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Gaining Power of Attorney: 4 Common Questions

There may come a time when your elderly parents or other loved ones are no longer able to make important decisions on their own due to advancing age or illness and you have to step up and make these choices in their stead. When this happens, you might want to ask a lawyer about how to gain power of attorney, along with a few questions that may help you understand the responsibilities of this position.

  1. What Does Power of Attorney Mean? 

When you gain power of attorney for a loved one, he or she will sign a legal document claiming that you will be acting on his or her behalf regarding a variety of decisions related to health, finances and personal property. In the document, you will probably be identified as the agent and your loved one the principal. While the document does not need to be filed in a court of law, you may have to have it notarized and identify banks and health care facilities of your new position.

  1. What Is Durable Power of Attorney? 

If your loved one understands that he or she may eventually lose the ability to make sound decisions on their own due to declining health, you may be asked to sign a durable power of attorney contract to prepare for this situation. For example, if your father is in the early stages of dementia, he might ask you to take on durable power of attorney when his physician deems him no longer mentally sound. This type of POA will last for as long as your father requires choices to be made in his place.

  1. Will I Gain Possession of Property? 

When you sign a power of attorney document, your loved one’s property does not transfer into your name. However, you may be allowed to choose what happens to it and care for items such as vehicles, real estate and other valuable assets when he or she no longer can. If your mother owns a classic car, for instance, the title remains in her name but you can likely make arrangements for its proper storage and care.

  1. Can I Collect Debts? 

If you wish to collect debts on behalf of your loved one, you may need to sign a special power of attorney document that specifically outlines that duty. You may want to include other singular rights that include the ability to sell or transfer property or make important health decisions to ensure your loved one gets the best care possible.

Gaining power of attorney can be a puzzling process, but you do not have to endure it alone. Speak to an attorney,  today for further information.