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Is my parent's durable power of attorney valid?

Your parent has taken steps to create an estate plan. However, he or she has recently discussed these documents with you, and you now have concerns that they are not really legal in New Jersey, particularly when it comes to the durable power of attorney.

Here are some factors to evaluate before you pursue the matter further.

Is your parent competent?

According to FindLaw, your parent must be mentally fit to make legal decisions regarding end-of-life care. For example, (s)he can understand the nature of the actions (s)he is taking, and the consequences of them.

Is the document signed?

It isn’t enough to have the document drawn up. Your parent also has to sign it. Not only that, (s)he must have two witnesses sign that the document was signed or notarized in front of them. They should also be able to attest that your parent is competent and that no one has exerted undue influence on him or her.

Was the document created in another state?

A durable power of attorney that your parent had drawn up in another state can still be valid in New Jersey as long as its execution was in compliance with that state's laws, or with the laws of New Jersey. In fact, it could have been created in another country, as long as it was in compliance with those laws and with New Jersey laws, and doesn’t violate any of the state’s public policies.

This information about durable powers of attorney is general in nature, and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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