With a power of attorney, you are essentially empowering another to act on your behalf in a legal capacity. You, the principal or grantor, authorize your attorney to carry out legal and business actions on your behalf. The power of attorney is an important aspect of the estate planning process. It can prove invaluable in a variety of critical circumstances.
Why Should You Have a Power of Attorney?
Establishing a power of attorney allows you to grant legal authority to someone you trust and enable them to act on your behalf in a variety of circumstances. Now, these kinds of circumstances can vary from matters of convenience to critical life or death decisions. For instance, you may be unable to attend a real estate closing. Through the use of a power of attorney, you can grant someone else the authority to represent you at the closing. In other situations, a power of attorney will be able to make critical health care decisions on your behalf should you ever become incapacitated.
To establish a valid power of attorney, it must be signed by both the principal and the agent and notarized. Typically, a durable power of attorney is established which grants legal authority to the agent that does not end in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated. With a durable power of attorney, you can select a trusted individual to make important health care decisions on your behalf should you ever become incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes yourself. You may not be ill right now and no one really plans on becoming incapacitated, but unfortunate accidents happen every day. Having a durable power of attorney in place will ensure you have someone you want making health care decisions on your behalf. The power of attorney may also grant the agent the authority to make financial and business decisions while the principal is incapacitated.
Without the power of attorney in place, a court-appointed guardian may be needed. The court will select a person to do things like managing the property of the incapacitated individual. Guardianship proceedings mean a petition must be filed, court evaluator interview will need to be conducted, and there will be at least one hearing before a judge. Not only can this result in a delay in the management of your property, but the court may end up choosing an individual you would not have wanted to act as your guardian. Putting the power of attorney in place prior to incapacitation gives you the power to select the individual who will take on this authority should the need arise. It can give you and your loved ones peace of mind knowing that your wishes are being carried out the way you would want them.
Protecting Your Rights Through Trusted Estate Planning
An optimized estate plan is custom-tailored to your specific needs. It takes into account what is going on in your life right now as well as looking to what may happen in the future. Establishing a power of attorney now can bring you peace of mind. Estate planning, on the whole, can bring you a sense of security like few other things. For all of your estate planning needs, contact the Law Office of Angela Siegel.