Durable Powers Of Attorney
This is a type of power of attorney (POA) that enables you or an elderly relative, otherwise known as the “principal”, to appoint an “attorney in fact”, to handle all of their affairs relating to their health, financial responsibilities as well as any legal responsibilities that they may have. This will come into effect as soon as the principal signs the power of attorney or, in some states when the principal is incapacitated and unable to see to their own health, financial and legal responsibilities. This type of durable power of attorney is known as a “springing” power of attorney.
When Should A Principal Get An Attorney In Fact?
A principal should get an agent before they are unable to appoint a legal guardian due to various illnesses which could affect their state of mind. For example, if your elderly relative is declared to not be “of sound mind” at the time of signing the contract for a durable power of attorney, they will not be able to appoint an attorney in fact.
This is a legal document that can be prepared years in advance, which will take effect immediately, to be used immediately or when your relative becomes incapacitated. This means that until the day when the principal is proven to be incapable of making decisions that are “of sound mind”, the principal is able to continue making their own decisions.
Why Should A Principal Get An Attorney In Fact?
If you or your relative as Principal does not get an attorney in fact, the person that is responsible for looking after your relative will not be able to make any health, financial or legal decisions on behalf of your relative. That person will not be able to pay any of the necessary bills or ensure that your relative is in good health, unless they go through the tedious court process to be officially appointed as the legal guardian of your relative. As the attorney in fact will need certain powers to help them care for your relative, not having a POA can also affect your relative’s eligibility to receive Medicaid benefits.
Who Should Be The Attorney In Fact?
The person that is chosen to be the agent must be someone that you can trust to act on your behalf or on behalf of your relative. You don’t want to appoint someone who will go against the wishes of the Principal, nor do you want to appoint someone who will not adequately care for your relative. When choosing a guardian for you’re a relative, ensure that they have a thorough understanding of what is needed as well as exactly what their responsibility will be.
Why Is This So Important?
This is one of the essential estate planning steps that you need to follow in order to ensure that you or your relative is seen to, should you or your relative be unable to handle your own affairs. If you have any questions regarding durable powers of attorney or other essential estate planning steps that you may have neglected to consider, then don’t hesitate to contact the team at Gary I. Handin, PA., for legal services you can count on…Since 1969.