Is it better to obtain power of attorney for my father or just rely on being next of kin? 26 Answers as of February 14, 2014

I am his only child, he is divorced and only has one adult sister living. He has terminal cancer and is being placed in hospice care.

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Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
Power of attorney for medical matters would let you decide on treatment related matters when he can not. Being his only heir might not allow you to make medical decisions. Get power of attorney is relatively easy. I would think you would want both.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/12/2014
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
Power of attorney is way better.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 2/14/2014
Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
You should have both financial and healthcare power of attorney for your father and he should also have all his other affairs in order. This can be done as long as he has the requisite capacity to execute such documents.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 2/12/2014
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
There are two types of P/A's. One is for health care decisions and the other is for asset management (banking, etc.) You should have both. Remember that these are only valid during Dad's lifetime. He may also want a will. You can find P/A forms on-line, and there is also a statutory will.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/12/2014
Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
Powers of attorney are always better. Being next of kin may be enough for medical decisions but will not help you with financial issues.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/12/2014
    Elliott Law Firm, PC | Michael K. Elliott
    In North Carolina, if you do not have Power of Attorney you cannot make legal decisions for another person, regardless of your relation to them.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    You are always better having a Power of Attorney. The only downside is the slight cost. I charge $200 for such forms, which completely avoid the need for probate appointment of a guardian or conservator. I have seen situations where doctors would not allow even spouses to make decisions without a POA. Being next of kin generally just puts you at the front of the line, at probate court. The cost of fling to open estates will be more than the cost of getting a POA set up. The rest of your father's estate planning should also be reviewed to make sure that everything is in order. It is a normal and natural part of the process that he is going through. It will make things easier and cheaper for you, and he will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing everything is in place.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    James M. Chandler | James M. Chandler
    You should get a power of attorney and a power of attorney for health care.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/13/2014
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    You should have a medical directive and a durable power of attorney if he is still legally competent. If he has any assets, put them into a trust for his benefit.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    If he has significant assets you should get a trust drawn up while he is still competent.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    If he has capacity, it is best to get Power of Attorney. If his passing is imminent, it may not be necessary. If he has an estate, you will want to discuss next steps with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Powers of attorney die when make of the power dies. Since your father is in hospice, he probably does not have the mental capacity to know what he is signing. Too late to obtain the document you are inquiring about.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Next of kin may not be enough. You should get a power of attorney for medical care and for financial issues.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Being next of kin gives you little, if any, legal authority. If your father has financial matters to attend to, and wants to name you his agent under a power of attorney, that would give you authority to do financial transactions for him. You may also want to look into an Advance Directive, which would give you the power to make medical decisions when your father is not able to communicate.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    It is always best to have something in place so that you can speak up for your dad in the event he becomes disabled (and for yourself as well).
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    If you can obtain your father's power of attorney, it would only be in effect as long as he's alive. Once he passes the power of attorney terminates. As his sole child, you are your father's next of kin. Contact a probate attorney to discuss your rights and responsibilities.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    You definitely should get two separate powers of attorney from him now so you can make financial and healthcare decisions for him if he slips into a coma or becomes mentally incompetent. The powers of attorney will not help after he dies because they will become invalid at his death. Most people have the mistaken impression that powers of attorney survive death. You should also have him execute a will, a living will, and a trust to handle everything after he dies. In our office, we do a package estate plan which includes all of these devices.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Power of Attorney is only valid while your dad is alive. At this stage there may not be a lot of help given his condition. Does he have a will? If he does not have one and there is no surviving spouse, you would get his estate. All states have intestate (dying without a will) statutes that define the order of beneficiary.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/10/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    If he still has capacity he should execute powers of attorney and a Will. Generally speaking, next of kin is not sufficient if decisions need to be made.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/10/2014
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C.
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C. | Donald Scher
    It is better to obtain his durable power of attorney. Even though he has been diagnosed with a terminal condition and is in hospice, he may live a long time and with a durable general power of attorney and a durable health care power of attorney, you will have legal authority to pay his bills, expenses and costs with his money, collect his income, make claims on his behalf, and have authority to make medical decisions for him and carry out his wishes.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 2/10/2014
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    Someone should be named as the agent under a Power of Attorney for Healthcare. This document grants authority to make medical decisions when your father is unable to do so. It also grants authority to receive medical information about your father's condition. Medical confidentiality rules put the hospital and doctors at risk if they disclose medical information to unauthorized persons. Most hospitals require a POA for Healthcare when a person is admitted for substantial treatment, surgery or the last illness. Your father may also need a POA for Property to appoint an agent with authority to access his funds and pay bills.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    It would be good to have Power of Attorney for both finances and health care. While being his direct descendent will give you precedence in making health care decisions, it won't allow you to pay his bills, deposit any income he is entitled to, sell assets, protect his belongs, and deal with other financial transactions that come up during this time.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    GreenLeaf Law Office
    GreenLeaf Law Office | John GreenLeaf
    If your father is competent, it is much better to have him sign a power of attorney for health care and financial so that you can help alleviate these concerns. A power of attorney for health care will enable you to communicate with his health care providers in order to aid him in this process. The power of attorney for financial will enable you to aid him in taking care of his finances. These two relatively inexpensive documents will most likely stop the need for a lengthy, and expensive guardianship proceeding at some point. As his only child, you have preferential rights with regard to applying for guardianship. However, legally the medical care providers are very limited in what information you may be told. I would highly recommend the powers of attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    The Law Office of David L. Leon
    The Law Office of David L. Leon | David L. Leon
    I'm sorry to hear about your father. Always get a durable power of attorney, if possible. You should also get a medical power, advanced directive and a will, if possible.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Fluhr & Moore, LLC | Steven S. Fluhr
    My condolences on your father's health. As an only child of a divorced parent, you are the sole heir.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    It would be better to have the POA, just so that there are no misunderstandings as to who has the right to act for him. While you are at it, ask your father if he wants to sign a living will. Most now specify who can make the decision to end life support, just like a POA.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 2/12/2014
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