Power of attorney red flags

When individuals Georgia begin to work on an estate plan, they may decide to provide financial power of attorney to one of their children, another relative or a family friend. The person who has power of attorney can make certain financial decisions for the individual if he or she becomes incapacitated.

While a power of attorney is often a good way to protect oneself and one's assets during a difficult time, there are also risks involved in giving someone else this much power. There have been cases in which people have abused their power to take advantage of someone who was elderly, ill or recovering from a severe accident. In some cases, the victim found that his or her finances were neglected, mismanaged or stolen.

Legal and financial professionals note that power of attorney documents can be structured to restrict just how much control an individual has over another's financial accounts. It is possible to place restrictions in the document as a way of protecting assets from being misused.

A red flag that may indicate fraud is when a friend or family member begins to pressure an individual to complete a power of attorney document. While estate planning is necessary, it should be done with due consideration and without pressure on the person making the plan.

Individuals who are working on an estate plan may benefit from speaking with an experienced attorney. The lawyer may be able to review the client's case and make recommendations regarding a variety of issues including wills, end-of-life medical issues and financial decisions. An attorney may also be able to review an existing power of attorney to make sure that it benefits the client.

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