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Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney (also called a Durable Power of Attorney) is a legal document that allows your loved one to designate someone to handle his or her legal and financial affairs. This does not give the person Healthcare Power of Attorney, which designates someone to make medical decisions for a person, should they become incapacitated.

Generally, the POA goes into effect when a person becomes incompetent. An Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis is usually sufficient to enact the Power of Attorney.

The assignee designated by your loved one will be able to act on their behalf in the following matters:

1) Real Property Transactions
2) Personal Property Transactions
3) Bond, Share and Commodity Transactions
4) Banking Transactions
5) Safe Deposits
6) Business Operating Transactions
7) Insurance Transactions
8) Estate Transactions
9) Tax, Social Security and Unemployment

Your loved one can have his or her Power of Attorney drawn up to include all or some of the above transactions.

It is vitally important to have this legal paperwork in order before your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s if possible. When there is no Durable Power of Attorney existing, your loved one may have to be declared incompetent by a judge, and have a guardian appointed.

This is not only risky (you may not be appointed as guardian, and the court may appoint someone else to handle your loved ones affairs) but also time consuming and costly (Elder law attorneys charge between $100-$300 per hour).

This is not intended to be legal advice. Your best bet is to contact NAELA.org and find an Elder Law attorney in your area. Also, ask friends, co-workers, and friends from support groups for referrals, if they have used a good attorney for their Elder Care needs.