Obtaining power of attorney for someone can be a big undertaking that often coincides with an emotional time in your family. A power of attorney gives a person authority to make medical and/or financial decisions on behalf of someone else, should that person become unconscious or mentally incapacitated.
New Jersey has a statute that controls power of attorney agreements, called the General Durable Power of Attorney Act, cited as NJSA 46:2B-8.1. When you act with power of attorney for someone else, you have a duty to act in that person’s best interest, which is legally referred to as a “fiduciary duty.” According to the statute, a person with power of attorney must also:
- Act in accordance with the instructions from the principal (person for whom you are acting as power of attorney) set forth in the power of attorney;
- Act in good faith;
- Keep the principal’s property separate and distinct from any other property owned or controlled by the agent (you);
- Cooperate with any person that has the authority to make medical and healthcare decisions on behalf of the principal (if not also you); and
- Keep an accurate record of all receipts, disbursements, and transactions entered into by you and on behalf of the principal.
This can seem like a stressful decision. It’s important to have open, thorough communication with the person asking you to take on power of attorney to make sure you are both comfortable with the authorities that will be placed upon you. An experienced Elder Law attorney can help make this process easier by explaining all the ramifications of effecting power of attorney.
Call Giro Attorneys at Law, LLP Today
If you’re considering creating or obtaining power of attorney in New Jersey or New York, contact Giro Attorneys at Law, LLP, by calling (201) 690-1642, and schedule an appointment today with one of our accomplished attorneys.