Updated: Jun 28
As we get older, our focus changes from taking care of our children to taking care of our parents.
We had no difficulty handling financial transactions or medical decisions on behalf of our children because they were minors and dependents. However, with our parents, we must take some legal steps to prepare for taking over responsibilities when they can no longer make decisions or handle transactions independently. In order to sell a property or manage end-of-life care for our loved ones, we must use the tool of a Limited Power of Attorney.
A Power of Attorney (POA) needs to be created BEFORE it becomes necessary.
These are serious legal documents, and those who transfer power of attorney to someone else need to know what they are signing and why. From personal experience, I can tell you how frustrating and stressful it can be to get this taken care of during a hospitalization.
Next week, set an appointment to talk to your parents about having POAs to handle their affairs in case of an emergency or for future needs. Perhaps POAs have already been written and notarized, but circumstances may have changed due to death or divorce. It is always good to have POAs kept up to date.
Most hospitals have forms available for authorizing the legal delivery of medical information to others as well as Health Care Directive forms, but it is better to record these decisions before your loved one is admitted into a hospital. Health Care directives let the medical staff know how you want to be treated in the case of terminal illness or lack of brain function. Taking these decisions and putting them in writing provides peace of mind for family members going through the emotional trauma of end-of-life medical discussions with doctors.
There are also times when you should consider using a power of attorney for taking care of minor children when you need to place them in the care of a legal guardian.
Active Military Deployment
Long Vacation or Work Assignments far from home
During Hospital Stays or during illnesses that will prevent caring for your child
The agent or attorney-in-fact you choose should be someone you trust to take care of your child like you would take care of her. A power of attorney would allow them to make medical care decisions and decisions about her education and activities.
A power of attorney can be very limited or very broad. You can give your agent the ability to make every decision, but the agent can’t limit your parental rights or give up the child for adoption. A power of attorney for children has a limited duration from the date it begins and can be revoked at any time.
To create a power of attorney for a child, you will need the following:
Name, date of birth, and contact information for yourself and your agent.
Names and dates of birth of the children
A description of when or how a power of attorney starts and ends.
A specific list of the powers you wish to give to your agent.
A Notary Public to acknowledge your signature.
If you need a Power of Attorney for any of these situations, contact us. We can help you to create the document and make it valid, giving you peace of mind, knowing that all these things are resolved.