Is it possible to get paid from your parents' assets if you have power of attorney and manage their affairs?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Is it possible to get paid from your parents' assets by taking care of their finances, bookkeeping, investigating nursing home alternatives, etc.? And, where can I find a free printable Personal Care Agreement format (online) that would cover this area? Not physically taking care of my parents inside their home, but managing as power of attorney from another state.

Expert Answer

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

You probably need two documents to accomplish what you wish to across the miles: a power of attorney for finances and a power of attorney for healthcare.

A power of attorney for finances is a document in which a person -- or sometimes an institution such as a bank or trust company – is designated to handle another person's financial affairs.

This document can be tailored to authorize the person to handle everyday financial matters such as rent, insurance, and doctors' bills, as well as major matters such as sale of assets or the management of a business, property, or investments. And it can be set up either to take effect immediately – or only in when a person becomes incapable of handling his or her own financial matters.

I know of no reliable free form for this type of power of attorney, but you can get help from some self-help legal software. When searching for a self-help product that offers a power of attorney form, make certain that it is state-specific and comes with good instructions, as state laws differ on what may be included and on what formalities you must follow to finalize the document.

In a power of attorney for health care, your parents could name you as their agent, giving you the legal authority to make sure their wishes for medical care are followed, or to make all other decisions related to that care, including two that seem important for you:


  •     hiring and firing medical providers, and
  •     admitting to and discharging from hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Free forms should be available from local hospitals.

As for being paid, you have the right to compensation for this only if the documents specifically provide for it. It is not usual to get compensation for serving as a healthcare agent, however.