Power of Attorney Over my Parents
My process is to ask why do you think you need a power of attorney?
This is an important starting point because it will guide our discussion. Are you concerned about health, finances or both? Is there a third person about whom you have concerns, such as a sibling or maybe your 80-year-old Dad's new girlfriend?
Can you "get" power over your Dad's health or finances? Well, no. Dad can "give" you the power to manage his health care or finances to you, but you cannot "take" the power without his consent. This leads us to the question of who is my client. The answer is of course, your Dad is my client. I will work with him to carry out his desires and wishes. Often I draft two different powers of attorneys so as to separately deal with financial matters, health and end of life decisions. You are an important part of the process and are welcome to participate in these discussions.
It is important to get powers of attorney completed before aging or dementia becomes severe. Can you be granted a power of attorney if your Dad is mentally incompetent? The answer is "No". A guardianship proceeding may be required appointing you as his guardian. This is an expensive and time-consuming process. You can readily see why it is unwise to delay.
-Donald Lowrey, Esq.
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