Kennett Square, PA asked in Estate Planning for Pennsylvania

Q: I'm 18 and my parents are asking me to sign them financial powers of attorney. Should I?

They have offered to pay for my college which I'm really thankful for, but reading through the document it seems like I'm essentially hand them full control over everything I own and will ever own. They say it's only to be used in case I get incapacitate but I don't see where it says that. How easy would it be to remove their power of attorney in the case of fraudulent activity and would I be able to recover the damages if I did. I trust them 100% but it just seems a bit extreme so I want to be careful.

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3 Lawyer Answers
John B. Whalen, Jr.
John B. Whalen, Jr.
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Wayne, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: … because of the nature of today’s world, coupled with the Privacy Rules, your parents would not be able to help you at all without a Power of Attorney being signed …

… yes - it is a very powerful document - but they are your parents …

… I think you know what to do …

John

Nina Whitehurst agrees with this answer

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: EVERYBODY age 18 or over should designate in writing one or more persons who can act for them in case they become incapacitated or in the event of an emergency. This means you should sign a financial power of attorney and a medical power of attorney/advance directive, at a minimum. At your agent, your parents are the natural choice. When you marry, then your spouse will be the natural choice.

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Boyertown, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: "What the Lord giveth, the Lord can take away", or something like that.

You would be the one granting the "power" to your parents, and you can likewise renounce/terminate those Powers.

You would need to provide written proof of your termination of the Powers to whomever your parents provided it (to be safe), as well as to your parents, so they'd be put on notice that they had no further authority to act on your behalf.

Many lawyers use "form" legal documents, which are drafted to apply generally and broadly; better lawyers tailor those forms to suit the particular circumstances of the client(s). It sounds as if your parents' lawyer didn't do much editing/revising.

The only other observation I can offer is that it is Nature's way for parents to attempt to continue to control offspring, just as it is natural for every "child" to fight to break free of those controls.

The grant of a power to others over your affairs, through a Power of Attorney, in no way diminishes your own powers to act on your own behalf.

In PA, there are PoA's "with an interest", and "durable" PoA's that can survive your incapacity, but I have never seen or heard of an irrevocable PoA.

Your best course is to consult with a lawyer, NOT the one who prepared the PoA for your parents, to edit/revise the proposed PoA to accomplish whatever you are comfortable with, concerning your parents power to act on your behalf.

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