Safeguards for Seniors

Article excerpt

Many older people do need to be able to delegate some business functions to a trusted person, or agent, with power of attorney. Sally Hurme, AARP attorney and senior project manager for financial security, suggested that those wishing to designate a power of attorney consider carefully whom they can trust with this authority and what specific powers to grant.

For example, will the agent be allowed to make gifts, mortgage the property or change the title on property on the elder's behalf? Older adults might consult an attorney about what powers to give their agent and ask the lawyer to draft a specific agreement, rather than using a standard form.

BLANK-CHECK TEST

Hurme recommends using a blankcheck test when choosing an agent: Could you give this person a signed, blank check and know that he or she would never use it? The agent could be a trusted family member, a spouse, a friend or a professional with an outstanding reputation for honesty. …