How to Prevent Power of Attorney Abuse
In prior articles I have highlighted the signs to watch for to recognize abuses of Power of Attorney. What can you do to avoid or prevent such events?
- Do not use the “one size fits all” form. Remember that every person is unique and therefore “one form for all” doesn’t apply to create the powers that come with this kind of appointment. The government supplied form is merely the framework for you to consider before having your document professionally prepared to suit your particular circumstances.
- Choose your powers carefully. Specify exactly what powers you want to give your “POA”. You can prohibit this person from making gifts, taking out loans or selling property you’ve specifically gifted in your will. You can require your “POA” to provide regular accounting statements to a third party, such as an accountant. You can also give this third party the authority to act if misuse is detected.
- Get expert legal advice. Make sure that powers of attorney are a part of your lawyer’s regular practice. It is preferable that he/she specializes in wills and estate planning.
- Never sign a POA document that was not personally and privately initiated by you. Prepare it when you are in good health, and fully comfortable with the powers you are creating as well as the lawyer you have entrusted to document your wishes.
- ONE “POA” or more? Naming two or more individuals to act jointly can be a means of creating checks and balances. Make sure they can work together harmoniously. Choose people you trust who are willing and capable of carrying out the responsibility.
Victoria M. Young
645 Norfolk St.N.