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What are the Best Tips for Obtaining Power of Attorney?

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  • Written By: Dorothy Bland
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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There are various methods of obtaining power of attorney, and not every tip will be useful in every jurisdiction. In fact, the best tips for getting power of attorney will come down to understanding the correct forms to use and the needs of the individual who requires a power of attorney. Ultimately, getting power of attorney over a spouse, adult child, or other loved one will come down to complying with any legal rules that apply.

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives an individual or organization the legal right to represent another person’s interest, often because this individual is no longer mentally competent to carry out such activities. The key to obtaining power of attorney is often sitting down with the loved one who is planning his or her will. An open discussion about the future can help illustrate the importance of such a document.

As various types of power of attorney forms are available, the benefits and risks of each should be reviewed. For instance, an adult interested in obtaining power of attorney over a parent to protect his or her interest could discuss the benefits of having a health care power of attorney. This document can ensure that an individual’s wishes and beliefs are protected if the person becomes ill. Take for example an individual who becomes permanently comatose. In such a situation, some individuals would prefer to stop life-sustaining procedures.

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The health care power of attorney, however, does not apply to financial matters. To help an elderly family member who is having trouble leaving his or her home and paying bills on time, a general power of attorney or durable power of attorney form may be an option. Other power of attorney forms may also be appropriate. To ensure the best type of form is used, forms can be reviewed online or by consulting with a lawyer; sample forms may also be obtainable from local banks and hospitals. While reviewing these documents, take time to discuss the different terms being used and what they will mean once the form goes into effect.

Another important tip for obtaining power of attorney is ensuring that the document is legal. A conversation or agreement between two parties is improbable to prove and unlikely to hold up in court. Instead, a written document should be created and must be signed and notarized in the presence of witnesses.

To ensure all pertinent information is included in the document, it is generally recommended that, when obtaining power of attorney, the documents be written up by an attorney. Although there are a variety of online sites that offer these forms, there is no clear guarantee that these documents meet specific state requirements or can hold up if contested in court. So that no confusion or legal problems occur in the future, duplicates should be made and given out to the family lawyer, accountant, and other family members.

Being someone’s power of attorney means being willing to make some tough decisions. Frequently, these decisions can impact an individual’s quality of life and may even determine if the person lives or dies. Before obtaining power of attorney, individuals should be sure that they can handle the stress of dealing with difficult situations and even making some members of their family upset.

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