There may come a time where youre unable to handle your financial affairs and a power of attorney can be used to protect you. This legal document makes it possible for you to get the assistance that you need, even during incapacity. If you choose not to create this document, your affairs wont be in order and the court will hold a guardianship proceeding to have you legally deemed incapacitated and appoint a guardian to handle your financial affairs. Take a look at the following information to learn more. If youd like to discuss the benefits of a power of attorney, contact an estate planning attorney.
You never know when a medical emergency may occur. If you dont have an up-to-date legally valid financial power of attorney in place, your family will need to go to court to get the approval needed to handle your affairs. The court might not appoint a family member as your guardian; the court might appoint a stranger such as a local attorney. A guardianship takes time and money, which means that you may not be able to get help right away. And, its a total loss of control.
With a power of attorney, youre able to appoint an agent who will assist with your affairs. If you wish, youre able to limit the responsibilities and duties that you give to your agent; however, most power of attorney documents grant plenary authority. Most agents are able to pay bills, make deposits and withdrawals, make important financial decisions, and file and pay taxes. Your attorney can help you choose a reliable and trustworthy agent so that your financial affairs are in order.
If you do have a power of attorney in place, make sure that its current, no older than 3 to 5 years. As you go through life, you may make changes to your agent selection. Take the time to review your decisions, so that your current wishes are always respected. You can make any changes to this legal document, as long as youre not incapacitated.
For more information on the use of a power of attorney, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.