When you hear someone has Power of Attorney for a parent or spouse you probably think every person has the same powers. That actually could not be further from the truth. The powers given to a spouse or child in a Power of Attorney are defined by the document itself and the document can either enlarge those powers or significantly narrow them depending on the language used in the document.
When people think every Power of Attorney is the same they naturally look for the cheapest one – which often times does not come from a Texas licensed attorney. The sad fact is that if the person plans to use that Power of Attorney to engage in asset protection for nursing home Medicaid that cheap Power of Attorney might end up costing a whole lot more than you can imagine.
Generic power of attorney documents are usually missing some critical provisions when it comes to the realm of Medicaid asset protection. Unfortunately, if the power of attorney document does not give you the power you need to complete an asset protection transaction then the cheap power of attorney actually cost you the value of that asset you were unable to protect.
For example, if we were looking at protecting a bank account with $100,000 in it but you do not have the authority you need, that power of attorney just cost you $100,000. If you need to create a Miller Trust for your parent or spouse because their income exceeds the Medicaid eligibility limit but the Power of Attorney does not give you authority to do so then the cheap Power of Attorney just ended up costing you whatever you have to pay to get court ordered guardianship over your parent or spouse.
So, if you have power of attorney for a parent or spouse have it reviewed by an attorney to determine if it is suitable for Medicaid asset protection while it can still be fixed because once the person giving the power of attorney loses their mental capacity to sign new documents you are stuck with what you have. A $125 power of attorney that works as intended sounds a lot better to me than a $50 power of attorney that doesn’t do what you want.