A power of attorney is a legal appointment where a parent, for example, appoints a child to serve as his or her power of attorney. The power of attorney is valid only during the lifetime of the parent and becomes moot at the moment of the death of the parent. It is the Will of the parent that then controls the authority and disposition of assets after death. A power of attorney is an extremely useful legal document for aging parents to avoid the need for a guardianship in the event the parent would become mentally incapacitated. If that happens, the child will be able to legally pay the parent’s bills, make financial and medical decisions on behalf of the parent and handle the parent’s affairs if the parent is unable to do so. Without the existence of a power of attorney, the child would be required to petition the court to have a guardian appointed for the parent which is a long and expensive process in the court system that requires the testimony of a doctor and a trial before a judge who must approve the guardianship.