Using your power of attorney should be pretty straightforward. You signed the document so that someone could handle your finances and health decisions. Those are the two main “types” of power of attorney — though different commentators variously insist that there are six, or five, or four, or three different kinds of documents.
But what happens when your agent needs to act?
Experiences vary widely. One big variable: the person reviewing your documents likely has no legal training. They might think the document is invalid, or insufficient. They might misunderstand its purpose and your authority.
We only know about Arizona law (it’s what we practice), but even within one state experiences can be different. In this discussion, we hope to give you some reassurance that your documents will be effective. We also hope to help your agent understand that they should insist on being able to use your power of attorney.
This week’s podcast is in response to a question we received from a regular listener:
My wife’s mother (currently 93), signed a durable power of attorney 15 years ago. Mother’s attorney told my wife that the POA could be used to place Mother in a care facility. My wife began managing Mother’s finances when she turned 86 (seven years ago). My wife has been told repeatedly, however, that her mother’s attorney was incorrect, and that no POA stretched the legal distance to allow her to sign her mother into a facility without a guardianship. Mother had to personally sign the necessary 22-page contract, initialing each page. Why cannot a POA be used for the agent to make placement of Mother into the care facility?