Common Misconceptions About the Role of a Power of Attorney

July 19th, 2016 by John Wilson

Power of attorney tends to be associated with subjects difficult to acknowledge and discuss, such as a parent’s aging, the potential for a loved one to be incapacitated and end of life planning. It’s no wonder there are so many misconceptions about the role of a power of attorney. Learning more about power of attorney and eliminating the myths will make it easier to have these important conversations. Power of attorney and related matters are better discussed long before considering senior assisted living OKC options for a parent or loved one.

Timing Matters

One of the most common and, as many attorneys would argue, potentially problematic misconceptions has to do with the timing of the power of attorney process. Too often, families wait until a loved one is transitioning from senior citizen assisted living in OKC to memory care, nursing home care or other, more intensive types of care settings to begin the power of attorney process. The misconception is a person needs to be deemed not competent before a family member can seek power of attorney.

Nothing could be, in legal terms, further from the truth. In fact, the exact opposite is true. By its nature, power of attorney is a binding legal agreement. Therefore, in order for a person to sign over power of attorney to a family member, that person must be competent, as defined by law. Before you start shopping around for senior living in Oklahoma City, consider taking the necessary steps to set up power of attorney. That way, it will be there when your family needs it.

Learn how to support those in senior living.

Senior living is a time when individuals need more support.

Not an Unlimited License

Power of attorney does not grant an unlimited license to control the affairs of another. That is another common misunderstanding about the role of a power of attorney. It comes with fiduciary obligations, a term describing the obligation to act in the best interests of the person who has signed over that power. Furthermore, you can be specific about the types of powers that will be signed over and the circumstances that will allow that power of attorney to come into effect.

Because a general power of attorney doesn’t automatically give a person the power to make health decisions, it is important to have a formal Health Care Advanced Directive drawn up. While these are often emotionally difficult conversations to initiate with an aging parent or loved one, they are vital discussions that shouldn’t be left to the last minute. These are not choices to be made in a crisis situation.

Better to Be Prepared

Much of the hesitation people feel concerning power of attorney is based on misconceptions that have somehow become a part of popular culture. Understanding how power of attorney works is the first step to actually putting it in place for when it is needed. Now is the time to put the process in motion so when your parent or loved one begins to transition into senior citizen assisted living in OKC, everything necessary to protect their interests is already in place.

Contact us to learn more about power of attorney and other important documents related to seniors and aging.

Leave a Reply