Middletown, NY asked in Family Law and Elder Law for Maryland

Q: My uncle is almost legally blind and my aunt has early onset Alzheimer’s but presents well, can their daughter get POA?

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers
Marie-Yves Nadine Jean-Baptiste
Marie-Yves Nadine Jean-Baptiste
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Towson, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Unfortunately, that would not be a good idea and may create a whole host of problems down the line. You are better off petitioning the court for guardianship.

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crownsville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Legal blindness in no way affects competency to do planning documents like a power of attorney. So under the facts you describe, assuming he is otherwise competent the uncle would be well advised to reach out to an attorney and get planning documents in place. There are additional safeguards an attorney may take when preparing documents for visually impaired persons, but my firm and most other estate planners have certainly encountered this with no issue at all.

As far as planning for someone with early onset Alzheimers, "it depends." If the planner waited too long and is no longer capable of understanding their affairs or designating an agent, the only option may be guardianship. However, an online post cannot make this kind of judgment call. The best practice is to get the advice of the person's health care provider who should be able to say whether they are capable of preparing planning documents. If the answer is "no, she is not capable of understanding her affairs or designating an agent" the family may consider guardianship (though it is an expensive and time consuming process). If the answer is "yes, she is capable at this time of understanding her affairs and naming an agent" then it may still be possible to prepare a power of attorney although it would be prudent to act quickly before a mental condition further deterioriates.

Great caution should be exercised whenever a person with advanced age or disability needs/wants to plan. A competent estate planning attorney should be able to sit down with the planner and either draw up planning documents with appropriate safeguards in place or tell the family that guardianship is the only option in that particular situation. It is not usually feasible for an online post to gauge whether someone is capable or not.

While not legal advice, I hope that this helps.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.