. Sadly that is not necessarily the case. Mean people live long and get old every bit as much as nice people. Some of those people were bad parents; very bad parents.