As tough as it is to think about, none of us is as young as we used to be – our parents included.  Many of us have parents who are hale and hearty and more than capable of taking care of themselves and their finances.

For some, though, it may be beginning to look like Mom and Dad need help – more help than they used to, anyway.  Maybe you’ve seen overdraft notices from the bank or past-due notices from creditors.  In some of those cases, it’s simple oversight.  In others, however, it can be a sign that those who once held our hands and guided us through now in need a helping hand of their own.  Bounced checks, duplicate payments, missing whole payment cycles – all these can be signs that help is needed.

If your parents or grandparents need this kind of help, do they have the right kind of estate plan in place to assure that you (or the person of their choice) can step in to assist when needed?

There is a good article on the Wall Street Journal site about just how difficult, but important, it is to take notice of when our parents and grandparents need our help managing finances.

It will never be a comfortable topic but it is one we ignore at our peril.  At the end of the day, a well-drafted power of attorney (at the least) and/or a well-designed revocable living trust (often a better, more thorough option) can make all the difference in the world as far as our ability to safeguard those who have always loved and looked after us.