Responsibilities of Being Power of Attorney
Being appointed power of attorney (POA) allows another person to transfer financial and health care decision-making powers to another individual. The person named power of attorney is referred to as the “agent,” and the person they are acting on behalf of is the “principal.” Sudden events can happen to make the principal unable to make certain decisions on their own.
Typically, the children of the principal are appointed for various reasons. Becoming power of attorney is a big responsibility that not everyone is cut out to become, and that’s okay. According to an article by Forbes, there are several reasons why many children turn down this request by their parents. “Becoming someone’s power of attorney is a monumental job,” says Cheryl David, a North Carolina elder law attorney. “It’s huge, and the task should not be entered into without great thought.” Keep in mind, there are numerous types and combinations of power of attorney, but the two most common are General Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care or Medical Power of Attorney.
One must understand that being appointed power of attorney does not mean that you will acquire their debts. John Ross, an elder law attorney in Texas, says, “People don’t always realize that they’re just acting on behalf of another person, not making themselves personally liable.” Still, taking on this task can become overwhelming. Being responsible for someones medical decisions, if they were unable to, can weigh heavy on you. You may not be in a position emotionally or geographically. And what many may not know it a parent can name more than one agent and if asked, you can say no. David had a client in a similar situation in which the client’s mother had a son who was in a better situation to make decisions for their mother.
There are several questions to ask yourself to see if you are the right person to be power of attorney of a loved one. Ross recommends asking yourself the following three questions when considering whether to commit to being someone’s power of attorney and he recommends that you are honest with the person who plans to name you power of attorney if you have concerns:
Are you able to drop everything, perhaps for weeks or months, and make crisis medical decisions?, Do you have the emotional fortitude to make tough, life-and-death decisions?, How is your family dynamic? Do you have a brother who is quick to anger or a sister who could be suspicious of your motives when it comes to medical or financial decisions?
Trusted Wylie Attorneys
There is a lot to consider when appointing a person power of attorney or if you, yourself have been appointed. Contact Edmondson Law, PLLC if you have any questions about your situation and need an experienced attorney to guide you. Legal assistance is needed to ensure that you or your loved one’s wishes and best interests are heard. If you are looking for someone who is knowledgeable and understanding you will find them at our law firm.
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