A financial power of attorney gives an appointee the power to manage your finances in the event that you are incapacitated. The decision of who will be named the appointee is up to you, but there might be some backlash from your family. If you want to avoid any challenges to your power of attorney, here are some ways that you can.
Even if you live in a state that does not require you to sign your financial power of attorney in front of witnesses, you need to have at least two on hand. The witnesses can not only be sure that you are in good condition to agree to the terms of the document, but they can also testify in court if the document is challenged by family.
Make a Recording
When it is time to actually sign the financial power of attorney, you can make a video recording of the proceeding. In the event that the document is challenged, your attorney can present the recording in court.
The recording cannot substitute for the financial power of attorney or any other estate planning documents, but it can help to show the mental and physical condition that you were in at the time of the signing.
It is important to note that your appearance and behavior could be closely scrutinized in court. Even the smallest twitch could be painted in an unflattering light by your family. Review the recording with your attorney to ensure that it will stand up in court.
Request a Doctor's Statement
Before the signing of the document, ask your doctor to sign a statement that details your mental and physical condition. Ideally, the statement should be created as close to the date of the actual signing as possible.
If your family does challenge the financial power of attorney, the doctor's statement can be used to rebut any claims that you were not mentally or physically able to make decisions. You can go the added step of discussing the possibility of testifying with your doctor. If the family argues that the statement is not enough, your doctor could provide additional insight into your overall health.
Consult with your estate attorney (like those at Albert & Slater PS and other firms) to learn other ways that you can ensure your financial power of attorney is honored by your family. He or she can also assist with other aspects of your estate planning so that your plans are legally sound according to your state's laws.