When should you arrange for power of attorney? 31 Answers as of October 07, 2013

My mother has early onset Alzheimer’s. She is okay now to handle her estate, but won't be for much longer. How can we set it up so I will have power of attorney when she's fully disabled and not sooner? I know she wants to hold that off as long as possible.

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Law Office of William Stoddard | William Stoddard
As fast as you can, while others will not recognize she is starting to fail. She has to be able to say this is what she wants to do or a Notary is not going to sign his/her name to the document.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 10/7/2013
Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
Do it immediately. If she signs it after Alzheimer's has set in, it could be challenged.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/4/2013
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
You need her to sign a durable power of attorney for asset management while she is still competent.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/2/2013
Peters Law, PLLC
Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
If you wait until she can't make the decision, the power of attorney will be invalid. What you should do is set up the power of attorney now, but make it effective when her doctor, or two independent physicians give an opinion that she is mentally unable to handle her affairs.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 10/1/2013
Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
I suggest you get power of attorney as soon as possible. Since she has already been diagnosed with Alzheimer's but is still legally competent, this would be the best time to do it. Also, since she is still handling her own affairs, it can help to prove that she had requisite capacity to create a power of attorney if that should ever become an issue. She can create one that will "spring up" or become effective at the moment she becomes incompetent or establish one that is effective immediately. You can go to any estate planning attorney to create the document for her. It might also be a good time to get her other affairs in order as well since she can still make those decisions for herself. If you need further assistance, please contact me at anytime.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 10/1/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    She can begin the process now, so that when the onset happens it will be in place. POA does not have to go in to effect until the person wants it to go into effect. The stipulations that she wants can be placed in the document itself. You may want to get the help of an attorney to help you out on this.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Law Office of Edward M. Burgh, APC | Edward M. Burgh
    Right away!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/30/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    As soon as possible. Many powers of attorney are springing and only go into effect when she is no longer able to make decisions. I suggest she meet with an estate planning attorney to get her estate affairs in order. Best of luck to all of you.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/30/2013
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    If she has Alzheimer you need it NOW. Once she is fully memory disabled she will not have the power to grant a power of attorney since she will be disabled.. and you will have to file guardianship for her. To get it now tell her that you will not use it unless it is needed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    The general Power of Attorney (POA) can be made to be effective despite the incompetence of the Principal. The trick is have a POA become effective only upon the incompetence of the Principal. This could well require a medical/legal determination of competency. It is generally better and easier for your mother to appoint someone she trusts now and trust that person not to act until it is necessary.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    This should actually be done as part of a general review of your mom's estate plan. She needs to make sure that her will says what she wants, that beneficiaries are named on life insurance and retirement plans. Do NOT be seduced by joint accounts and other "probate avoidance:" this creates a mess. Probate is easy and sensible in Oregon. Some lawyers disagree, but I feel that if you're trustworthy, your mom can give you a power of attorney which is effective right now. You don't have to use it. This way, you don't have to prove that she is incapacitated in order to act (and if you do have to prove she's incapacitated, then why bother with power of attorney? Just petition to be named her conservator when the time comes). Also, if you have power of attorney now, you can make a smooth transition. Your mom can turn over her financial affairs gradually, as she chooses. Power of attorney is not a license to steal, and it doesn't allow you to do what you want. It allows you to do what your mother wants even if you don't think it's best. It's her call, as long as she can make it, and if she sets up a plan you have to stick to it even after she's incapacitated. But don't piecemeal things. See a lawyer for a full review of her estate plan, including whether she may possibly need to qualify for Medicaid at some point. Take the long view.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire | Neal M. Rimer
    The document you want is called a "springing durable power of attorney" and only becomes operative upon your mom's incompetence. The key to working on that document is identifying what you, as the holder of the power, must do to have the power of attorney start. Do you need a doctor's letter indicating that your mom cannot handle her affairs any longer? Two doctor's? Her current doctor who is her internist? An Alzheimer's doctor? Just your own certification? What happens if your mother disagrees with your or the doctor(s)? How does that get resolved? Good luck. Should you have any questions or wish to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Law Offices of R. Christine Brown | R. Christine Brown
    Your mother should sign a power of attorney form now. The power of attorney can be "springing" so it becomes effective only when she loses her capacity to handle her financial affairs. When she loses her capacity, it is too late for her to sign a power of attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Horn & Johnsen SC
    Horn & Johnsen SC | Dera L. Johnsen-Tracy
    It is essential that your mother has a consultation with an estate planning attorney right away in her state of residence. If she becomes incapacitated with no estate planning documents in place, including a financial power of attorney and a power of attorney for health care, then you will likely end up in a guardianship proceeding in which a judge will decide who should make financial and health care decisions for her. In addition, if your mother does not put a will or living trust in place now, it will be too late once she is incapacitated.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C.
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C. | Donald Scher
    You should have her take action immediately to make a Durable POA. The language of the POA can state that the power is granted to the agent to act upon the occurrence of a stated event, ie. Her regular doctor determines and states in writing that she is unable to make informed decisions or manage her affairs properly.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    It?s called a springing power of attorney. Easy to prepare.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    Your mother is the one who grants you her power of attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    She can easily write a power of attorney that is effective only on disability. However, I recommend that you make it effective now, but that you continue to let her handle her own affairs as long as possible. Also, you and she may find that she at some point wants you to handle some things while she continues to handle others.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    She should consider something called a "Springing" Power of Attorney. She can consult with an attorney specializing in estate planning for this.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    The Power Of Attorney does not have to be effective when it is signed. You can have a Power Of Attorney drafted which become effective only upon mental or physical disability and can define what that means as well.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Law Office of David T Egli | David T. Egli
    Your mother should execute a power of attorney before she is unable to handle her financial matters. The type of power of attorney is known as a "springing" durable power of attorney. In the power of attorney it contains a provision that it will only become effective upon the principal's incapacity. Your mother should also consider execute a California Advance Health Care Directive to name a health care agent who will make medical decisions for her if she become unable to communicate with her doctor. It also includes a provision as to whether she wants to authorize the removal of life sustaining treatment if she is in a terminal condition.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    The document should be executed soon. Your mother can make it not valid until she is disabled and certified by one or two doctors.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    First you need to find out if your state allows POAs for people who are incompetent and have no chance of returning to competency. If it does, the document should state when the power goes into effect and that the POA is effective until her death. She will also want to recommend you as her guardian in case the POA is overturned. Everyone should have a POA document; there's no need to wait until something serious happens.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Advise you take your mom to an estate planning attorney NOW to prepare the power of attorney, advance healthcare directive, and trust if she has assets to pass on to her children. DO NOT DELAY, as you do not know what tomorrow will bring. This is urgent.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    The power of attorney should be executed right away. By its terms, it can provide that it is effective only upon her disability or can be effective immediately but she remains in control until she becomes incapacitated.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    She has to see an attorney, preferably without you so there are no question of influence. She can do a SPRINGING power of attorney NOW that gives her agent authority to act only upon incapacity. This way she retains control until she can no longer make her own decisions. She should see an attorney now because if she waits, it might end up being too late.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    The Taylor Law Office L.L.C.
    The Taylor Law Office L.L.C. | Ian A. Taylor
    From your specific information your mother is likely looking for a Springing power of attorney to Spring when she is determined to be fully incompetent. The agent would take over when she's deemed incompetent. SC uses a statutory form as do many states, but it is recommended that your mother seek the advice of an attorney to discuss the ramifications, requirements and to put herself at ease that if she needs this type of protection that it would be in her best interest. Good Luck to you and your mother.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    Get an estate planning attorney to prepare the paperwork for you. This is not an expensive service, but it is important to get a good form you can work with and an attorney who can help provide you with advice, as things progress. You are wise to take care of this as soon as possible, in order to avoid the need for probate appointment of a guardian/conservator.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    You and your mother should make an appointment with a local estate planning attorney now. The power of attorney can be written so that when she is incapable of handling her affairs, someone else can take over. Don't wait until it is too late or you will have to file for conservatorship and that may costs 4 or 5 times as much as planning now.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Law Offices of Robert H. Glorch | Jeffrey R. Gottlieb
    Sooner rather than later. Estate planning is best completed when completely healthy. She said talk with an estate planning attorney about all options.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/1/2013
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    She should do it now, while there is no question as to her mental capacity.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 10/1/2013
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