What are the pros/cons of Power of Attorney?

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What are the pros/cons of Power of Attorney?

My father’s wife is now willing to give us (the family) a POA, 3 weeks after he fell ill and she signed a DNR at the hospital. Frankly, it smells of deceit to me. I think she is trying to clear herself of incurring his outstanding debt, and give it to us. I also feel she has a policy on him and doesn’t want to lose any of that money on the debt and ensuing funeral costs.

Asked on September 9, 2010 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your situation.  If your Father is as gravely ill as you say, then it may be too late for a POA.  Only HE can execute a POA.  It can not be "transferred" from your step mother to you.  And his outstanding debt - debt for the medical bill, etc., - if validly incurred, are debts of his estate and not hers personally. Even the funeral bill, which has priority in payment in most states.  But watch when they ask someone to sign for it personally just in case.  As for the insurance policy. the payment to the beneficiary passes OUTSIDE the estate and can not be attached by creditors.  She has what is known as an insurable interest in his life and the policy is a valid one.  Maybe you should consider putting aside any animosity for your Father's sake at this point in time.  Good luck.   


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