Power of attorney a useful tool

Natalia Vander Laan

Natalia Vander Laan

As parents age, their children face the difficult task of caring for elderly mothers and fathers. An important consideration is to ensure that the children can make decisions on behalf of their parents when their parents are no longer able to do so. One option is to obtain a power of attorney, which is a legal document that allows an individual to make decisions on behalf of another person.

A power of attorney is a legal arrangement in which an individual, known as the principal, grants another person, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, the authority to act on their behalf. This can include making decisions about finances, healthcare, and other important matters. A power of attorney can be broad or narrow in scope, depending on the needs of the principal.

For elderly parents and their children, a power of attorney can be a valuable tool to ensure that their wishes are respected and that their affairs are managed appropriately. It can also provide peace of mind for both the parents and their children, knowing that there is a plan in place for the future.

When obtaining a power of attorney, it is important to ensure that it is executed properly. The document must be signed by the principal while they are still capable of making decisions, and it must be notarized. It is also important to choose a trusted and responsible agent who is willing to act in the best interests of the principal.

Another consideration is the scope of the power of attorney. A general power of attorney gives the agent broad authority to act on behalf of the principal, while a limited power of attorney is more specific and only grants authority for certain tasks or situations. A durable power of attorney is one that remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated or unable to make decisions.

It is also important to understand that a power of attorney does not give the agent the right to make decisions that are contrary to the wishes of the principal. The agent is legally bound to act in the best interests of the principal and to follow their instructions to the best of their ability.

A power of attorney can be a useful tool for managing the affairs of elderly parents, but it is not a decision to be taken lightly. It is important to have open and honest discussions with parents about their wishes and to involve them in the decision-making process as much as possible. It may also be helpful to consult with an attorney to ensure that all legal requirements are met and that the power of attorney is executed properly.

In addition to a power of attorney, there are other tools that can be used to ensure that the needs of elderly parents are met. A living will, for example, is a document that outlines a person’s wishes regarding end-of-life care. A nomination of guardian allows the elderly parents to nominate the person who they wish the court to appoint as their guardian if the guardianship of their person or their estate is needed.

Caring for elderly parents can be a challenging and emotional experience, but it is important to remember that there are resources available to help. A power of attorney is just one tool that can be used to ensure that the needs of parents are met and that their wishes are respected. By working together and seeking the guidance of professionals when needed, families can navigate this difficult time with greater ease and confidence.

Natalia Vander Laan is a Minden attorney


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