What is a power of attorney?
A Power of Attorney, sometimes called a durable power of attorney, is a legal document that gives someone of your choice the power to act on your behalf when you may not be able to, either temporarily or permanently.
Many times people put off drafting a power of attorney because they do not think they will need one or think they are not old enough. However, not having a power of attorney when it is needed is costly to you and your family and often results in a court making important decisions on your behalf rather than a trusted loved one. No matter what your age, a power of attorney is one of the most important legal documents you can have.
Types of Powers of Attorney
A financial power of attorney is different than a healthcare power of attorney. A financial power of attorney allows a person of your choice, generally referred to as an agent, the authority to pay bills, write checks, make investment decisions, buy or sell real estate or other hard assets, sign contracts, file taxes, even arrange the distribution of retirement benefits, all on your behalf. You can give that person as much or as little power as you want.
Imagine if you were in an accident that rendered you temporarily unable to manage your day to day life. Having a financial power of attorney would allow someone to pay your bills, keep your cell phone on, save your house and make insurance claims on your behalf.
The power of attorney becomes even more important if you suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s and there comes a point when you are unable to make day-to-day decisions or need specialized long-term care.
Having this legal document in place saves your friends and family members from having to go before a court and request a costly legal guardianship or conservatorship on your behalf and then having to ask the court for permission to make each decision. It is vitally important to have this document in place and hope you never need it, than to need it and not have it.
Giving someone control of your personal matters is an important decision and should be well thought out. If you are thinking of getting a power of attorney, it is a good idea to meet with a qualified elder law or estate planning attorney. Your attorney can help tailor your power of attorney to your exact needs and include provisions designed to assist you long term and years into the future.
If you would like to learn more about setting up a power of attorney, please contact Origins Legal Group at 702-850-7799 to set up a consultation.