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Helpful facts for discussing power of attorney with a parent

| Nov 12, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Though you are an adult, you know you will always be a child to your parent. As a result, you may worry about how he or she will take it if you broach the topic of becoming a power of attorney agent for your parent. You certainly do not want the role in order to immediately take over your parent’s affairs, but you may have concerns that he or she will view it that way or believe that you think your parent is incompetent.

Understandably, you can have a tricky time navigating this scenario. You do not want to overstep your bounds or come across as pushy, but you also do not want to end up in a situation where you do not have the legal authority to act on your parent’s behalf if he or she needs someone to do so.

Mental competency

If you bring up the topic of your parent appointing a power of attorney agent and he or she feels offended, you may want to make it clear that you do not think your parent is incompetent. In fact, pointing out that the law has stipulations requiring that only a competent person can appoint a POA agent may help your parent feel more at ease. It may also be useful to explain that your parent must willingly sign a legal document that gives you acting power when needed.

Restrictions

If your parent is worried about you or anyone else having total power over everything in his or her life, you may want to list some of the various restrictions that the law puts on POA agents, including the following examples:

  • The agent cannot create a will on the principal’s behalf or change one that already exists.
  • The agent cannot carry out any action that goes against the principal’s best interests.
  • The agent cannot appoint a different agent.
  • The agent cannot cast a vote acting as the principal.
  • The agent cannot create a contract in efforts to receive compensation for services rendered to the principal.

Giving up control can feel foreign and uncomfortable to anyone, which is why your parent may not feel keen on the idea of appointing a power of attorney agent. However, explaining the safeguards that federal and Florida laws require may prove useful. If your parent has questions or concerns, setting up a meeting with an estate planning attorney may help.