Have you used or needed a Power of Attorney to buy groceries for a family member while using their credit card or check?
Regardless, consider this brief description the next time you need a power of attorney or POA to buy food for your loved ones.
Why do people use a Power of Attorney to buy Groceries?
Here are a few reasons:
- Reduce stress with other family members,
- To protect a loved one who cannot purchase groceries on their own,
- Allow a trusted person make critical decisions,
- Reduce fraud,
- Because it is the best way to prevent problems or accusations
Types of Power of Attorney Forms
Yes, Minnesota laws support using a power of attorney to buy groceries by declaring a need for “family maintenance”.
In Minnesota, there are different options and forms used to grant another person a Power of Attorney. Generally, people use a form for a POA that complies with Minnesota statute 523.23. Minnesota law refers to this form as the “short form power of attorney“.
Other times, people and families to use a different form called a durable or general power of attorney. Yes, this document different than short form power of attorney.
Even more often, people and families use both: a durable power of attorney and a short form power of attorney that complies with Minnesota statute 523.23.
Do you need a Power of Attorney to buy groceries?
Due to the examples described below, having a power of attorney to affirm family maintenance is always preferable. Yes, using a credit or debit card at a grocery store on behalf of a loved one requires expressed written authorization. A durable power of attorney and a short form power of attorney protects people from confusion.
POA Forms and valid authorizations
Using a POA form, a person can grant another person authorization to buy groceries using the category for “family maintenance”. Also, using a POA helps everobyd comply with other specific requirements under Minnesota statute 523.23. If you find these requirements confusing, please contact this law office for help.
On the other hand, because a short form power of attorney that complies with Minnesota statute 523.23 does not specifically identify food or groceries, having a revocable trust or a durable power of attorney can be extremely helpful too.
Don’t buy groceries for more than one household or person
No, a person using a power of attorney to buy groceries should not buy groceries for more than one person. Blending grocery bills increases the risk of fraud or other family members claiming bad faith.
For example, if you are buying a handful of items for a loved one, do not include a lottery ticket or bottle of pop for you to consume. Also, do not go to a large store like Target or Walmart and include non food items that are out of scope with a valid Power of Attorney.
Instead, consider limiting the transaction to food items intended for your loved one and keeping receipts accordingly.
What if your family is blended?
Even f your loved one lives with you and your family, eliminate the temptation to make a transaction that includes buying food or other items for an entire household.
An exception to this general guideline is when the transaction is authorized. Unfortunately, using a POA Form that complies with Minnesota statute 523.23 likely will not suffice. Again, for matters like these, consider a revocable trust or a durable power of attorney to accomplish this task.
Estate Attorney Jasper Berg