When Aunt Gertrude asked her niece Milly to be her Agent on her Power of Attorney document, Milly was only too happy to oblige. She loves her Aunt Gertrude. For the first few years, there was little to do because Aunt Gertrude was able to care for herself and make her own decisions. Both of them were happy.
Fast forward a few years and Aunt Gertrude is now in assisted living. Aunt Gertrude still insists that she can care for her own personal and financial needs. Except that she really can’t, she just doesn’t recognize it. So Milly has to “help” her dear Aunt in a manner that seems to be almost against her dear Aunt’s wishes. She is helping her in spite of the way Aunt Gertrude still acts and talks as if she doesn’t need Milly’s help.
Or, it could go the other way. Aunt Gertrude is in assisted living, but retains all of her faculties and is able to care for 95% of her own needs, including 100% of her financial needs. But Milly, seeing and opportunity, has the mailing address for all of Aunt Gertrude’s financial statements sent to Milly’s home address. Milly is consistently “accepting gifts” from Aunt Gertrude, writing checks on her Aunt’s checking account under the authority of the Power of Attorney document. Aunt Gertrude feels trapped.
In both of these examples, the person feels trapped. Whether it is Milly in the first example or Aunt Gertrude in the second example, they feel like there is no way out. The solution is to have a third party overseer attached to every power of attorney document: A person who is reported to, at least annually, with a recitation of what has happened under the authority of the power of attorney document.
The new Power of Attorney law has reshaped the Agent’s duties. Talk to your attorney about a third party overseer, and please consider talking with us at Mateya Law Firm. We will be happy to assist you with your estate planning and elder law issues.