My Power of Attorney Isn't Enough – What Next?
Many people with elderly parents or family members struggle to understand their legal options for protecting their loved ones when their power of attorney isn’t enough.
For example, perhaps the individual has granted power of attorney to someone to help them manage their affairs, but it does not grant them access to certain bank accounts or other assets that need managing. This can also arise if an individual grants a general power of attorney, but fails to execute a healthcare power of attorney so that someone can make medical decisions on their behalf. It is also common that an elderly person may grant power of attorney to too many individuals, and the powers of attorney cannot agree on a course of action.
The best-case scenario is for the individual who granted power of attorney to correct the issue themselves by executing an updated power of attorney. However, it is difficult to determine how to proceed when the individual no longer has the legal capacity to execute a power of attorney to remedy the problem on their own.
One option to consider is interdiction. In other states, it is often referred to as guardianship or conservatorship. The interdiction process allows a court to step in and appoint a person (called the curator), to have control over the individual’s (called the interdict) personal and financial decisions. Upon interdiction, all prior powers of attorney are nullified, and only the curator (or, in some circumstances, multiple curators), may act on behalf of the interdict. This is often the simplest way to protect an elderly individual who is unable to make decisions for him/herself, and who does not have a power of attorney with sufficient authority to act on behalf of the interdict.