You can appoint an individual to make decisions on your behalf and name this person under your power of attorney. You can make this be a family member or a friend or you might even choose a designated professional, such as an attorney, to receive power of attorney privileges. The power of attorney agent has significant influence depending on the wording inside the original document. Under a durable power of attorney, the named agent has the authority to manage property including its sale.
Frequently, it is the duty and responsibility of the agent under the power of attorney to sell belongings of the person they are representing. For example, if the represented individual is not competent and is now living permanently in an assisted living or nursing care facility, it will fall to power of attorney agent to manage their finances. That would include paying for their care which could potentially involve the sale of the home and its contents. Although it might not be good practice or the best ethical situation for a power of attorney agent to sell items without consulting with the individual or family members, this can be very difficult to prevent. The only legal recourse if you have an elderly loved one who has appointed someone else as a power of attorney agent and that agent is acting without consulting the family is to ask the court to appoint someone else on behalf of your elderly loved one which would enable you to revoke a power of attorney.
This could be a very uphill and expensive battle especially if the durable power of attorney also nominates the current agent to serve as guardian as conservator. Schedule a consultation today with a Michigan estate planning lawyer to discuss things you can do to help increase your chances of success with estate planning. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you understand the different things you can name inside a power of attorney to protect yourself.
A well drafted financial power of attorney with a responsible and diligent agent is one of the most, if not the single most, important parts of a functional, comprehensive estate plan. Every person over the age of 18 should at least consider putting some basic powers of attorney in place should the unexpected occur.
Are you thinking about creating or updating a power of attorney document? Our Michigan estate planning law firm is here to help you. We’re still available to set up phone calls with you and assist you with creation and review of documents. Contact our firm today to set up your meeting.