How do I put into force a POA document my husband prepared eleven years ago?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

As I was taking care of some business that my husband had let lapse, I discovered, among his papers, an extensive POA document he had prepared in a law office more than a decade ago. It is most explicit about my managing taxes and property, etc. He has suffered from degrees of depression all his life, so he must have foreseen our situation as it is now. We have come to a juncture where I need to take over, communicate with the IRS on his behalf and access his funds if my own run out for paying back taxes and repairing and selling real estate. How do I enforce this power?

Expert Answers

You want to know how you can enforce a POA that your husband prepared over a decade ago. I assume the POA is "durable,"which means it remains legally valid even if your husband becomes mentally incapacitated. The POA remains legally valid.

If the POA is "durable," you can enforce it"”ie act for him on his financial matters"”simply by acting as his "agent," the term for the person who is given authority to act under a POA. To conduct a financial transaction for your husband, notify any institutions, financial or otherwise, that you are acting for your husband as his agent under the POA. If demanded, you can give them a copy of the POA. Legally you have full power to act under the POA. It is unlikely that any financial institution would refuse to accept your authority. If one did, you could point out that the law requires that it accept your authority, and it would be legally liable for damages if it refused to.