VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

How to handle pressure to sign a power of attorney

Florida residents who are being pressured to sign a power of attorney document may be wise to resist. While such a document may be critical if an individual is unable to manage his or her own affairs, it is one that should be made free from any undue influence. In fact, if a person is pressured to give someone the power of attorney, it may be a sign of fraud.

Financial powers of attorney may be as broad or as narrow as a person wants them to be. It may even be possible to revoke the power of attorney if desired. An individual named to act on an incapacitated person's behalf has an obligation to work in the best interests of that person. However, it may be worthwhile for people to spend time wondering why someone else would want them to do so.

It may be a good idea to get a second opinion before creating or signing such a document. It may also be worthwhile to call a bank or brokerage to ensure that other parties are not trying to access accounts illegally. Calling the HELPS line may benefit older people who feel as if they are being pressured to sign a power of attorney document even if they don't want to.

Creating a power of attorney may be an effective estate planning tool for a person of any age. However, it may be best to discuss creating one with an attorney or other party who an individual trusts. As a general rule, an individual should only sign one if he or she believes that doing so is in his or her best interest. If such a document is signed against a person's will, it may be declared invalid.

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