Power of Attorney
Power of attorney is an important part of family law and estate planning. The basic role of a power of attorney is to allow someone to legally make decisions and act on your behalf. The person granting permission is often called the principal and the person being granted permission to act on the behalf of the principal is often referred to as the agent.
What It Does
- Mental State – The mental state of the principal is very important. A person cannot sign a power of attorney if they are unable to understand the law and implications of the document.
- Death – While many people think about getting a power of attorney in the event of their death, it is also important to consider the responsibilities of the agent should the principal become unable to make legal decisions, such as when a person has a deteriorating mental state or can no longer make medical decisions.
- Estate and Wealth – An agent can be designated as the person responsible for the estate of the principal after death.
- Healthcare – There are several medical procedures and conditions that can cause a person to become incapacitated. If the principal is no longer able to make medical decisions, an agent can have the power to make medical decisions on behalf of the agent.
Validity and Legality
A power of attorney can only be considered valid when it is created when the principal is competent and capable of understanding the implications of signing a legal document. All too often children or relatives of aging adults do not worry about power of attorney until it is too late and their loved ones are no longer in a mental state to fully understand the implications of the documents they are signing.
There are rules and limitations to what an agent can do with your estate. While an agent has a lot of power in matters concerning the principals estate they are limited in what they have a right to do. It is the job of the agent to act with the best interest of the principal, which means that even if the agent has the power to do something does not mean that they have to right to act.
How To Choose Your Agent
Your agent should be a trustworthy person who you believe will act in your best interest and understands your wishes. Most people will choose a child, relative or close friend as their agent. Miller & Terry, Attorneys at Law can help you when you decide you need a power of attorney or any other aspect of family law.
If you or someone you know need legal assistance in Kansas or Missouri, contact us today at (816) 875-0470!