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Understanding someone's reticence to give up financial control

On of the matters of estate and financial planning that can come up in later years is whether someone still has the capacity to manage all of their own finances. While this is certainly a realistic consideration in many cases, it can be a difficult consideration for many older individuals who are facing what they perceive as a growing loss of independence in their later years.

If you are a loved one who wants the best for someone else in your life, pushing heavily in one direction or another is not always the best way to approach such matters. Someone who might be put in a fiduciary position -- whether as a trustee or a power of attorney -- must be able to take the other person's wishes and needs into account with regard to every decision. And that includes the decision about giving up financial independence.

One of the best ways to approach such a situation is actually to stop first and really consider the perspective of the other person. How would you feel if you were in a position that might require you to give someone else control over your bank account, for example? By understanding the loss that can be associated with such a scenario, you can approach it with more empathy.

While it can seem that someone is just being stubborn, don't forget that you are dealing with someone who has likely been handling one's own finances for decades. The individual have been making his or her own decisions all of his or her adult life. Suddenly being told this person is no no longer able to make those decisions can feel like a slap in the face, which is why you should approach these discussions with love and compassion. Getting a third party involved, such as a New York lawyer who can help with the details, is an important step, but you should have the personal conversations first.

Source: National Caregivers Library, "Delicate Financial Situations," accessed March 18, 2016

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