How Power of Attorney Documents Can Help and Hurt
Power of Attorney documents (POAs) are surprisingly powerful documents. However, these forms can help and can also cause harm in certain situations.
POAs give a family member or friend the right to help someone after an injury when the injured person can’t speak to their own doctor or when they aren’t conscious to pay their own bills.
These documents also greatly help with an elderly person who may be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Many people don’t realize that POAs give statutory priority to the person named as “agent” to be a guardian or conservator. For example, multiple children want to be their elderly mother’s guardian or conservator. The child with the POA will more easily win this fight. The POAs still need to be compliant with Colorado and Federal laws.
Situations that Cause Harm
One situation when POAs cause harm is when someone uses these documents to take advantage of a person’s money. Our firm is always careful about appointing persons with a certain history. Individuals who are unemployed, have filed bankruptcy, have problems managing money, have been involved in multiple lawsuits, and persons with spouses with these issues should be avoided.
Lastly, many people don’t realize that if they appoint their daughter as power of attorney agent and their daughter is also the main beneficiary of their Last Will and Testament or Trust, there is a presumption of undue influence by the daughter. This comes from Colorado case law instead of Colorado statutory laws. The issue is that if the daughter was managing her elderly mother’s finances and medical issues, the daughter is in a position of authority and therefore could have easily influenced her mother. To avoid this, the attorney drafting the Last Will and Testament or Trust should have several in-person meetings with the client, analyze competency, have conversations with no children or other beneficiaries in the room, and ask as many questions as possible to ensure the documents hold up in court. If you have any questions regarding POAs contact Rossi Law.