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Information regarding Durable Power of Attorney

San Diego, CA |

I am in California. I have been caring for an elderly friend/neighbor with mild dementia. It is not Alzheimer's at this point so she is fairly competant. We have discussed POA and she is agreeable. I already help her with paying her bills (her accounts, she writes the checks), grocery shopping, doctors appointments, etc. I want to make sure I have everything in the POA. I believe I do, but does POA (after filed with the bank) give me authority to obtain bank statements, cashier's checks (for rent), withdraw money, etc.?

Attorney Answers 3


WIthout seeing the POA it is not possible to say if it is done properly. Also, banks can be quite picky about these things. The bigger issue for you is that you are a non-family member preparing legal documents for another person - this could be considered unauthorized practice of law. Also, as a non-family member your actions will be more closely scrutinized. I would advise that the elderly person hire their own attorney to prepare all the appropriate documents so that the attorney can assess competence and that way the person can decide without you present if they wish for you to be POA. It is best to be safe than sorry.

This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website:

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I agree with Attorney Zelinger. Please have your friend meet with an experienced estate planning lawyer to prepare a proper Power of Attorney, as well as any other documents she may needs. Since she has mild dementia, time is of the essence. Good luck to you and your friend.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.

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Both attorneys are correct. Be cautious. This could turn into no good deed goes unpunished. If you are too involved in the process, you could be accused of financial elder abuse. You should encourage your friend to seek out the assistance of independent counsel. Rosemary Meagher-Leonard is in San Diego and on Avvo.

The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.

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