When you sign a financial power of attorney, it is usually with the thought that you are ensuring that your finances are taken care of in the event that you are unable to. Unfortunately, there could be challenges to your decision from family members who feel they are in a better position to handle your business. To prevent challenges, here are some things you can do.
Have Two Witnesses During Signing
When you and your estate planning attorney are creating your financial power of attorney, it is important that you have at least two witnesses present. The witnesses can offer more than just a signature on your document.
Witnesses can be called on in court to testify about your demeanor when you signed the document. For instance, the witnesses can verify that you were mentally sound and that you were not under duress when you signed it. Of all the ways you can prevent challenges, this is one of the most effective.
Create a Videotape
You cannot use the videotape to state that you want someone to handle your financial affairs if you are unable to, but you can use it to help show your state at the time that the document was signed.
The videotape can be played in court so that a judge can assess your mental and emotional stability when you signed the document. Be sure that the tape is kept with the financial power of attorney for safekeeping.
Obtain a Doctor's Statement
Ask your doctor to provide a statement that details just how mentally sound you are during the period in which the document is signed. The statement does not have to be long. It can be short and merely state that at the time the doctor saw you, you were in good mental condition and capable of making decisions.
As with the videotape, it is important that you include the statement with your power of attorney. As a extra precautionary measure, ask the doctor if she or she would be willing to testify if called on about your mental state in case there is a challenge.
Prepare for possible challenges now. It can prevent a possible delay in how your financial matters are handled, which can play into how your medical bills, utility bills, and other financial obligations are paid. Talk to an attorney, like Robert Stone Attorney at Law, about other ways that you can protect your finances and ensure that your wishes are respected.