In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson explains some misconceptions people may have when they are reluctant to give someone Power of Attorney.
Greetings I’m Wes Coulson from Dent Coulson Elder Law and this will be your Elder Law minute. We’re happy to present these because we think we can help inform you as to the ways in which we can help you and the things that you need to think about relative to the elder care and estate planning journey. Hope you enjoy!
I had a discussion a couple weeks ago with a client that was sort of an eye-opening reminder for me. She expressed reluctance to sign powers of attorney because she said “well I’m not ready yet to have someone else take over my life.” She was under the impression that by signing power of attorney that meant that someone else now would be in charge rather than her. If you’re having those misgivings, let me reassure you that that’s not the case.
Giving someone power of attorney, gives them the authority to make and carry out decisions on your behalf to the extent that you’ve given them the authority and the document to do that. But it doesn’t take away your own authority to act on your own behalf. That happens only if and when you have been determined to be no longer mentally competent to make those decisions. So that’s by the way, one of the reasons and I’ve stressed this before that I like powers of attorney that are effective immediately. Those allow someone to help you if you’re maybe in a process of gradual decline but still preserves your autonomy, your ability to call your own shots.
Last thing is if you’ve given somebody power of attorney, and they start butting in and doing things that you’re not comfortable with first thing is tell them back off, but if that doesn’t work, I always tell people you know what then you need to call me and say, Wes we’re going to have to change the power of attorney, because the person I thought that I could trust, it turns out not so much for that to be the case.
So, you know if I can fire the person I hired I’m still in charge and if you give a power of attorney you’re still in charge too.
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Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.