Do I need to draw up paperwork for power of attorney with a lawyer?

My 53 year old aunt has heart disease, fibromyalgia, lupus and RA. She is married to a man who treats her horribly almost all of the time. He wants her to stop taking all her meds. He also has control over her money and sometimes it seems to just disappear. Leaving her with nothing for the end of the month. He

disappears from time to time without explanation. She is wheel chair bound and

practically helpless. She and I have discussed my becoming power of attorney for her. I want to do it right.

Asked on September 17, 2016 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You don't *need* an attorney to draw up a power of attorney ("power of attorney" is the document; if you are given power by it, you are called the "attorney-in-fact" or "agent")--there is no legal requirement for a lawyer to create a POA, and you and your aunt can draw up one yourselves. Of course, letting an attorney help you is strongly recommended, since the lawyer is much more likely than laypersons to draft one that is clear, understandable, meets all your needs, and is fully enforceable.
Bear in mind that a power of attorney will not stop your aunt's husband from taking money from a joint account (since he's on the account, he has full right to access the funds) or from taking money if your aunt voluntarily gives it to him. A power of attorney lets you *also* act for her, but doesn't prevent anyone (her or her husband) who currently has power over her finances from acting.
You aunt may wish to speak to a family or matrimonial law attorney about divorcing a man who treats her horribly, withholds her meds, and takes her money--that, not a POA, is the only way to really protect her.


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