Tyron Daily Bulletin’s recent article entitled “How to get power of attorney for a loved one” says the person granting you that power, known as the “principal,” must designate you as the agent (also known as an attorney in fact) to have the powers specified in the POA document. It must be signed by the principal while they are sound of mind.
Talk to an attorney to understand what your state laws say about powers of attorney. Note that you cannot get a POA if someone is already incapacitated because the principal of the POA must be able to sufficiently comprehend what a POA document represents and the effects of signing it. He or she must communicate their intentions.
The agent of a POA must always act in the best interests of the principal. This can include managing the principal’s financial interests or overseeing the principal’s healthcare and may make decisions about their care and treatment.
There are several things as POA that you cannot do:
- Create a contract to get paid for personal services provided to the principal
- Vote in place of the principal
- Create or alter the principal’s will
- Designate another as the agent on behalf of the principal; and
- Do anything that is not in the principal’s best interests.
Even if the principal is in good health now, it is wise to plan for potential challenges. You never know when an injury or illness may take away that person’s capacity to manage finances or make important decisions about medical care. The most suitable time to start considering power of attorney is before a parent or loved one requires any caregiving.
Talk with an elder law attorney about establishing a POA. Remember, the principal must be part of the conversation and cannot be mentally incapacitated.
Reference: Tyron Daily Bulletin (March 7, 2022) “How to get power of attorney for a loved one.”
Suggested Key Terms: Elder Law Attorney, Estate Planning, Power of Attorney, Incapacity