Does the power of attorney form need to have both parent's names on it?

Ablond2 asked...

Both my mom and dad have requested that I be granted their power of attorney. If the form is in my dad's name only, will it still be legal for me to handle my mom's affairs as well?

Expert Answer

Each of your parents should sign a separate power of attorney form. A form in you dad's name, signed only by him, does not validly give you authority to handle your mother's affairs.

To handle financial affairs, each of your parents should sign what's called a "durable power of attorney." Each parent would authorize you to handle his or her financial affairs. The form is called "durable" because it remains effective if the signer becomes incapacitated and incompetent. A normal power of attorney is valid only as long as the signer is competent.

Each of your parents should also prepare and sign what is sometimes called a "durable power of attorney for health care." This document can go by other names, including "Advance Health Care Directive." This document is designed to be effective if the signer has become incompetent and can no longer make his or he own health care decisions. The document serves two basic purposes:

  • The signer can state his or her basic desires regarding use of life-support technology and other key medical issues;

  • The signer can appoint someone who has authority to enforce the signer's intention, and to make medical decisions for the signer if the signer is incompetent.

You should be able to obtains "durable power of attorney for health care" forms from your state medical association.