Legal Question in Family Law in Maine

Power of Attorney - Financial Responsibilies / Obligations

My father resides in an assisted care residential facility. The only income he recieves is social security which covers his room and board and along with medicare covers his health costs. He has only a minimal amount left over each month.

My aunt currently holds power of attorney over his financial and health care matters. She has asked that I take over the power of attorney responsibilities. I am hesitant to do this because I have two young children and am very concerned that I may end up being held responsible to cover any costs related to entended hospital stays and/or any debt that my father has incurred.

Can you please explain exactly what a person having ''power of attorney'' can be held accountable for in this situation? What options do I have? My wife has suggested turning his care over to the state of Maine, but I want to make sure that he receives the proper care without risking my own financial well-being.

Thank you in advance for any answers / advice.

Asked on 4/08/03, 6:22 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jerome Gamache Ainsworth Thelin & Raftice, P.A.

Re: Power of Attorney - Financial Responsibilies / Obligations

A Power of Attorney is the mechanism which enables someone, who, for whatever reason (disability, distinerest, etc) wishes to allow another party to act on their behalf. If used properly, the Power of Attorney does not create any liability on behalf of its holder. The holder of a Power of Attorney does not personally become liable for debts, etc. However, the holder does have a responsibility to manage money properly, and may be responsible for mismanagement or misrepresentation made to others. The holder of a Power of Attorney should not sign anything that personally guarantees debts, because in that instance they would be signing in their individual capacity and not under the Power of Attorney.

Powers of Attorney can be given for limited matters, such as financial managment only, or can also be broad enough encompass medical decisions.

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Answered on 4/09/03, 10:37 am

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