What Does it Mean to Have Power of Attorney for Your Parents?

power of attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes you to act on behalf of incompetent parents or family members.

It is scary how fast things change with time. In the past, your parents assisted you in making significant choices. They taught you to drive, comforted you in times of illness, and taught you how to manage your money.

As time progresses, the tables have flipped. Consequently, you find yourself in a position to assist your parents with those same choices they led you through before.

Do you need a power of attorney (POA) for an elderly parent? Are you starting to see signs that your parents need more assistance and support? Are you unsure how to get power of attorney for a parent?

If you need to safeguard your parents and ensure you have the legal authority to make decisions on their behalf, we have got you covered. So, without further ado, let us jump right into it.

What Is a Power of Attorney (POA)?


So, what is power of attorney? A power of attorney allows one person to make legal decisions on behalf of another. These choices can be financial, legal, or medical, depending on the kind of power of attorney.

As parents age and need more assistance, many children get a power of attorney for their parents to assist them in making choices. If a parent grants you power of attorney, you are designated as the agent. The parent who executes a power of attorney is referred to as the principal. When an older parent is incompetent, it may not be easy to know what to do. However, a power of attorney can assist in navigating this situation.

What Are the Responsibilities?

When a parent agrees to give a power of attorney, they also have the option of granting varying degrees of authority. In short, a power of attorney can grant the legal authority and responsibility to make decisions on behalf of parents.

Financial choices can be made by the agent empowered by the power of attorney. They can also sign checks and transfer funds as necessary. It is essential to ensure that the bank with whom your parents have an account will recognize your power of attorney documents. Be aware that some banks have their own power of attorney documents.

Additionally, the agent has the authority to make medical choices on behalf of the principal. This would involve authorizing treatments and determining when to grant or deny treatment.

Additionally, they have the authority to make welfare decisions on behalf of the parent.

Types of Power of Attorney

While considering how to draft a power of attorney documents, you want to ensure that your parents are completely informed of the situation and are willing to grant you these vital responsibilities. 

There are many kinds of power of attorney to consider depending on your unique circumstances. It is critical not to procrastinate in completing this procedure. You need your parents to sign these documents while they are of sound mind.

There are five types of power of attorney:

  • General power of attorney
  • A medical power of attorney
  • A durable power of attorney
  • Springing power of attorney
  • Limited power of attorney

General Power of Attorney

The most fundamental kind of power of attorney is a general power of attorney. It encompasses a range of choices and enables the agent to make judgments in several situations.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney empowers the agent to make all healthcare choices on the principal’s behalf.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney empowers the agent to make any choice on the parent’s behalf. This is frequently the most comprehensive method for organizing this material.

Springing Power of Attorney

A springing power of attorney is often a viable alternative for a parent hesitant to sign the immediate POA documents. However, when a springing POA is used, the agent has no decision-making authority until the principal is considered incompetent. Then and only then can a springing power of attorney be exercised.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney empowers the agent POA with restricted decision-making ability or for a short period. This is not necessarily the most excellent option for an elderly parent since you would have to repeat the paperwork when it expires.

The Process of Getting Power of Attorney

The sooner you begin the process of obtaining a power of attorney for a parent, the better. It is preferable if they retain their faculties since this helps the process and avoids judicial intervention. Declaring an elderly parent as incompetent is something you will want to avoid at all costs.

To start, speak with your parent. Demonstrate what a power of attorney is and how it will assist you in providing care for them. Then draft a power of attorney. It is preferable to have an attorney do this step for you or locate a free form online. Finally, make sure that all parties to the POA are appropriately recognized.

If it is significant to your parents, you can specify the particular power granted to you. Naturally, you will want the documents witnessed as well.

Once you have figured out how to get power of attorney for a parent, it is important to act quickly. You do not want to wait an excessive amount of time and risk your parents not understanding. You can also get a lawyer to make the process more quick and smooth. They can also provide additional information which might be of great help.

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