It is an unfortunate fact for residents of Detroit and elsewhere that not everyone is able to live to old age with full mental capacities. Numerous conditions, including dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke, can reduce an elderly person’s mental acuity and ability to make informed decisions. In many of these cases, the responsibility falls to the adult children to take care of their parents’ financial interests.

AgingCare points out that senior citizens who have a degenerative cognitive condition may be unable to take care of their estate planning needs or understand the documents they are being asked to sign. Because those who prey on vulnerable people could easily take advantage of a mentally incapacitated adult, those suffering from advanced mental conditions are not legally capable of signing wills or other legal documents that could put them at risk of financial harm.

According to Alzheimers.net, the adult children of mentally incapacitated parents are usually the ones to make sure they have the proper physical, medical and financial care during this stage of their life. Gaining a legal guardianship of a mentally compromised parent is one way to protect his or her interests. Having legal guardianship allows the adult child to make financial decisions and other important choices on behalf of the parent. Another method is to set up a trust that addresses their long-term care needs. A trust provides specific instructions on how the trustee is meant to distribute the money in the trust, usually funded by the parents’ own estate, to take care of the beneficiary, who is in this case the incapacitated parent.

It is never an easy situation when it comes to taking care of an aging parent, especially since parents were once the providers and caregivers. However, trusts and guardianships may give adult children peace of mind in knowing that their loved ones are protected and taken care of in their final years.