Powers of Attorney – Is it Too Late?

Recently, I have had a wave of people coming in to get powers of attorney for elderly relatives.  Ordinarily, not a problem…..not in these cases.

And why is that?  Because in each of these cases, the proposed grantor of the power has had a catastrophic brain injury or other occurrence that made them incompetent to sign the power of attorney.  What can be done in such a case?  Often a guardianship needs to be set up.  This is a court-governed proceeding whereby the Court appoints a person to be the surrogate for an incapacitated individual.  This can be complete – as to the person AND finances or merely as to the person.

There are more responsibilities as a guardian than as a POA agent, however, both are required to act in the incapacitated person’s best interest. The problem is that once the person is cognitively impaired or cannot understand the POA, then they cannot sign it and any POA that you get at that point is fraudulent or at best void.