A Guide to Financial Power of Attorney

Chances are, you wonder what will happen if your aging parent loses their ability to make health or financial decisions. How can you or others in your friend and family circle help them in that situation, or know what to do? These questions are all part of an ongoing conversation you may already be having having as a caregiver – and part of the answer might lie in a legal document called a power of attorney, or POA.

A POA gives someone the legal ability to make decisions on behalf of another adult, such as an aging parent or loved one. For example, an aging father might create a power of attorney giving his daughter the ability to make decisions for him in the event that he cannot. The person who’s named in the power of attorney document as the decision maker in that situation is called a “primary agent.” A power of attorney may be necessary for you to have if and when your aging loved one cannot make decisions for themselves.

There are two types of powers of attorney that may be necessary. One is a medical power of attorney, which gives control over medical decisions and is often called an Advanced Healthcare Directive, and a second is a financial power of attorney, which gives control over financial decisions. One person can serve in both capacities, but it’s often recommended to have a different person for each POA.

Creating a power of attorney and deciding on a primary agent are significant steps to take. So is becoming a primary agent. That’s may be why power of attorney is one of the topics we are hear the most questions about at Caring.com. This guide is designed to give you the basic building blocks you need to get started.

For more information, visit: caring.com

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