Power Of Attorney: Obligations To Family Members Explained

Power of attorney allows you to access assets in theprobate processes

When granted a power of attorney, you’re expected to meet the obligations to family members without overriding the authority. Therefore, it would be best to understand the provisions guiding the attorney to prevent conflicts with your loved ones or violating any legal duty.

This guide explores the power of attorney, showing you how to be effective and legally handle people abusing such authority.

Key Takeaways

  • A power of attorney is a legal procedure in which you (principal) sign documents to allow another person (agent or attorney-in-fact) to make decisions on your behalf.
  • Abusing the power can lead to litigation, where you can be held personally liable and be stripped of the powers.
  • You can avoid the stress related to the agents by hiring Record Click experts to help you smoothly work out the entire probate process.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

The agent should understand your retirement Benefits plan

agents have a fiduciary duty

A power of attorney is a legal procedure where you (the principal) allow another person (agent or attorney-in-fact) to make decisions on your behalf. It is common for property owners and business people to apply it as a precautionary measure for disaster or when they are away.

The power of attorney will likely be for financial or medical reasons. So, the agents’ rights and responsibilities mainly depend on the provisions of the grant. A durable power of attorney takes effect immediately. It remains effective for the principal’s lifetime, while a springing power takes effect after the principal is incapacitated.

What Are the Terms of The Power of Attorney?

The terms of the grant mainly depend on the type of power of attorney. Principals may only require the agents’ hand to manage their finances without interfering with any medical issues. Alternatively, other grant types allow the attorney-in-fact to feel free to provide guidelines in any aspect, especially if they’re the principal’s close relatives.

It is worth noting that the fiduciary obligations match across the board and apply to every agent regardless of kinship with the principal.

What Is the Financial Power of Attorney?

Probate fraud

attorneys may be fraudulent

When you have the financial or general power of attorney (GPoA), you can act anytime on the issue of finance or law. This means paying bills and catering to everyday expenses while minimizing wastage and developing more assets.

Here is a list of the most common rights of agents’ financial powers:

  • Access to bank accounts and personal documents.
  • Making final legal and final decisions.
  • Hiring assistants such as probate researchers assist with responsibilities.
  • Handle investments and assets with utmost care.
  • Free to use the investment or assets to benefit the principal.
  • Charge a reasonable fee.

The most common limitations of a financial power of attorney include:

  • Invading personal boundaries beyond financial obligations.
  • Misusing or neglecting assets.
  • Risky investments or programs that jeopardize the principal’s assets.
  • Failure to take records or prove all transactions and engagements.
  • Charging excessive fee.

This is just an overview of what is likely to be in the power of attorney agreement, so it is wise to study your agreement with a lawyer.

What Is the Medical Power of Attorney?

An artwork of family health history

Medical powers let them improve your well-being

Medical or health power of attorney mainly handles the principal’s medical issues, such as providing consent for treatment and guiding healthy living.

A medical attorney-in-fact has the following rights:

  • Ensuring the principal has medical treatment when necessary.
  • Consent to medical procedures like surgeries on the principal’s behalf.
  • Guiding the principal on the appropriate medication.
  • Choosing an assistant.
  • Making medical claims.

The most common limitations include:

  • Interfering in legal or financial decisions.
  • Withholding crucial treatment or care.
  • Consenting to an abortion or electroconvulsive therapy on the principal’s behalf.

Most importantly, medical agents should keep neat records of every medical issue concerning the principal. So, if they want to switch agents, the neat records will help the new agents proceed seamlessly, minimizing the chances of the shift affecting the principal’s health.

If you’re granted the medical power of attorney, it would be best to spend time with the principal to understand their needs and wishes and a picture of what to do in case they’re incapacitated.

Do I Need Probate If I Have Power of Attorney?

Yes, you may need probate because you dealt with the principal’s events in their lifetime. Still, the case is different when they die. Usually, after the principal’s death, the estate is handled by the executor named in the Will.

Nonetheless, the executor must go through the probate court to prove they have legal authority to handle the estate. The same happens for estate administrators the court chooses when the principal dies without a Will (intestate).

How To Handle a Person Abusing Power of Attorney

The court provides guidance on how to contest the power of attorney

attorney-in-chief must follow the law

Abusing the power of attorney is a serious issue for which legal action should be taken. So, the moment you sense that the agent or your sibling is abusing the power, consider consulting a power of attorney lawyer for the best way forward.

Sometimes, siblings hesitate to speak out when their brother, sister, or relative misuses their power to avoid family conflicts. However, silence could jeopardize the principal’s emotional, financial, and physical well-being.

Below are the necessary steps to countering any abuse of power of attorney:

  1. Talk With the Agent

Approaching the attorney-in-fact would be the first and best way to raise your concerns about how you think they’re mishandling issues. Seek clarifications on issues of concern and request for records or evidence.

While the approach may be daunting for a hostile power of attorney, it can help clarify any misunderstanding and save you the fees and time you’d take in court.

  1. Obtain Evidence or Clues

It’s always advisable to make your claim based on a valid claim, not baseless allegations that risk severing your relationship with the parties. The most important thing is obtaining hard evidence, such as records and clues, beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sometimes, you may have to interact with the principal or access their home to look for the tell-tale signs. For example, lacking basic amenities and unpaid bills could signify neglect. At the same time, document forgery could be a tip of criminal activity.

  1. Contest The Power of Attorney

The principal can revoke the power of attorney if they’re competent. However, when they’re incompetent, the only way to contest a power of attorney is by filing a court petition.

The most important step before filing the petition is to consult a probate attorney and gather concrete evidence to prove that the agent is not worthy of proceeding with the role. Probate lawyers can help you draft and file the petition and make supporting arguments in court.

  1. Keep the Agents in Check

A power of attorney helps businesses and families run smoothly regardless of the principal’s input or health condition. However, beneficiaries, heirs, and other interested parties should observe the situation keenly to prevent the agents from misusing their authority.

If you notice signs of abuse, it is crucial to move with haste and incorporate a skilled team of probate researchers and attorneys to stop the abuse in its tracks.

You can avoid the stress related to the power of attorney by hiring Record Click experts to help you smoothly work out the entire probate process.

Contact us today for a free consultation and kick-start the process.

See Record Click’s Heir Research Services, Costs, And Expectations.