Does Your Power of Attorney Cover All Your Bases?

Powerful “power of attorney” (POA) documents are essential, if there ever comes a time when you or your elder become unable to manage your finances or make health-care decisions.

Beware if you rely only on POAs that hospitals provide, or that you have pulled off the Internet, or that you have got from other attorneys who do not focus their practice specifically on elder law. When an emergency arises, the bank or health-care provider may refuse to allow your agent to act – and then the only recourse is to go to court and get a guardianship.

This is definitely not what you want to hear in an emergency. Interdiction (guardianship) proceedings cost time and money, they expose your private affairs to the public, and you or your elder can lose control of your autonomy. In the worst case, unfriendly family-members can try to take advantage of a helpless elder, and it can cost tremendous anxiety and expense to defend against that threat.

This is why our POAs for financial and health-care matters total between thirty and fifty pages. We want to help to anticipate as many situations and nuances as possible, to ensure that when you need assistance, your documents will be there to avoid interdictions (guardianships) and to help you get the responsible financial coverage and health-care treatment you need.

A client came in recently with a  POA from the internet. She wanted to know whether it would do the job for her father. We said emphatically “no.” It would not.

  • It was not witnessed, so it could not be used for Louisiana real estate transactions;
  • It failed to provide the agent with specific powers for appropriate estate and long-term care planning; and
  • It failed to comply with Louisiana law regarding specific powers regarding nursing home placement and certain medical treatment;

Our POAs do much, much more than that. And our financial POAs are so meticulous that we’ll cite just one example: We provide over two pages of detail covering real-estate transactions alone.

Check your POAs to see whether they do all of the above – and if not, come see Goff & Goff Attorneys at our Ruston, Louisiana office. Get a message to us by clicking here, or call us by dialing (318) 255-1760.