If you have family members that are growing older or have a loved one with diminished ability to care for themselves, you may need to consider a power of attorney. But what is a power of attorney? And when is it appropriate to consider for yourself or your loved ones?
Broadly speaking, a power of attorney is sometimes a legal document permitting someone else to act on your behalf in a legal or financial capacity. This means they can pay your bills for you, access your bank accounts to withdraw money for you, and (if necessary) represent you in court. While a power of attorney can be limited to representation in specific circumstances or for a specific duration, they are often used to broadly transfer legal and financial control of one person’s affairs to someone else, particularly where it concerns elderly people with diminishing cognitive abilities.
The power of attorney is an important legal tool, because it allows people to have their important legal and financial affairs taken care of by someone they trust when they are not able to take care of it themselves. Whether it’s because a person is temporarily incapacitated due to an injury or sickness, or due to a long-term decline in health, or due to some other unusual circumstance, it’s important to know your affairs are in the hands of someone you can trust.
The danger of the power of attorney, however, lies in this same utility. If you transfer your power of attorney to someone who is not trustworthy, they can easily take advantage of the situation to enrich themselves at your expense. They can go on a spending spree on your dime, or make legal decisions that can cost you time, money or property. That’s why it is essential to make sure you transfer your authority to someone you know you can trust.
If you or a loved one are dealing with legal issues related to forming a durable power of attorney, or any other issue related to elder law, you’ll need specialized legal advice. The attorneys at Hobson-Williams, P.C. are skilled in all aspects of elder law, and are dedicated to representing clients with diligence and compassion. To speak to an attorney or to schedule a consultation, call 866-825-1LAW.