Who will take care of mom or dad? This is a question that many Michigan families must come to terms with as their parents age. In some families, the adult children work together to take care of the necessary tasks. In other families, there appears to be one individual who retains responsibility for the parents. In either case, addressing this issue and assigning a durable power of attorney is often a necessary part of estate planning.
A durable power of attorney is a document that gives another individual the authority to act on behalf of the individual. As one ages, it is possible that the individual will no longer be able to make his or her own decisions. When this time comes, it is also too late to name another individual to be responsible for such matters. Thus, it is often prudent to create a durable power of attorney prior to it becoming a necessity.
The individual holding the durable power of attorney is the one who has the authority to pay the bills and conduct transactions on behalf of the individuals. In many Michigan families, adult children honor the desires of the parent; however, in some families this is not the case. Children disagree on what should be done and how finances should be handled.
The durable power of attorney, however, clarifies the individual's wishes. With it, the individual clearly indicates the family member or professional who should make these decisions and be responsible for maintaining the individual's estate until it is necessary for the will or other estate planning documents to take effect. An experienced attorney can assist in determining if this is the best option for the individual.
Source: wilmingtonbiz.com, "POA Pitfalls: Potential Problems in Granting Powers of Attorney", Susan Willett, Feb. 1, 2018