My mom has Alzheimer’s disease. Can she give me power of attorney?
A person who makes a Power of Attorney (principal) gives another individual (commonly called the power of attorney or agent) the ability to act on their behalf. The authority of the agent can be broad including signing the principal’s checks, withdrawing money from bank accounts, buying and selling real estate or gaining access to the principal’s safe deposit box at a bank.
As a result, the principal must understand the consequences of what she is doing. If your mother has advanced Alzheimer’s disease, it is very likely she does not have the mental capacity to sign a document naming you her power of attorney. If there is a question about her capacity, a lawyer should meet with her and then, if required, have a doctor provide a letter stating his opinion as to whether your mother is sufficiently competent to understand the consequences of giving you power of attorney.
The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments in the elderly population is a compelling reason why a person should make a power of attorney when they are young. Failure to prepare a power of attorney can lead to the much more time consuming and costly process of a family member having to obtain guardianship through the courts as to an ailing relative.
Nicholas Giuditta is a trusts and estates attorney in Westfield. He prepares estate plans for high net worth individuals and regularly represents executors and administrators of estates. Find out how your family can benefit by contacting Mr. Giuditta at 908-232-0099 or visit his website at www.giudittalaw.com.
The questions and answers by Nicholas A. Giuditta, III, of the Law Office of Nicholas A. Giuditta, III, provided herein are for general information purposes only. The information does not, nor is it intended to, constitute legal advice and is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Online readers should not act upon this information without discussing the particular facts of their matter with an attorney.