“If I don’t have power of attorney over my parent, how do I make decisions for them?”
If you don’t have a proper and valid power of attorney over financial matters, and if your parent is no longer competent, then you can’t make decisions for your parent.
The options become limited to seeking a conservatorship (power over money)and/or guardianship (power over the non money aspects — health, etc) over your parent.
Here are the disadvantages of this:
- It takes time to get this through Probate Court
- It costs money in terms of legal fees, court costs, etc.
The advantages are:
- It does give whoever is appointed power to act
- It is more powerful than a power of attorney as some financial institutions are difficult about honoring certain power of attorney documents — can’t ignore a court’s order though
- It gives more protection to your parent as the court will monitor what is happening
Here’s the bottom line. Much better to have the right person be the power of attorney at the right time than to not have it.
Usually people wait till the last minute to come see us about a crisis and if we had a valid power of attorney, we could act quickly.
But if you haven’t done this and can’t do this, remember there always is the option of going to Probate Court to have someone (you or someone else) appointed to take care of your parent.
If we can help you and your parent lives in Alabama, give us a call at 205-879-2447 or contact us through our online form here.