A power of attorney appoints an agent to make important decisions on your senior loved one’s behalf, depending on what’s covered in the agreement. Despite the importance of power of attorney, there are many misconceptions surrounding this document. Take a look at some of the most common myths regarding power of attorney.
1. A Power of Attorney Can Be Created After a Person Is Declared Incompetent
Power of attorney can only be executed while an individual is competent enough to know exactly what types of rights he or she is assigning to the other party. Talk to your loved one about creating a power of attorney before he or she is mentally incapable of making legal decisions.
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2. The Agent Has Unlimited Powers
The agent listed in the power of attorney is only allowed to perform duties that are assigned in the document. For instance, the agent may be able to make medical decisions but not be allowed to make financial transactions on the principal’s behalf. An agent must also be certain any decisions made are in the principal’s best interest.
3. Only Elderly People Require a Power of Attorney
Some people put off establishing a power of attorney because they’re still capable of thinking clearly. However, all it takes is a single accident or illness to render a person incapacitated. Your loved one may need a power of attorney if he or she develops dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or another health condition that leads to cognitive decline.
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4. There’s Only One Type of Power of Attorney
Contrary to popular belief, there are several different types of power of attorney a person could be assigned. For example, a general power of attorney allows the agent to make financial decisions on behalf of the incapacitated principal. However, there are also limited power of attorney designations that allow your loved one to delegate responsibilities as he or she sees fit. For instance, your parent may think your sibling would be best at handling the medical decisions but someone else in your family should manage financial matters.
5. A Power of Attorney Never Ends
A power of attorney typically ends on the principal’s death. Once the principal dies, other legal documents apply, such as a will. Make sure you understand all the legalities involved with having power of attorney.
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