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Do I need a doctor’s note to use my Mom’s Power of Attorney in Gloucester County, New Jersey?

Posted on Fri Jul 17, 2015, on Power of Attorney

From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: Gloucester County Power of Attorney Use Requirement

Most Recently Updated July 18, 2018.

“My mother, who lives in Gloucester County, New Jersey, is having serious health problems. She wants me to be able to use her general power of attorney, but it says I need a doctor’s note saying that she is incapacitated. Is that normal?”

Gloucester County Power of Attorney Use Requirement

Gloucester County Power of Attorney Use Requirement

Your mother has a “Leaping” Power of Attorney, which at one time was the normal document that Gloucester County estate planning lawyers would prepare. A Leaping Power of Attorney gives the “Agent” the power to act for the person if-and only if-that person has become incapacitated and the Agent can secure a letter from the person’s doctor certifying that face. Without the doctor’s letter, the power of attorney is useless.

Hesitation from Doctors

The problem with Leaping Powers of Attorney is that doctors, fearing lawsuits, are hesitant to sign letters declaring the person is incapacitated-especially when they know that the letter will give power to the Agent to access the patient’s money.

Instead, the normal document drafted by a Gloucester County Estate Planning Lawyer these days gives the Agent the power to act as soon as the document is signed. This does present the problem of when to give the Power of Attorney to the Agent. If you give the document to the Agent, the Agent could embezzle or steal assets, using the document illegally.

What We Do

At our firm, we offer our clients a free service of holding the Power of Attorney in our safes. We obtain written instructions that we are only to release the General Power of Attorney to the Agent if the Agent can prove to us that our client has become incapacitated. This way, the Agent cannot use the power of attorney to steal from the client. Proving incapacity is usually simple, as the client is often hospitalized by the time the Agent contacts us.

In your case, if your mother is still competent, I suggest that she consult with a Gloucester County Estate Planning Attorney and sign a new Power of Attorney.

More Planning Questions?

The power of attorney is only a piece of the Estate Planning process. By all means, if you want to learn more, please read my more detailed article, Estate Planning Everything You Need to Know.

In Conclusion: Gloucester County Power of Attorney Use Requirement

I hope that this article was helpful in explaining the power of attorney. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website so you can learn more. Therefore, please contact me and let me know how I did. Certainly, your comments and questions are welcome!

Let our Estate Planning lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. To begin with, call to speak to one of our experienced estate planning lawyers.  By all means, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Ultimately our goal is to make the process as painless as possible!

Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Estate Litigation, It’s All We Do!

 

Tags:

Estate Planning, Estate Planning Attorney, Estate Planning Lawyer, Gloucester County, New Jersey, Power of Attorney

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