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Law Centers > Encyclopedia > Wills & Estate Planning > Healthcare Directives and Powers of Attorney

Preventing Challenges to Your Durable Power of Attorney for Finances

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Find out how to head off challenges to your durable power of attorney.

If you think someone is likely to go to court and challenge your durable power of attorney or claim that you were coerced into signing it, you can take several steps to head off problems.

See a Lawyer. You may want the lawyer to review the estate planning documents you've created yourself, or to draw up some documents for you. An experienced estate planning lawyer can answer questions about your durable power of attorney and about your other estate planning documents as well. For example, you may also be expecting challenges to your will, a trust or health care wishes. You can talk with a lawyer about all of these issues. The point is to have the lawyer put your fears to rest by answering your questions and confirming that your estate plan will hold up under the challenges of your stubborn relatives. Your attorney can also testify about your mental competency, should the need arise.

Sign Your Document in Front of Witnesses. You can sign your document in front of witnesses, even if your state does not require it. After watching you sign, the witnesses themselves sign a statement that you appeared to know what you were signing and that you did so voluntarily. If someone later challenges your competency, these statements will be strong evidence that you were of sound mind at the time you signed your document.

Get a Doctor's Statement. You may also want to get a doctor's statement around the time you sign your durable power of attorney. The doctor should write, date and sign a short statement saying that he or she has seen you recently and believes you to be of sound mind. You can attach this statement to your power of attorney document. Then, if necessary, your attorney-in-fact can produce the statement as proof that you were of sound mind when you signed your power of attorney.

Make a Videotape. You can also videotape a statement of your intent to make and sign the durable power of attorney. Such a step should not be necessary, but going to this length may further minimize the chances of a successful challenge to your competency. Be warned, however, that using a videotape may work against you. The person challenging your power of attorney document will want to use any visible quirks of behavior or language as evidence that you were not in fact competent when you made your document. If you do make a videotape, keep this tape with your power of attorney document.


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WillMaker 8
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WillMaker 8 lets you create a legally valid Power of Attorney for Finances. You can also write a will, living will, final arrangements document and more. "WillMaker is such an easy-to-use program that users may never need to look at the manual..." -- Fortune

Sale Price:  $39.95  ( 43% off )
Get more info or buy this item...
The Financial Power of Attorney
from WillMaker 8 (Windows)
Just need a durable financial power of attorney? Here's the software you need, straight from WillMaker.
Sale Price:  $25.17  ( 40% off )
Get more info or buy this item...
The Financial Power of Attorney Workbook: Make Your Own Durable & Conventional Powers of Attorney
Includes all the forms and plain-English instructions you need to give a trusted person the authority to handle your financial affairs for you.
Sale Price:  $20.97  ( 30% off )
Get more info or buy this item...
Plan Your Estate
Nolo's most comprehensive estate planning tool discusses powers of attorney in detail, and explains how they can be used in a thorough estate plan.

Sale Price:  $27.97  ( 30% off )
Get more info or buy this item...
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