You would be surprised how many times we get a call from a daughter or son who wants us to prepare a “simple” power of attorney for their parent. However, creating a power of attorney isn’t a simple task. Before anything else, we ask, “Why is your parent not calling?” The answer to this question is quite revealing. Often, the child is handling this matter because the parent is physically impaired or asked them to take care of it for them.
But, there are times when the child tells us, “My dad does not know what is going on.” In some cases, the parent has advanced dementia or had a major stroke or some other health event that renders them unable to understand what is needed. If the parent is laying in a hospital bed and unable to respond at all, then there are limited options for what we can do.
For a parent to name someone on a power of attorney they need to understand what they’re signing. Another person cannot execute the document for your parent. To act, a family member might need to seek guardianship which is both expensive and invasive of one’s privacy.
Families throughout Florida turn to our firm for legal assistance because their parent never executed a power of attorney or the document is too old (and laws have changed) or lacks the necessary language to be effective for specific activities.
Some clients tell us that their parent completed a power of attorney at the bank, thinking it was sufficient, only to learn that the authority was limited to banking in that facility only. Other times, people produce a form for power of attorney that they bought in an office supply store which turned out to be insufficient for their needs.
Reliable & Compassionate Legal Representation
Life is uncertain at best and we never know if or when someone could lose capacity. For some, it might be a gradual happening with plenty of notice (if the person heeds the warnings), while for others, it could be a one-time incident like a stroke or accident.
This is why every adult, regardless of health status, should consider having a power of attorney prepared by a qualified and knowledgeable attorney. While elder law attorneys specialize in matters concerning elders and disabled individuals, we are qualified, particularly with powers of attorney, to help people of any age.
If you would like one of our skilled attorneys at Hill & Kinsella to explain your legal options regarding a power of attorney, please give us a call at (727) 240-2350 to set up your consultation.
By, April Hill