Your estate plan wouldn’t be complete without naming a trusted person to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated. However, finding the right person for this critical role may not be easy. Unlike an executor of your estate, an agent with powers of attorney can decide what will happen to your belongings, property, and you while you are still alive.
Many people grant powers of attorney to close family members or friends, but there are some situations where this may not be the best option. If you’re not sure your loved ones have the right qualities to do the job, you could appoint a third party as your power of attorney.
Naming a Lawyer as Power of Attorney(?)
The different types of power of attorney give significant control over your medical and financial well-being. It’s stressful work, and your family and friends might make choices based on their own feelings rather than your expressed wishes. Our experienced elder lawyers work for you, making decisions based solely on whether they’re in your best interest.
As your agent, our attorneys can help you avoid:
- Sibling rivalry. When one child is named power of attorney, resentment often builds between the other children and relatives. Siblings may question the chosen agent’s choices, argue over the details of their loved one’s care, or even harass their loved one in an effort to gain control of their affairs. An attorney agent is outside the family, preserving the relationships among siblings, spouses, and grandchildren.
- Management concerns. Agents have to sacrifice a lot of their time and effort to handle your care and finances. Even if an agent is acting in good faith, they may not have the accounting skills to manage your affairs in a timely and cost-effective way—and those acting in bad faith may take advantage of their position by spending your savings or attempting to get you to change your will. Our neutral third-party attorneys have the professional experience and insider knowledge to navigate these responsibilities.
- Emotional ties. Family members can’t simply turn off their emotions when it comes time to make end-of-life decisions for a loved one. Even when wishes are clearly stated, there’s always the chance that a relative will be unwilling to follow them for their own personal reasons. For example, an agent may override a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order because they aren’t ready to say goodbye. We take emotions out of the decision-making process, ensuring your wishes are respected.
- Inheritance conflicts. Heirs have a financial motivation to keep a loved one’s care costs and expenses as low as possible. The money to pay for these things comes directly out of their inheritance, which can easily cloud their judgment. For example, if Mom wants to receive in-home care rather than go into a nursing home, the family may try to move her into a facility to save money. Or, one of her children might move into her home, making it harder to evict them if the house is left to someone else. As we don’t stand to inherit anything, we follow your instructions for your end-of-life care regardless of the impact on your beneficiaries.
Realistically, we can serve as power of attorney in a limited geographical area and we are selective in the clients we are able to work with. Becoming someone's power of attorney is not an easy task as so many caregiving children and family members know.
The Perfect Combination of Elder Law and Estate Planning
Our elder lawyers are uniquely suited to serve as agents, since we have experience with life care planning and Medicare as well as estate planning matters. When we act on your behalf, we do so in good faith and in your best interest. We know the rigors of the job, keep records of any financial activity done on your behalf, and make sure that everything is carried out in accordance with the law.
If you have questions about your powers of attorney, the legal team at DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis can help you through your next steps to protect your future. Contact us today to set up a consultation, or start reading our free book, Top 20 Rules for Protecting Your Florida Estate.