The sad story of an inadequate power of attorney
(The following is a dramatization.)
When Mr. Jones Jr. learned that his father was planning to grant him durable financial power of attorney, he considered it a great honor and a great statement of trust. It meant that he would be able to make legally binding financial decisions on behalf of his father. He made up his mind that if he ever needed to exercise control over the estate of his father, he would do so in a way that would prove him worthy of this trust. At the time, Jones Jr. was very busy, and did not hire an attorney. Unfortunately, neither did Jones Sr. He simply downloaded an online form for a statutory power of attorney and filled it out. And with that, Jones Jr. had was attorney-in-fact. Or so he thought.
Ten years went by. The health and mental acuity of Mr. Jones Sr. gradually declined until it was time for him to enter a long term care facility. Jones Jr. helped him move, packed up most of his belongings, and, with a heavy heart, began planning the sale of his childhood home. He hired a broker, found a buyer, negotiated a price and went to the bank to authorize the sale.
To his horror, the bank refused to allow him to sell. The power of attorney said that it authorized general power over real estate and banking transactions, but it did not go into specifics, and the bank was not willing to accept it. And since Jones Sr. was no longer of sound mind, there was no way for him to draw up a new power of attorney that would correct this problem. Jones Jr. learned, ten years too late, that not all powers of attorney are created equal.
Help with power of attorney in Gastonia, NC
If financial powers of attorney are drawn correctly, they can be used by the attorney-in-fact to protect the assets of an individual when that individual might be placed in a nursing home. In order to create an avenue by which assets can be protected, the person who draws up the power of attorney must insert language that allows gifting to take place.
But not every attorney knows to include this language, and there is certainly no guarantee that it will be present in an online form for download. Failing to cover this in a financial power of attorney can often lead to a very poor result. Elder law attorneys have the experience and understanding to incorporate the necessary language into a financial power of attorney to achieve desired results.
Robert C. Whitt is a Gastonia attorney, servicing the areas of Gastonia, Charlotte, Mount Holly and Gaston, Mecklenburg, Lincoln Counties and surrounding communities. He focuses on wills, trusts and other aspects of elder law. If you need a power of attorney drawn up and make an appointment today.