By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann, a Freehold, NJ Guardianship and Power of Attorney Law Firm

Many prospective clients have “simple powers of attorney” if they even have one at all. By “simple” I mean the document lists very limited and vaguely written powers (ie., do my banking, write checks, sell my home). Most do not address life care decision making. Life care planning is significant. It means, in its most general sense, “giving authority to make day to day decisions on behalf of another person’s care and activities of daily living. In a recent consultation, a nursing home refused to allow a family member to transfer their father to another facility. They were told because the sister admitted him, only she could have him transferred and therefore must approve the transfer. This was said after the client produced to the nursing home administration her ancient “simple power of attorney”. The simple power of attorney was silent.

Generally a power of attorney provides its holder with the power to control another person’s finances and enter into contracts for him or her, but does not give the holder the power to decide where a person lives. The sister should have had this power recited and authorized through her power of attorney or health care directive. Absent a guardianship appointment or an authorizing power of attorney, only the father has the right to make his own decisions in this regard. If he is not competent to do so, the client will need to seek guardianship.

To discuss your NJ power of attorney or guardianship matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.