It may be a big undertaking when obtaining a power of attorney for a family member or loved one. A power of attorney provides authority to an agent to make decisions on behalf of the principal in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated. The “principal” is the person for whom an individual is acting as power of attorney. The “agent” is the individual responsible for carrying out the wishes of the “principal.”
In the State of New Jersey, the General Durable Power of Attorney Act (NJSA) section 46:2B-8.1. is a statute that governs a power of attorney. By agreeing to have power of attorney, an individual has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the other person. In accordance with the New Jersey statute, an individual with power of attorney must:
Act in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the principal in the power of attorney;
- Act in good faith;
- Ensure that the principal’s property is kept separate and distinct from that which is controlled by the agent;
- If the agent does not have the authority to make medical or healthcare decisions for the principal, then it is imperative that the agent with power of attorney cooperate with other individuals with authority; and
- Maintain accurate records of transactions, receipts, and anything else entered into by the agent on behalf of the principal.
Agreeing to have power of attorney may be an extremely stressful decision. When agreeing to such an significant responsibility, it is important to effectively communicate with the individual asking you to have power of attorney. Additionally, it is important to make sure that both parties are comfortable with the decision before executing any agreements.
The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Hunziker, Jones, & Sweeney help seniors and their families handle all aspects of estate planning, including the establishment of a durable power of attorney. Our New Jersey estate planning lawyers are trusted by their clients to handle each legal matter with diligence and compassion. For more information, contact our New Jersey estate planning law firm at (973) 256-0456.