For those of us involved as care providers for someone having difficulty handling his/her own affairs, whether it's a family member or not, requires that we have the legal authority to do what's in that person's best interest.
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 attorney in fact) to have the powers specified in the POA document. it must be signed by the principal while he or she is sound of mind and not incapacity.
Talk to an elder law 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 clearly communicate their intentions and no incapacity.
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. It is important to obtain a POA before incapacity.
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 with no incapcity, it is smart 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 opportune 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.
Call a Thousand Oaks Attorney experienced with incapacity and Powers of Attorney. Book a Call
Reference: Tyron Daily Bulletin (March 7, 2022) “How to get power of attorney for a loved one”