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Power of Attorney Obligations to Family Members: Your Essential FAQ

Whether you’re contemplating assigning a power of attorney (POA) or have recently been appointed as one, understanding the obligations and responsibilities associated with this role is crucial. This blog post aims to answer common questions about the power of attorney, particularly within a family context.

1. What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document allowing you (the principal) to appoint someone else (the agent or attorney-in-fact) to manage your affairs if you cannot. This could include financial matters, medical decisions, or both, depending on the type of POA you establish.

2. What Can a Power of Attorney Do?

A POA can act on your behalf in various situations, from handling your financial transactions, managing real estate affairs, and making healthcare decisions to representing you in court. The specific powers granted to the POA depend on the terms of the agreement.

3. How Many Powers of Attorney Can You Have?

You can assign multiple POAs if you wish. However, it’s essential to specify whether they must act jointly or can operate independently. Having more than one POA can ensure a more balanced decision-making process but may also lead to disagreements.

4. Does the Oldest Child Have Power of Attorney?

No, age doesn’t automatically confer the right of POA. As the principal, you decide who to appoint based on their capability, reliability, and willingness to take responsibility.

5. Power of Attorney Between Siblings: How Does That Work?

If you appoint one of your children as your POA, they can decide on your behalf. This can sometimes lead to disputes among siblings, especially if there’s a lack of transparency or communication. Therefore, it’s crucial to have open discussions about these roles and responsibilities.

6. What are the Powers of attorney responsibilities to siblings?

While the POA has an obligation to act in the best interest of the principal, they also have a moral responsibility to maintain open communication with other family members. However, unless specified in the POA agreement, they are not legally obliged to consult with siblings before making decisions.

7. How Do I Give Someone Power of Attorney?

You can establish a POA by drafting a document that clearly outlines the powers you’re granting. This document should be signed, witnessed, and notarized. You should seek legal counsel to ensure the agreement is valid and comprehensive.

8. How to Handle a Sibling Abusing Power of Attorney?

If a POA misuses its power or acts contrary to the principal’s best interests, it’s considered abuse. You can contest the POA in court if you suspect this is happening. You’ll need to present evidence of the misconduct, so legal counsel is advisable.

9. What Does Signing as Power of Attorney Mean?

When you sign as a POA, you acknowledge that you are acting on behalf of the principal, not in your personal capacity. This distinction is critical for legal and financial matters.

10. What Does General Durable Power of Attorney Mean?

A general durable POA grants broad powers to the agent and remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. It’s “durable” because it endures beyond physical or mental incapacity.

In conclusion, a power of attorney is vital in ensuring the principal’s affairs are managed according to their wishes when they cannot do so. It’s an important decision that requires careful consideration and clear communication between all parties involved. If you have more questions or need legal advice regarding POA, feel free to contact us at McBrien Armistead Law Group. We’re here to help.

Thank you for reading!