No one wants to imagine a time when we are no longer capable of managing our own affairs. But, the sobering truth is that every day, families find themselves caring for and handling the affairs of a loved one who is sick, missing, injured, deceased, or simply incapable of doing so. If you are ever faced with this situation, you may find that you need to sign leases, cash checks, sell automobiles, consent to medical treatment or hire legal counsel on behalf of your loved one. Doing these things may be difficult or impossible without the proper legal documentation.
Choose the Right Agent for a Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney(POA) is a legal document that allows a person of your choosing to make decisions on your behalf when you no longer want to or are no longer able to do so. The person you select to entrust with this authority is called your agent. A Power of Attorney can give your agent complete control of your affairs or limit your designee’s authority to an area of affairs such as real estate, health care or household bills.
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What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone the ability to be in your place. If you ever become mentally incapacitated, this person will make decisions about your finances and medical care.
Additionally, the authority granted by a power of attorney may be immediate or reserved for a certain date or event. For example, a spouse may choose to have a power of attorney drafted that designates the spouse as agent in the event of catastrophic injury or mental incapacity.
Customize Your Power of Attorney
The best feature of a Power of Attorney is that it is completely customizable. Your attorney can draft a document that meets your family’s needs precisely. Below is a list of a few ways in which your Power of Attorney can be written to uniquely fit your circumstances and address your risks and goals for your family.
Your Power of Attorney can:
- Designate your spouse as your agent,
- Designate your attorney as agent,
- Designate any person of your choosing as your agent,
- Designate more than one person to serve as your agent,
- Take effect immediately,
- Take effect at a certain age,
- Take effect in event of accident,
- Take effect upon illness,
- Take effect on a specific date,
- Give your agent authority over all your affairs,
- Give your agent authority over your real property and land,
- Give your agent authority over your medical decisions,
- Give your agent authority to manage your business affairs,
- Give your agent authority to hire a lawyer on your behalf,
- Give your agent authority to sell your personal property—
- Cars, clothes, furniture, electronics,
- Give your agent authority to make your final arrangements,
- End upon your death,
- End on a specific date,
- End upon your recovery,
- End upon the death of your agent.
Contact a Lawyer and Draft Your Power of Attorney
A POA will protect your rights and achieve your objectives, so take care to ensure that the document is clear and unambiguous. Consult an attorney at Morris Bart to have a power of attorney drafted on your behalf. Once drafted, a lawyer is not needed to exercise a power of attorney. However, ensure that you select an agent in whom you have the utmost confidence and trust as there is no oversight of their actions. Done properly, your Power of Attorney will speak for you when you cannot and will protect you, your rights, and your property.
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