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Power of Attorney, Huh?

Insights on Grief Life Lessons

Power of Attorney


What is it?  Simply put, a power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows an agent to act in the best interest of another individual.  For our purposes, I am going to speak about a power of attorney from the standpoint of handling my parents’ affairs.


Back in the early 2000s, as my parents’ health was declining, I recommended that my parents allow me to become their POA.  Why did I do this?  Selfishly, this made things easier on me as their health continued to decline.  As their power of attorney (agent), I was able to get them a line of credit on their home to support their ongoing medical expenses.  As their power of attorney, I was able to make medical decisions according to their original wishes when they were of sound mind and body.  As their power of attorney, I was able to place my mother in a nursing home according to the needs that best suited her.  As their power of attorney, I was able to make the guided decision to take my mother off life support according to her written wishes.   

 There are different types of POAs.   I had a General Durable Power of Attorney for my parents.  Basically, once in effect, it stays in effect until revoked.  There is a Springing Power of Attorney that springs into effect at some event-like a person’s incapacity.  There are also single use POA like signing on behalf of another person for a real estate closing or other transaction.  I defer to speaking to your attorney for more details.

 You as the grantor/principal of the POA can limit the powers of your agent (the person acting on your behalf).

 Anytime I meet with a family in terms of adult children that are on the verge of becoming caretakers for their parents, I recommend a POA garnered through an attorney.

I want to be very clear, that before acting on any legal advice, please speak to an attorney.  The laws/rules for a POA can very from state to state.   I want to also be very clear that a Power of Attorney ceases at death.  Many folks get this simple fact confused.

In my case, having a power of attorney greatly helped with any financial, medical and legal affairs of my parents, while they declined in health.  

I also wanted to provide two very good resources that dive into Powers of Attorney.

American Bar Association    

Florida Bar Association

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