One of the most painful and difficult situations to deal with arises when a serious illness or injury leaves a person unable to communicate or unable to control his or her own affairs. This is a terrible situation for the person who is left helpless and dependent upon others to make decisions for him. It is also a terrible situation for family members, who may be left wondering what steps to take.
While no one wants to think about this type of situation occurring, it is something you need to plan for because you never know when accident or illness will strike. If you have made advanced plans in case of a serious illness or injury leaving you incapacitated, you and your family will be in a much better place. These plans should includes the creation of a power of attorney.
Nehoray and Drake, LLP can help you with the creation of a power of attorney and with a comprehensive incapacity plan so you are prepared for serious illness or injury. To find about more about personalized assistance we can provide to you, give us a call. We can offer assistance with the creation of a power of attorney and answers to key questions including:
- What is a power of attorney?
- When should I create a power of attorney?
- How can a power of attorney lawyer help me?
What is a Power of Attorney?
Power of attorney is a legal document that you create. You must follow certain formalities in the document creation. There are standard forms you can utilize which contain the language that you need to make the power of attorney enforceable, although using these forms can be a bad idea as there is no guarantee the info on them will be accurate and up-to-date in your state. An experienced attorney should be consulted to help you create your power of attorney document so it is legally valid and provides expected protections.
When you create a power of attorney document, you name an agent or attorney in fact within that document. You give the agent either broad authority to act on your behalf in all transactions, or you give the agent limited authority to act on your behalf. You may also choose to create a healthcare power of attorney to give someone authority to make medical choices on your behalf in the event you are too badly hurt or too ill to communicate.
If you give limited authority to act, the agent can only do what you specify. For example, if you’re going out of town but have to sign a contract while you are away, you could name an agent and give him limited authority to sign the contract for you. With broad authority, however, your agent can act as if he was you in all matters not prohibited by law. The agent has a fiduciary duty to act on your behalf, which is the highest duty under the law.
Creating a power of attorney and giving someone authority to act is a powerful part of incapacity planning. As long as you have given general authority, the agent you have named is able to immediately begin making choices if something happens to you. There is no delay, as there would be in guardianship proceedings where someone must go to court to be named guardian. You also get the chance to select your preferred person to act for you, instead of the court appointing someone to act. This gives you the chance to select someone who you feel confident can be trusted with important decisions about your assets and your future.
When Should I Create a Power of Attorney?
You should create a power of attorney as soon as you can, if you have no power of attorney already. Even people who are young and just starting out in life could be sick or hurt and left without capacity to act. When and if this happens, you want a person acting as your agent who you are confident will do the right thing.
A power of attorney lawyer can assist you in creating a power of attorney, selecting an agent, using other incapacity planning tools, and otherwise working towards a more secure future. Give us a call today to find out more.