Power of Attorney
Many of us will experience at least one period of disability from illness or injury throughout our life. Life has many ups and downs and part of living life is planning for uncertainty.
What happens if we experience a disability or illness and we cannot make decisions about our finances or assets? If we have not executed a Power of Attorney than we risk having a person appointed by the courts to make decisions on our behalf.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows us to select a person who we trust to make decisions about our finances, property and investments in case of disability. The person that you grant these powers to is generally referred us as the Agent. Under the law the agent can make decisions over the matters that you have included in your Power of Attorney.
What Powers Can You Grant Under the Power of Attorney?
You can grant a limited or broad amount of powers to the agent who will make decisions on your behalf. The Power of Attorney allows us to grant to another person the power to make decisions over:
- Real property transactions.
- Personal property
- Stock and bond transactions.
- Banking and other financial institution transactions.
- Business operating transactions.
- Claims and litigation.
- Personal and family needs.
- Retirement plan transactions.
- Tax matters.
- Health care decisions
Why Do I Need a Power of Attorney?
Granting to another person the power to make decisions over your finances and assets can help protect you and your family. If you become disabled and cannot make legal or financial decisions then agent selected in your Power of Attorney can make decisions on your behalf. Without a Power of Attorney, a conservator may have to be appointed to manage your legal and financial affairs. Having a conservator appointed requires court proceedings and can be time consuming and expensive.
When Does the Power of Attorney Become Effective?
You can decide if you want the Power of Attorney to be effective immediately or only under specific circumstances. A Durable Power of Attorney goes into effect right away while a Springing Power of Attorney is only effective under certain conditions.