4 Misconceptions About Powers of Attorney

By Lutgarda Mariano, 9:00 am on

A power of attorney (POA) allows one person to act for another, such as when a senior loved one is unable to act on his or her own behalf regarding legal and financial matters. However, people are not always aware of their rights and responsibilities under a power of attorney and may have some misperceptions. Victoria elder care professional discuss 4 common misconceptions about powers of attorney and how to prevent issues for your loved one and your family in the case of an emergency. 

1. Anyone Can Create a Power of Attorney at Any Time

It is not legal to have your loved one give you permission to handle his or her affairs if he or she does not understand what is going on. If you did not create a power of attorney before your loved one became incompetent, your only other option would be a guardianship or conservatorship proceeding in court, which can be costly and time consuming.

2. A Power of Attorney Means Giving Up All Control

When your senior loved one signs a power of attorney, it can be written in a way that it does not become effective at the time it is signed and notarized. There will be a provision stating the power of attorney becomes effective when a physician’s statement is submitted, detailing why your loved one is incompetent to make his or her own decisions. This allows your loved one to remain in charge, as long as he or she is physically and mentally capable of making decisions. 

3. A POA Can Be Created Using Online Templates and Documents 

A power of attorney should represent the specifics that apply to your loved one and your family. It is not a good idea to use a power of attorney template from the Internet. A document or template from the Internet may:

  • Lack important information and authorities 
  • Be outdated 
  • Be irrelevant to your situation 

4. There Is Only One Type of Power of Attorney 

There are actually 2 main types of power of attorneys: a limited power of attorney and a general power of attorney. 

A limited power of attorney assigns less power than a general power of attorney. For example, the power of attorney may permit the sale of just one property, even though your loved one may have multiple properties. 

A general power of attorney typically covers all powers, including managing assets and buying or selling of properties. The powers in this document are usually specific to your loved one.

For more information on financial and legal matters that affect your loved one, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We provide live-in and part-time care Victoria families can count on. We also offer specialized Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and post-stroke care. Call (250) 592-4881 to speak to a Care Manager and schedule a complimentary consultation.