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The cognitive and physical impairment many seniors face can place them at serious risk of financial exploitation if a malicious party manages to gain control over their finances. This is why it is important to establish who has medical and financial decision making power in the event you or a loved one in Ohio become too infirm to make those decisions. In some cases, you may even want to split that power among multiple individuals.

One thing to do early on is to make sure an undesired party does not move in to take over you or your relative’s finances. As Consumer Reports points out, it is important to set up all the appropriate documents, like a will or a power of attorney document, that names and empowers proxies to act in the event a person becomes incapacitated. Remember that you have the power to name who cares for you or your family.

It is natural for many parents to simply invest financial and medical decisions into the hands of their eldest child. However, any parent should be certain that they are handing these responsibilities to the best person for the job. In some families, the oldest child is not as competent in financial matters as other siblings. Sometimes the oldest child may simply not have the parents’ best interests at heart.

To minimize the risk that your proxy will abuse the powers of the position, you can consider breaking up duties among separate individuals. Parents may give medical decision powers to one child or anyone that they trust, and then delegate financial decision duties to another person. Some people might also choose to create a “council” of multiple powers of attorney that all receive the same information and act together.

According to AARP, you can set up your powers of attorney to act in different ways. You could empower each power of attorney to make decisions alone. You can also require your powers of attorney to come to decisions unanimously or by a majority vote. By setting up multiple agents in this way, you can also have one power of attorney keep an eye on what another is doing and head off malicious action. In essence, you create a system of checks and balances.