Estate planning is designed to give individuals control over their own lives and, to the extent possible, the futures of those they love. The power of attorney is a pivotal instrument in this process, allowing as it does the designation of a trusted person to manage your affairs if you become incapacitated or otherwise unavailable. Nonetheless, this essential document sometimes becomes a source of dispute, tangled in legal and emotional complications. If this occurs, it is critical to have an accomplished estate planning attorney intervene.

In Virginia, Randall J. Borden, Attorney at Law is the one to contact for assistance with a power of attorney dispute. His extensive experience and well-honed legal skills, coupled with his thoughtful and thorough approach, make him extremely capable when it comes to effectively resolving complex problems. Call him today so he can clarify your options and provide you with the support you need.

Understanding the Power of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is not just a document; it’s a delegation of trust and responsibility from the principal to their agent. It comes in various forms, each tailored to specific needs, from broad financial management to making critical healthcare decisions. The choice of a POA type reflects the nature of the principal’s desire for control over their affairs in situations where they are unable to take action themselves.

Types of Power of Attorney

The type of power of attorney document needed depends on the circumstances:

  • General POA grants broad powers to the agent in managing the principal’s affairs.
  • Special or Limited POA confers specific powers for certain tasks or a limited period.
  • Durable POA remains effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated.
  • Springing POA becomes effective upon the occurrence of a specified event, such as the principal’s incapacity or extended travel outside the country.

Functions of a POA vary depending on the type and structure of the document and may cover:

  • Financial management of banking, investments, and property transactions.
  • Healthcare decisions when the principal is unable to communicate their wishes
  • Personal Affairs, including addressing everyday needs, e.g. paying bills or signing legal documents

Causes of Power of Attorney Disputes

Power of attorney disputes may occur for several reasons, including:

  • Family dynamics (e.g. sibling rivalry) are often rooted in longstanding tensions and/or squabbles and worsened by a lack of transparency on the part of the principal. 
  • An agent who lets the power of attorney go to their head, leading them to abuse their position or engage in fraudulent behavior
  • Second marriages and the complex entanglements between step-relatives and biological family members.
  • Arguments about legal Issues and how they are handled.
  • Conflicts about the validity of the document may include claims of undue influence, coercion, or the principal’s incapacity at the time of signing.
  • Disputes over whether an agent’s actions exceed the powers granted in the POA.

How Power of Attorney Disputes Can Be Prevented

In many cases, the forethought and astute input of a keen lawyer can (or could have) prevented the challenges a power of attorney dispute presents. Randall Borden strongly recommends:

  • Make sure the POA is drafted by a knowledgeable professional to ensure clarity and compliance with state laws.
  • Communicating at the time the document is signed precisely what the rights and responsibilities of the agent are, not only with the principal and agent but with other concerned family members as well, so that everyone understands the scope of the POA’s powers.
  • Providing regular, transparent updates by the agent so that relevant parties are kept informed about decisions made and actions taken.
  • Having a solid legal foundation for all steps taken — agents should check any ambiguities, questions, or concerns with a qualified attorney. 
  • Regularly reviewing the POA document, especially after changes in life circumstances.
  • Arranging for third-party review regularly and third-party oversight when necessary.

In some cases, appointing more than one agent can provide checks and balances but care should be taken because this action can itself lead to conflict if not carefully structured.

How Our Sharp Estate Planning Attorney Can Help With POA Disputes

Whether you are trying to prevent a power of attorney dispute or are already enmeshed in one that requires legal representation, Randall Borden is well-prepared to help. 

Not only does he have in-depth knowledge of the law in Virginia. He also has a fine track record of drafting customized POAs to reflect the specific needs of the principal while minimizing the potential for conflict. More than that, he has a successful history of negotiating, mediating, and litigating such disputes. 

Avoid or Resolve a Power of Attorney Dispute — Contact Fairfax Attorney Randall J. Borden 

The power of attorney can be a godsend when needed. Don’t allow a dispute over its terms or execution to interfere with its worthy purpose. Get in touch with our esteemed attorney today. He will listen carefully to the details of your problem and take immediate steps to resolve it and restore your peace of mind.