As long as your parents are still legally competent, they can execute a power of attorney. However, if you want to avoid a claim that you, as their child, have improperly procured the document for your own benefit, you should have your parents contact a California estate planning attorney directly to assist them.
A California estate planning attorney can answer your parents’ questions, guide them through the process, and draft the documents for their signatures.
Undue Influence and Powers of Attorney
Other relatives are likely to object to a power of attorney that they feel unfairly enriches the person who wrote or obtained the document. Let’s say that you take care of your elderly father, who lives in your home. He becomes frail and essentially housebound. You have him sign a financial power of attorney so that you can take care of his banking, manage his income and investments, and pay his bills.
If you receive any financial benefit from using the power of attorney, and sometimes even if you don’t receive a benefit, your siblings or other relatives might accuse you of unduly influencing your father to sign the document. Undue influence can be grounds to challenge and invalidate the document. Your relatives may also accuse you of financial elder abuse, and demand that you prepare an accounting and return any funds that they allege were wrongfully taken or used by you. They may make these demands, or file a lawsuit against you, even if all of the funds are used for your parents’ care.
The best way to avoid problems like these is for your parents to work closely with a California estate planning attorney who can draft an enforceable power of attorney and protect your parents’ legal rights – while protecting you from a claim that you improperly procured the document. A lawyer can also advise you on the law that governs the proper ways to use these documents. Contact our office today.