Since the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic, people have become more aware of the need for a power of attorney should one become incapacitated. But it begs the question: how to obtain a power of attorney for your parent? 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.
Talk to an elder law attorney so 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.
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 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 how to obtain a power of attorney for your parent. Remember, the principal must be part of the conversation and cannot be mentally incapacitated. If you would like to read more about powers of attorney, please visit our previous posts.
Reference: Tyron Daily Bulletin (March 7, 2022) “How to get power of attorney for a loved one”
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