Legal Question in Elder Law in North Carolina

Financial Responsibilities of POA

My brother has the power of attorney, with me listed also, over my father who has had a stroke. My brother has lost his job and can no longer make the payments on my father's home. Now, he says that he is moving away and we should take care of my father. I am not able to take over any bills that will lapse when my brother leaves. I feel I need to be there in case my father needs me to admit him to a hospital or other related health issues. I do not on the other hand, have the means to carry the burden of his financial responsibilities. Will this damage my credit in any way, and what legal responsibility do I have to pay my father's debts, by being listed on the power of attorney?

Asked on 6/14/04, 9:07 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Dan Brady Brady, Nordgren, Klym & Morton, PLLC

Re: Financial Responsibilities of POA

You have no personal financial responsibility for your father's existing financial obligations. His default on those financial obligations will not be reflected on your credit history.

The only exception would be a situation where you have "cosigned" or guatanteed his obligations.

Be careful in all things that you sign on his behalf. You must reflect on all documents that you sign on his behalf that you are signing as his attorney-in-fact. Your signature should appear "John Jones, Attorney-in-Fact for Jim Jones". Never sign anything without reflecting that you are his agent (attorney-in-fact) unless you specifically intend to be personally responsible for those obligations.

Keep in mind that some service providers will not work with your father unless they are certain that they will be compensated. In that case, many will require that you co-sign or guaranty payment on behalf of your father. In that case, you should determine if you agree to be financially responsibe or if you should look for alternate arrangements.

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Answered on 6/15/04, 9:53 am

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