As an elder law attorney, I frequently advise adult children who suddenly realize that they must step in to help their aging parents. Perhaps mom is not making sound decisions regarding her medical care, or Dad is showing signs of early dementia. Unfortunately, many seniors are reluctant to plan for this possibility or even discuss it with their close family members. When families delay talking about these matters, the results can be stressful and costly. Failing to preplan can have serious consequences both while an elder is still alive and after they have died. Unfortunately, once a family realizes they urgently need legal documents to help an aging loved one, it's often too late.