If you have learned that your parent is a hoarder, you may be confused about what you need to do to assist them with the situation. For example, you may wonder whether or not you need a financial power of attorney to death with a hoarding parent.
What Is Hoarding?
Before diving into whether or not you need a financial power of attorney to deal with matters associated with a hoarding parent, you need to understand the reality of hoarding. If you are like most people, you have a lot of understandable misconceptions about hoarders and hoarding.
The most important fact you need to understand about hoarding and hoarders is that it is a recognized mental health condition. Hoarding has been classified as a mental health condition since the beginning of the 21st century.
What Is a Financial Power of Attorney?
A financial power of attorney is a legal instrument that designates a person to tend to the financial affairs of another individual. A financial power of attorney typically is created to cover a situation in which the person who makes the instrument is unable to tend to his or her own financial affairs.
There are two basic types of financial powers of attorney. First, there is what is known as durable financial power of attorney. A durable financial power of attorney takes effect when an individual loses his or her capacity to make major life decisions on his or her own. Second, a nondurable financial power of attorney is one based on an instrument that takes effect once the individual executes it. A person might want this type of financial power of attorney for a host of reasons even when that individual has the ability to make decisions on his or her own.
State of Your Parent’s Mental Health
As was just noted, hoarding disorder is a recognized mental health disorder. Hoarding disorder oftentimes is accompanied by or associated with some other type of mental health condition like depression or anxiety. PTSD is another type of mental health condition that oftentimes is found to be associated with hoarding disorder.
The mere fact that a parent is afflicted with hoarding disorder accompanied by depression, PTSD, or anxiety disorder more generally doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is not capable of making financial decisions on his or her own. However, identification of hoarding disorder does constitute a red flag that necessitates whether or not a parent really is capable of dealing with his or her finances on his or her own.
Voluntary Creation of Power of Attorney
When it is discovered that your parent has an issue with hoarding, you may discover that the finances of your father or mother are in some degree of disorder. You certainly can visit with your parent about establishing a temporary financial power of attorney. The power of attorney provides you with the authority to aid your parent in getting his or her financial house back in order.
A competent person has the ability to create a financial power of attorney if he or she desires. Such a power of attorney is revocable as the person who created it desires.
Bear in mind that oftentimes a hoarder will be defensive when the hoarding behavior is revealed. This defensiveness has the potential to carry over into other areas as well. This includes matters dealing with finances. Indeed, financial issues are very likely to be hot spot issues for a parent afflicted with hoarding disorder.
Establishment of a Guardianship and Conservatorship
If a parent refuses to pursue the establishment of a financial power of attorney, and real issues exist in regard to financial matters, the need for a conservatorship or guardianship and conservatorship may exist. In simple terms, a conservatorship is established by court order. A conservatorship involves a court order that designates a person to take charge of the financial affairs of a person who cannot do so on their own.
A guardianship and conservatorship is a broader type of court order. In a guardianship and conservatorship the court designates a person not only to handle the financial affairs of a person who cannot do so on his or her own but also gives that designee authority to manage other aspects of that individual’s life.
Before a court grants a guardianship and conservatorship, a medical or mental health professional needs to attest to the fact that your parent is not capable of handling his or her affairs. You cannot just make an allegation that this is occurring. Supporting evidence must come from experts like these professionals.
Absent this type of authority, your parent ultimately has the ability to make decisions regarding addressing a hoarding issue at his or her home. This includes the decision to retain the services of a professional hoarder property cleanup service like Eco Bear.