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Durable Powers of Attorney – Friend or Foe?

Seniors routinely execute Durable Powers of attorney which nominate someone to be in control of their financial affairs when they are no longer able to do so. However, at the recent American Bar Association’s National Aging and Law Conference, Charles Sabatino, Director of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging, noted that “powers of attorney are so widely abused it is like writing a check with no one looking over.”  Discussions included the requirement that the person you nominate to handle your affairs must obtain approval of another person to make decisions over certain amounts or must report to a third party periodically about his/her actions in order to institute a system of checks and balances.

Unfortunately, no system is perfect and as many seniors have unfortunately learned, if someone wants to commit a crime of exploitation, there is little that can be done to prevent it from occurring. Nevertheless, seniors should understand the pitfalls of a power of attorney and should be very careful in the selection of the person to make decisions for them regarding their financial affairs.  Documents can be carefully crafted to minimize the risks and the use of routine documents that can be downloaded from the internet or obtained from “form” stores should be reconsidered.

If you are in need of a Power of Attorney and would like to speak to a knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney please call our Las Vegas law firm at 702-798-4955.

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