Power Of Attorney: Preparing for the Unexpected

One of the scariest things to deal with is an adult family member who’s not competent to make their own decisions. Be it an aged parent suffering from dementia or your grown child with mental health issues, this issue can strike anyone. That’s why it’s important for people to have supportive loved ones like yourself in their lives. 

If you’re granted power of attorney over someone else’s financial or medical affairs, you’re being entrusted with their life. The responsibility is heavy and unexpected, and there isn’t much you can do to prepare for it. If you’ve recently been granted—or are about to assume—the power of attorney, then here are some tips to prepare you for the responsibility.


Sometimes mental illness renders adults unable to care for themselves or their financial affairs—sometimes both. When people show that they’re incompetent to make decisions for themselves, the courts appoint someone to be their guardian.

If you’re seeking guardianship over an adult dealing with a mental illness, then you need to prepare for court. You’ll have to prove to a judge that the person you’re seeking guardianship over is incompetent. You’ll also have to prove that you’re up to the job of doing what’s in the best interests of the person in question. 

If you believe that you have a mentally unfit person who needs a guardian, your first task is to confirm your belief. Look for psychiatrists in NYC who specialize in treating your loved one’s illness and find the best fit for your family member. If he or she needs a guardian, then the psychiatrist will let you know. 

Your loved one may not agree to give you guardianship, and even if they do, it’s a matter for the courts to settle. You need to find a lawyer who’s experienced in guardianship and durable power of attorney cases. 

Financial Power Of Attorney

A financial power of attorney is when one person grants the power to make financial decisions to another person. The power of attorney can take effect while the person is alive or be set to spring into effect upon severe illness or death

A durable power of attorney takes effect immediately, and the grantor becomes able to make financial decisions for the grantor right away. Springing power of attorney springs into effect upon illness or death. If you’re the agent in a springing power of attorney case, you’ll have to prove the grantor’s inability to make decisions. 

Before your POA documents take effect, you need to make sure they’re legally binding. In most states, for the power of attorney to be made official, it has to be signed in front of witnesses and notarized. 

If you are involved in a high-level securities dispute, acquiring an expert FINRA attorney from a firm such as Herskovits PLLC in New York can solidify your grounds in the case. Herskovits specializes in cases for brokers, financial institutions, and financial advisors. Some disputes they cover include business raiding, client complaints, and compensation disagreements.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney may be the type of POA that carries the heaviest responsibility with it. Medical POA gives the next of kin to make medical decisions for an incapacitated person. This is usually the spouse, child, or parent of the incapacitated person. 

As the acting agent for someone who’s incapacitated, you’ll be making decisions bout the types of treatments your loved one will receive. Your main responsibility will be to make sure that they’re wishes are respected. Your loved one may not want to receive resuscitation or life support, and it’s up to you to make their wishes known.

Guardianship and power of attorney aren’t responsibilities you should take lightly. When people bestow that level authority upon you, they’re placing a lot of trust in you. Whether they’re relying on you to look after their financial or medical affairs, your job is to represent their best interests. The more prepared you are, the better you can serve your loved one in that capacity.