Can I legally draft a power of attorney document for an elderly aunt?

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Can I legally draft a power of attorney document for an elderly aunt?

My aunt is 101 years old, blind, has diminished cognition and is currently residing in a nursing home. She is a widow and never had children biological or adopted. Her deceased husband’s nephew previously had power of attorney and originally placed her in a nursing home approximately 10 years ago. This nephew died last year. She has no other living relatives and I am the only person that visits her in the nursing. The nursing home consults with me for all decisions regarding her medical care. I don’t technically have power of attorney but would like to secure it in order to handle her legal matters and make health care decisions. She has no known assets other than a life insurance that may or may not be active/current. Am I able to draft a power of attorney myself without hiring an attorney?

Asked on November 7, 2016 under Estate Planning, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you legally can draft a POA yourself--there is no need for an attorney to do this.  However, there is certain language which must be included, which makes having an attorney hightly beneficial, to make sure you don't omit critical language (otherwise, you'll have to look it up yourself). Also, it must be signed in front of two witnesses, neither of whom can be the agent (the person given power by the POA), and both of whom must sign it, too.


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