Form Requirements for Mandates (Powers of Attorney) In Louisiana

In Louisiana, a power of attorney is called a “mandate”. Mandates must be in writing. Verbal mandates are not recognized. So, you can’t just tell someone else that you want them to act as your agent over your person or over your property.

It must also be in authentic form. Authentic form means that it must be signed in front of a notary public and two witnesses.

The notary must be qualified to notarize documents in the state and parish where the mandate is executed.  The witnesses must be competent (over the age of eighteen and not be interdicted). The notary cannot serve also as a witness. Also, persons named in the document (principal and agent) cannot serve as witnesses or the notary.

It is very important that a mandate be executed in proper form to ensure that is legal and valid. Otherwise, it is not required to be recognized by third parties. In an effort to save attorney’s fees and costs, many people try to “do it yourself” in signing online powers of attorneys, forms written by the person themselves or forms provided to them by other people.

Persons should take caution in trying to execute their own powers of attorney. There is an old saying “you get what you pay for”.  Errors as to form can ultimately costs that person’s estate considerable fees and expense if the home-made mandate is not legal or unclear.

If you have any questions, you should consult an experienced estate planning attorney.

 

Kent S. DeJean

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Powers of Attorney: Always Read The Fine Print!

Powers of attorney are a lot like medical insurance. Many people don’t pay very close attention to the written document until we need to use the power of attorney or the insurance. It is when you begin have to use them that you discover what you don’t have. Then it may be too late.

When a power of attorney is executed, the agent automatically thinks that the agent can handle all affairs under the sun for the principal.  This is not always a good assumption to make.

First of all, here are different types of written powers of attorney. There are powers of attorney for making decision over the person such as health care decisions, housing, and therapy decisions. There are other powers of attorney for the agent to make financial decisions regarding the estate. An agent may have a financial power of attorney and not a healthcare power of attorney.

Secondly, powers of attorney should be written very general to include any and all possible decisions. However, many powers of attorney are not general. Some give very limited authority for the agent to act on behalf of the principal. This can be very problematic for an agent to find out that they possess the right to make certain decisions and not other necessary decisions.

The best time to read the fine print is long before the power of attorney is used so that corrective action can be taken. Otherwise, time, money and effort may be required to file an interdiction legal proceeding to allow the agent to make all decisions.

If you have any questions about powers of attorney, you should contact an experienced estate attorney. Kent S. DeJean

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There will be a Free Senior talk given at the Wyndham Garden Hotel 5600 Bluebonnet Blvd. Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 9:30am, 12:00 and 4:00pm.  Call 225-892-9702 to reserve your spot.

Powers of Attorney: Always Have A Plan B!

The decision on who should be your agent for your power of attorney is usually a fairly easy one. Most people will usually select their spouse or a close friend or family member. However, the more difficult question is who does a person want to serve as the successor agent in the event that the agent is unwilling or unable to serve.

It is strongly advised that you name a successor agent in the event that the agent is unwilling or unable to serve. Your agent may die, become incapacitated or simply not wish to serve for any reason. If your agent is unwilling or unable to serve, an interdiction proceeding will have to be filed to appoint you a guardian to administer your person and property if you failed to name a successor agent.

Therefore, always name a back up successor agent in your power of attorney. Never assume that an agent will be willing or able to serve as your agent when and if you lose capacity.

If you have any questions concerning powers of attorney, consult an experienced estate planning attorney. Kent S. DeJean

Don’t Delay In Getting A Power of Attorney!

It is very common for people to put off executing powers of attorney. In fact, recent studies show that 80% of adults do not have an executed power of attorney. Most people think that powers of attorneys are for people that are sick or old.

In the real world, none of us are guaranteed capacity even today. An accident or health issue can take our mental or physical capacity away from us quickly without prior warning. We would be unable to take care of our own person and property. No one can predict when a person will lose capacity.

The execution of a valid durable powers of attorney is relatively quick, easy and fast.When a person fails to plan in advance, that person is “playing with fire”. Many learn the lesson the hard way. They wait until it is too late. The family may be unable to get the power of attorney executed because the person has lost capacity. The family may have the person sign a power of attorney where capacity is an issue. This can lead to family disputes and/or challenges to the document.

If you have any questions concerning powers of attorney, living wills and advanced medical directives, you should contact an experienced estate planning attorney. Kent S. DeJean

Powers of Attorney: Always Read The Fine Print!

Powers of attorneys are a lot like medical insurance. Many people don’t pay very close attention to the written document until we need to use the power of attorney or the insurance. It is when you begin to have to use them that you discover what you don’t have. Then it may be too late.

When a power of attorney is executed, the agent automatically thinks that the agent can handle all affairs under the sun for the principal. This is not always a good assumption to make.

First of all, here are different types of written powers of attorney. There are powers of attorney for making decision over the person such as health care decisions, housing, and therapy decisions. There are other powers of attorney for the agent to make financial decisions regarding the estate. An agent may have a financial power of attorney and not a healthcare power of attorney.

Secondly, powers of attorney should be written very general to include any and all possible decisions. However, many powers of attorney are not general. Some give very limited authority for the agent to act on behalf of the principal. This can be very problematic for an agent to find out that they do not possess the right kind to make certain decisions and not other necessary decisions.

The best time to read the fine print is long before the power of attorney is used so that corrective action can be taken. Otherwise, time, money and effort may be required to file a interdiction legal proceeding to allow the agent to make all decisions.

If you have any questions about powers of attorney, you should contact an experienced estate attorney. Kent S. DeJean

Why Are More Than One Agent In A Power Of Attorney Is Not Always Good Thing?

Under Louisiana law, there is no law that says you can only have one agent administer your estate or person if you become incapacitated.

Many people struggle with the decision as to who they wish to appoint to be their agents in their powers of attorney. Many times, people do not wish to hurt the feelings of family members or friends. So, they appoint more than one agent.

Appointing more than one agent is not always a good idea for several reasons.

1. Who is the boss? If there is more than one agent, all is fine as long as the agents get along and agree. What happens if they don’t agree or don’t get along? A dispute could become litigated. An interdiction may have to be filed. This will expend time and money. An interdiction is the primary reason a power of attorney is executed to avoid. At the end of the day, there should only be one boss.

2. Extra work and headache! If there are more than one agent, the consent of both may be needed or required to administer the principal’s assets or make medical decisions. This can be very problematic. Checks, documents and statements may require two signatures of both agents. The other agent will have to constantly be located and their consent received before anything can be done. This can be very inconvenient to agents and can expend time and money.

If you have any questions concerning powers of attorney, contact an experienced estate planning attorney. Kent S. DeJean