Durable Powers of Attorney
Planning for your incapacity or times when you may lack the mental capacity to care for your property and health is just as important as planning for your death. Maybe you have had a loved one who has failed to execute a power of attorney. Upon suffering dementia, a stroke or some other condition which interfered with their ability to take care of their own finances, a family member or friend had to institute costly and emtional proceedings with the Court for the appointment of a guardian. Without said appointment, banks, retirement accounts, credit card companies and other financial institutions refuse to communicate about the incapacitated person's property and estate. All of this can be avoided by the execution of a Durable Power of Attorney in which you choose someone you trust to serve as your agent should you become unable to make decisions about your property and finances.
The Durable Power of Attorney is designed to make it possible for an agent, or mandatory, to manage your financial affairs. For instance, your agent has the power to buy and sell real estate, write checks on your checking account, and sign your tax returns. These are just a few of the powers you will be giving to your agent. Your agent needs to be a person you trust completely. The appointment of an agent while you have the capacity to make such an appointment may alleviate the need for guardianship proceedings later should you lose such capacity. Further, by selecting the agent yourself, you are appointing the individual or individuals who you trust have you and your estate's best interests in mind and not a person selected by the Court. Thus, execution of a Durable Power of Attorney is essential in order to ensure that you and your loved ones are protected in the even of your incapacitation.
To sign a valid power of attorney, you must be of sound mind, meaning you understand what you signing. This is why time is of the essence as a power of attorney must be executed before you become incapacitated. Your power of attorney must be in writing and your must sign it in front of two witnesses and a notary. Your agent or mandatory cannot be your witness.
Your agent or mandatory's authority terminates automatically when you die which is why it is essential to have a will or trust so that your executor or trustee may assume control of your estate following you death. While you are competent you may change or revoke your agent's authority at any time by destroying your current power of attorney and executing a new one. It is essential that you give notice to anyone who may have received a copy of your power of attorny regarding said revocation.
By taking the simple step of executing a Durable Power of Attorney, you can not only give yourself the peace of mind that the agent of your choosing will manage your estate in the event you are unable to; moreover, you can save your family both financial and emotional strain of having to institute and endure legal proceedings to have a guardian appointed. Contact me today to execute your Durable Power fo Attorney.