When a Power of Attorney is Needed

As adults, we become accustomed to not only caring for ourselves, but caring for those around us. Our children need our guidance daily, and we often help our parents with chores and undertakings that may be beyond their scope of understanding or expertise. However, there comes a point where we are no longer just helping our parents, but we are caring for them in a similar way we are caring for our minor children. When this point occurs, it may be necessary to draft and execute a Power of Attorney. Here are some signs that can help you determine when the time is right to put one in place.

Purpose of the Power of Attorney

The Power of Attorney I, a legal tool that is used in Estate planning. This tool allows the principal to appoint another person the rights associated with handling financial issues.  This individual is often called the “attorney-in-fact.”  This attorney –in-fact will gain the responsibility to keep complete financial records of all transactions he enters relating to the principal. Unless the power of attorney document requests, the principal requests, or a reimbursement is made, the attorney-in-fact does not have any responsibility, under this document to render an accounting. However, the document does declare that any financial actions taken by the attorney-in-fact are binding to the principal.

Types of Power of Attorney Documents

There are several types of power of attorney documents that may be drafted, depending on the needs of the principal. First, there is a durable power of attorney.  The durable power of attorney does not break if the principal becomes incapacitated or incompetence. This is a common type of power of attorney document drafted to aid those dealing with aging parents.

Another option is the general power of attorney.  This document allows the attorney-in-fact to handle any and all issues relating to the principal’s estate. These include issues such as paying bills, selling a home, dealing with creditor, or any financial issues affecting the estate of the principal.

In contrast, a limited power of attorney only provides the attorney-in-fact the right to handle specific issues within the estate. This type of power of attorney document may specify that it only grants the attorney-in-fact the right to write checks relating to the payment of household bills, or the right to sell a home. Anything outside of the specified purpose would not be allowed under a limited power of attorney document.

Finally, there is a health care directive power of attorney.  This document is actually quite separate from a power of attorney, but was included in the provisions of a power of attorney in 2013 to limit consumer confusion. A health care directive dictates who has the right to make medical decisions, including, but not limited to, medical treatments, resuscitation, and medications, for the principal. It also may dictate how these issues should be handled. For instance, should the patient be unable to make a decision whether he wants chemotherapy for cancer treatment, the health care directive may dictate that.

Should you find yourself in a position that you need to explore your options relating to a power of attorney for your loved ones, contact the WL Brown Law Office at 612-309-9184 for an expert’s advice and help to ease your worry.

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