Springing Power Of Attorney
Q: I have a daughter-in-law that is pressuring my son to give her Power of Attorney. I have reasons to suspect her motives in this matter. My son is in the Army and was stationed in the Middle East. Due to mail getting lost any documents about power of attorney that my son tried to get on base over there.is currently lost and she never got any PoA paperwork. My son is now back from the Middle East (still in the Army) and she is still after him for Power of Attorney. Why would she need that now? Even if he moves about in the USA with FAX and what have you available, why would a wife need Power of Attorney under these current circumstances?
A: A POA is useful in all kinds of circumstances, but particularly when someone becomes disabled. Although you wouldn't want to give a POA to someone you didn't trust, it's hard to imagine a circumstance in which a POA is more suitable than when someone is subject to unannounced deployment to hostile environments. I tell clients that it's more important than a will. If you don't have a will, there are laws that will fill the gap and distribute your property to your next of kin. If you become disabled, and can no longer manage your affairs, they go unmanaged until someone goes to court to have a conservator appointed, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Although I don't generally recommend it, one option for your son is a "springing" POA, which becomes effective only in specified events, e.g. if your son becomes disabled or is deployed overseas. In short, I wouldn't venture to second-guess your concern about your daughter-in-law's motives, but SOMEONE should have your son's power of attorney. I think there are legal offices on most military bases that provide servicemen with advice and assistance in these matters.
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