Did you know that a power of attorney, like a Will, can be challenged by concerned or disgruntled loved ones? This is especially true when the person making the power of attorney is elderly. Family members might be concerned about a lack of mental capacity or about their loved one being coerced into appointing an agent against their will.
If you’re worried that your family members might challenge your power of attorney, there are a few steps you can take ahead of time to minimize the risk.
- Get Help. When you anticipate trouble, it’s smart to get the help of a qualified, experienced expert. Meet with an estate planning attorney and let him or her know your concerns. This will allow your attorney to make the appropriate recommendations and help you take the necessary steps to reduce the chance of a successful challenge to your power of attorney.
- Meet With Your Attorney on Your Own. Particularly if there’s a concern about undue influence, you’ll want to make sure that no relatives or friends accompany you into your actual consultation with your estate planning attorney. It’s fine to have someone drive you to your appointment and wait in the lobby, but having that person sit in on your consultation could give rise to concerns that you were not the one in control of making the decisions.
- Consider Consulting Your Doctor. If lack of mental capacity might present a concern, your attorney may recommend that you see your physician for a written statement certifying that you’re mentally capable of making a power of attorney. The certification will need to be dated as closely as possible to the time your power of attorney is signed.
These are just a few general suggestions for reducing the chance of a challenge to your power of attorney. Your estate planning attorney can give you detailed, personal guidance.