Power of Attorney

If you anticipate being involved in power of attorney litigation, call an estate litigation lawyer. Estate litigation issues are often emotional, stressful, and carry long term implications. A good attorney will understand this and make every effort to resolve their clients’ cases with a positive outcome quickly. Substitute decision-makers can be appointed to act on an individual’s behalf should it become necessary through a legal process called “power of attorney.” When a party acts unfairly, improperly, or fails to fulfill their obligations, disputes can arise. An estate litigation lawyer represents those who wish to file a claim against a negligent party or those who are defending themselves from a claim filed against them.

Even attorneys who use a power of attorney to make financial or other decisions on someone’s behalf can — and should — be held accountable if they abuse that power. Instances of abuse or mismanagement are common and it can be devastating to the individual who granted them the power of attorney. The grantor’s immediate family members may then have grounds for filing a claim or complaint against the attorney, and an estate litigation lawyer can represent them in court.

When Power of Attorney Comes Into Effect

A power of attorney comes into effect when it is specified to do so, as directed by the grantor. For example, it can begin immediately, or it can begin if and when an authorized physician determines that the grantor does not have sufficient mental capacity to make sound decisions on their own anymore. For some people, diminished mental capacity occurs suddenly, and for others, there is a gradual change that increases over time. An example of the latter is someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. An example of a sudden diminished mental capacity is a brain injury sustained in a car accident. Brain injuries may result in a temporary or permanent inability to make sensible decisions that are in the individual’s best interests. In these scenarios, the individual may benefit from having established a power of attorney that was decided upon when they were in good health.

Determining When the Grantor Has Diminished Mental Capacity

Depending on what areas the power of attorney covers, various tests must be conducted to determine if the grantor has truly lost their ability to make sound decisions. The tests may be performed and the results analyzed by the grantor’s personal physician, an estate litigation lawyer, and possibly others. If a party who has a vested interest in the decisions made by the person with power of attorney believes that the grantor is being taken advantage of or hurt by those decisions, they can take action. With the help of an estate litigation lawyer, they can file a claim to recover the damages. A skilled estate litigation lawyer is adept at establishing liability and submitting proof from experts including physicians, character witnesses, and more. This can result in a judge overturning the decisions of the power of attorney and ruling that the individual must vacate their powers and step aside.

To learn more about the power of attorney and your rights surrounding this area of the law, contact an estate litigation lawyer today.