Are You Sending Your Child to College with a Power of Attorney Form?

As a parent it’s easy to feel like your job might never be done but as your child goes off to college this fall, remember that you will not be able to make decisions for them if they are age 18 and above. This is because they are viewed as a legal adult and you are no longer able to make decisions on their behalf which can become problematic in a medical emergency. This is why many parents are increasingly talking about having their college student sign medical power of attorney forms.

Whether you’re sending your student to UVA, Virginia Tech, George Mason, Tidewater Community College, Liberty University, Old Dominion, College of William and Mary, or any of the other great schools in Virginia, get a power of attorney created first.

Hopefully, you’ll never have to turn to or use this form but it can give you great peace of mind if and when something happens to your loved one on campus and you need to be able to take action quickly.

Hospital legal departments are well aware of what is and isn’t allowed, meaning that they might not allow you to make decisions on behalf of an incapacitated legal adult, even if you are able to prove that you are the parent. A power of attorney can name you as a person eligible to receive this information or to make decisions on behalf of your child if something happens to them.

No parent wants to be in the position of trying to get information about their child’s condition from hours or even states away and getting declined. When you have a power of attorney document in place, you can provide this to hospitals or other care providers so that you’re kept informed about your child’s status.

Especially in light of the pandemic and the many different health-related challenges that could face students going off to campus this fall, it’s a good idea to meet with an estate planning lawyer in Virginia Beach and to talk through your options.



Do You Have a Just-In-Case List?

If something happened to you and you weren’t able to speak for yourself, do you have a plan for who could find important documents and enable you to remain focused on your medical care?

A just-in-case list provides important access details for a chosen loved one to be able to gather the necessary information to take care of your affairs.

This person may also be appointed as your power of attorney and the just-in-case list makes it that much easier for them to find important details. Rather than sorting through paperwork or trying to find where on your computer you’ve stored things like your primary care physician’s contact information or your health insurance details, a just-in-case list puts this all together in one location so that in a quick instant your chosen family member or trusted friend can access it and provide these details to who need it.

Be aware that without a power of attorney document in place and an executed version of that power of attorney to show financial institutions, you will not be able to make financial transactions on behalf of a loved one.

Certain banks and other financial institutions have their own power of attorney form that must be completed. Be prepared to find all of these pertinent details if you’ve been appointed as a power of attorney agent and make things easier when you name your own power of attorney agent by creating a just-in-case list.

Ready to match your just in case list with the rest of your estate plan? Meet today with a Virginia Beach estate planning attorney for clarity.



What Are the Disadvantages of Skipping a Power of Attorney?

You’ve probably heard that a last will and testament is one of the most important estate planning documents you can have. While this is certainly true, it can be a mistake to overlook key estate planning documents that should supplement the statements in your will like a power of attorney. Everyone should have a POA document regardless of your age, because it’s critical to ensure your wishes are carried out if you can’t speak for yourself.

A power of attorney names an agent, also known as an attorney in fact, to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so or in specific circumstances. There can be many complicated questions around this process and it is important to appoint a party who is comfortable in serving in this role and someone you trust. A few different issues can arise if you do not have a POA document.

The judicial steps that lead to the appointment of another party can take some time. This can drain your friends and family of money and time at a difficult time in your life when you are incapacitated. The second major disadvantage of skipping a power of attorney is that you have no say in who your agent will be. The court will have authority to appoint someone to act on your behalf and even in the event that this person is close to you, they may not be responsible enough to make proper decisions.

That’s why it’s a good idea to exercise control over these concerns by establishing a power of attorney document. Schedule a time to sit down with your estate planning lawyer in Virginia Beach, VA to walk through the options.

Get an Attorney to Review Your POA Document

Has someone you know asked you to execute a power of attorney that names you as their agent? Never sign a power of attorney document without having your own estate planning lawyer view it first. There are many different mistakes that could be made in a power of attorney document and all of them can be avoided by consulting with a trusted estate planning lawyer in your area.

Making a mistake in your POA document could be very expensive and problematic, particularly if you unintentionally give authority over you or your assets to someone who can’t be trusted.

Many of the most common POA mistakes can be avoided but having a relationship with an estate planning attorney who can help spot these errors in your existing POA document or can advise you about the proper language to include in a new one. Some of the most common POA mistakes include:

  • Using a general POA when a limited power of attorney would have been more appropriate.
  • Naming a person that you can’t truly trust as your agent.
  • Giving an agent who cannot be trusted with too much power.
  • Executing a power of attorney to someone who cannot serve in that role, such as a treating physician.

For more advice on how to minimize the possibility of a poorly executed POA or a POA that exerts unintended authority on untrustworthy people, set aside a time to consult with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer about the documents. A VA Beach estate planning lawyer is here to guide you.


Does a Virginia College Student Really Need a Power of Attorney?

You’ve thought about all of the different details for your college bound child’s life but have you thought about what it would take to step in and make decisions on his or her behalf if they were unable to do so? This requires a power of attorney after your child has passed age 18. You are no longer legally able to make decisions or make inquiries on their behalf without a power of attorney document.

If your college age student puts together a power of attorney, however, and appoints you as the attorney in fact, you become eligible to manage legal and financial matters on behalf of your adult child. It might seem like a minor detail but this can be extremely important.

You can help with everyday tasks like renewing passport, managing car registration, updating a driver’s license or responding to a jury duty summons in the event that you have power of attorney over that individual. No matter where your child goes to college in Virginia,

Some of the most important factors to consider in determining what to think about when creating a power of attorney include illness or disability, business commitments, current or ongoing legal issues, location and distance and worst case scenario planning.

The assistance of an estate planning lawyer can go a long way in helping you to prepare a power of attorney document and ensuring that the person who has been appointed as the attorney in fact understands this role and is capable of stepping in to manage the important tasks outlined under the POA. Since a power of attorney can be broad or specific, it’s important to discuss these aspects with your college age student to help determine what is most appropriate for you in that situation.

Your Virginia Beach estate planner can assist you with this document creation.




What Is the Job of a Financial Power of Attorney?

Has a loved one recently named you as their financial power of attorney? Do you understand all of the potential responsibilities that this entails? Hopefully you won’t need to spring into action as a financial power of attorney agent immediately, but it is well worth thinking about.

A financial power of attorney is a document that allows someone who created it to act on behalf of the principal. Primarily, under a financial power of attorney this means that the agent can pay the principal’s bills, access accounts, buy and sell investments, buy and sell real estate or pay that person’s taxes. These responsibilities might sound overwhelming if you didn’t realize that these are all the roles that you would have to play.

It’s only natural to feel slightly overwhelmed. Make sure that you have a conversation with the person who created this power of attorney to discuss their intentions for you serving in this role and whether there are any specific directions or guidelines that you should follow.

If the person becomes incapacitated and the power of attorney is activated, you will no longer be able to ask these questions so it’s a good idea to incorporate it into your conversation with the principal creator of this document now. If you have been named as an agent in a financial power of attorney and would now like to discuss your own options for creating a financial power of attorney with the help of an estate planner, contact our office in Virginia Beach today.


Understanding A Health Care Power of Attorney: Do You Need One?

Every American should have access to a health care power of attorney that has been drafted or reviewed by an experienced estate planning lawyer. This is a document that you hope that you never have to use but one that will make things much easier for your family in times of distress.

In this document, as the principal person, you can direct another person to be able to make health care choices on your behalf, if you become unable to communicate your own health care decisions or suffer from an incapacity that makes you unable to make these decisions on your own.

Some physicians will consider seeking out health decisions and input from adult children or a spouse, but you should still name a party in this legal capacity. This document becomes even more important if you do not have a person available to you to make health care choices on your behalf or if there is contention among the family members about what is right for your care.

While everyone can benefit from a health care power of attorney, those most at risk for having problems with this include single people, young adults, unmarried partners, and those who do not trust their family members’ judgement. Giving your friends and family peace of mind because they know your plan is another added benefit of creating a health care power of attorney. Contact our office in Virginia Beach for a phone call discussion about your POA today.



Does My Elderly Parent Need a POA?

There are many scenarios when it makes sense for your elderly parent to have a power of attorney document in place that names you as the agent. While some of these situations help in terms of convenience, there are others that might arise making it a real necessity to be able to speak up for your parent and make decisions for them.

If it becomes too hard for your mother or father to keep up with their own bills and they feel that it is overwhelming or mistakes are being made, this could be a sign that they need assistance with organization. Having a financial power of attorney empowers you to make these decisions for them and help them pay these bills on a regular basis.

If your loved one has a surgery planned in the near future, they might need you to take over on their behalf. In the event of an accident or other situation in which your loved one is not able to manage for themselves, a power of attorney document gives them peace of mind that you can step in at a moment’s notice.

A recent diagnosis might also be the trigger point for you to draft a power of attorney document. If your loved one is now trying to figure out what their future looks like, having a power of attorney document means that your loved one can continue making decisions on their own behalf until they become unable to do so anymore. At that point, the power of attorney is activated so that you can help them decide the best financial and medical options for them with their condition.

Need help reviewing or drafting your POA in Virginia? Schedule a meeting today.

What Is the Difference Between A Durable Power of Attorney and A Power of Attorney?

If you are planning on setting up a consultation with an experienced Virginia estate planning lawyer, one of your questions might be about some of the tools you’ll use over the course of your life to enable other people to make decisions on your behalf. One of these most popular forms is a power of attorney.

A power of attorney assigns the authority to another person known as an agent to act on your behalf based on the specific powers you outline within the document.

There are different forms of powers of attorney that you can use to enable an agent with different levels of authority. However, any power of attorney could be designed as durable.

A durable power of attorney is distinct because it automatically extends the duration of the power of attorney in the event that you are mentally incompetent at the time that it will expire.

Each state also has their own authority to establish laws around power of attorney documents. This is why it is important to schedule a meeting with a Virginia estate planning lawyer to discuss steps you need to take in order to protect yourself when crafting a power of attorney in Virginia.

The most common types of power of attorney are health care powers or medical powers of attorney and general powers of attorney.

A special power of attorney can also be used to restrict the scope of an agent’s authority by naming only specific transactions that that agent is eligible to do. Schedule a consultation with a Virginia estate planning lawyer who can help to advise you about how to use powers of attorney.



How to Guard Against Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Whether you are care taking for an elderly loved one or concerned about the possibility of being targeted for elder abuse yourself, it is important to realize the signs and symptoms of someone attempting to take advantage of the elderly.

Some of the following behaviors are indications that someone has been involved in perpetrating financial abuse against an elderly person.

These include:

  • Using the property or possessions of the elderly person without permission.
  • Directly stealing money or property from the elderly person.
  • Forging the elderly individual’s signatures on documents or checks.
  • Forcing the elderly person to sign a legal document like a power of attorney deed or will, listing the perpetrator of the abuse as the one who is responsible for the elderly person and who will benefit when that elderly individual passes away.
  • Perpetrating telemarketing scams in which the elderly person is contacted and deceived.
  • Charging things against an elderly individual’s credit cards without the authorization of the card holder.

It is very important for every elderly person and family members who are helping to articulate a long term plan for those who could be exposed to financial abuse to know these challenges and to exercise tools such as a power of attorney to appoint a trust worthy agent to act on behalf of the elderly person.

Selecting the right power of attorney agent can have important implications for the loved one’s medical and financial decisions. Now is the time to speak with a dedicated Virginia lawyer about your power of attorney planning.