About three months ago a client, Tami, called me in a panic. I was the agent for her first home purchase a few years ago and we’d become friendly –getting together for a glass of wine every few months.

It must have been a while since I’d checked in, because I was surprised to hear the gigantic news that her mom had been diagnosed with cancer. Note to self: Check in more often!

For Tami and her mom, things reached critical level quickly. Her mother was advised that she had only weeks to live and was almost bed-ridden already. Tami was calling me because she needed to get a Power of Attorney for her mom done FAST. Bills were piling up and she needed immediate access to her mom’s bank accounts. Tami never imagined how overwhelming it would be to juggle all these responsibilities while trying to provide loving care for her mom. Tami thought she could just walk in to her mom’s bank with a doctor’s note and be given instant access to the accounts. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. The bank did not accept a doctor’s note, proof of the same last name, or a birth certificate in order to grant the access Tami needed to pay for mom’s expenses.

Here she was, at the eleventh hour, searching for a good lawyer to turn to for help. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for people to check with their parents about legal documents such as a Power of Attorney, and to have these documents in place so your own children can step in if you are incapacitated. Please don’t wait for tragedy or illness to strike. I promise you, it will be the last thing you’ll want to have to deal with at such a critical time. Be prepared and contact an attorney who can handle all the documents so you can focus on loving your parents during a crisis!

Contributed by: Annie Baker, Realtor at Prestige Realty and founder, Next Chapter Gurus