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As your parent grows older, you may wonder what would happen if they could no longer make sound decisions on their own. Often, gaining power of attorney for your parent is the most straightforward way to ensure their best interests are protected. Many older adults grant powers of attorney to adult children to ensure they are adequately cared for and supported. Understanding how the process works can help you feel prepared to make critical decisions for your parent. Continue reading to learn more or contact us to speak to a Woodbridge estate planning attorney today.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal process in which a person (the “principal”) authorizes another individual (the “agent”) to make certain decisions on their behalf. Broadly speaking, there are two types of power of attorney that a parent can grant an adult child:
When Can a Parent Grant Power of Attorney
A parent may grant power of attorney at any time if they are of sound mind and fully understand the importance of the documents they are signing. Granting power of attorney is often done as part of estate planning or after a serious medical diagnosis.
On the other hand, if your parent has become incapacitated and they did not grant you power of attorney, you may need to go before a judge to obtain a guardianship or conservatorship. This can be an expensive and time-consuming process and is generally one that most families wish to avoid.
Limitations on Power of Attorney
Keep in mind that a power of attorney does not allow an agent to make every decision on behalf of the principal. For instance, it will not allow you to:
Even if your parent is in good health, it’s wise to talk to them about an incapacity plan that would grant you power of attorney. Contact our experienced Woodbridge estate planning attorneys to discuss your legal options and create a plan that works for you and your parent. Call us at 703-492-9955 to schedule a consultation.