Trumbull Estate Planning Attorney What You Need to Know about Gaining Power of Attorney for Your Parent
- By Steven Rubin
- Posted December 9, 2022
As your parent grows older, you may wonder what would happen if they could no longer make sound decisions on their own. Often, gaining power of attorney for your parent is the most straightforward way to ensure their best interests are protected. Many older adults grant powers of attorney to adult children to ensure they are adequately cared for and supported. Understanding how the process works can help you feel prepared to make critical decisions for your parent. Continue reading to learn more or contact us to speak to a Trumbull, CT estate planning attorney today.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal process in which a person (the “principal”) authorizes another individual (the “agent”) to make certain decisions on their behalf. Broadly speaking, there are two types of power of attorney that a parent can grant an adult child:
● Financial power of attorney – This is a legal arrangement in which the principal designates an agent to make decisions regarding the principal’s financial affairs if the principal cannot do so themselves. A financial power of attorney can grant broad powers to the agent or limit the types of decisions they can make.
● Healthcare power of attorney – This permits an agent to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal if the principal becomes incapacitated and cannot express their wishes for their medical treatment. However, in Connecticut, these documents are often referred to as Advanced Healthcare Directives, rather than a power of attorney.
When Can a Parent Grant Power of Attorney
A parent may grant power of attorney at any time if they are of sound mind and fully understand the importance of the documents they are signing. Granting power of attorney is often done as part of estate planning or after a serious medical diagnosis.
On the other hand, if your parent has become incapacitated and they did not grant you power of attorney, you may need to go before a judge to obtain a conservatorship. This can be an expensive and time-consuming process and is generally one that most families wish to avoid. As part of our elder law and estate planning legal services, our experienced attorneys can review your current situation.
Limitations on Power of Attorney
Keep in mind that a power of attorney may grant an agent certain powers, but it does not allow the agent to make every decision on behalf of the principal. For instance, it will not allow you to:
● Create a contract on behalf of your parent
● Vote on your parent’s behalf
● Create or alter your parent’s will
● Designate another agent on behalf of your parent
● Do anything that is not in your parent’s best interests
● Make decisions after your parent has passed away
Furthermore, not all power of attorney documents are created equally. The principal has discretion over what powers they may wish to grant to their agent.
Even if your parent is in good health, it’s wise to talk to them about an incapacity plan that would grant you power of attorney. Contact our experienced Trumbull, CT estate planning attorneys to discuss your legal options and create a plan that works for you and your parent. Call us at 203-877-7511 to schedule a consultation.
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