Many people think about executing a Power of Attorney when they become elderly and are no longer able to handle their financial affairs. However, everyone should have at least one in place regardless of your age or health status.
A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you designate a person to have the ability to sign your name, access your money and handle your financial affairs. This power does not supersede your own power it is in conjunction with it.
If you are traveling, deployed with the military or should become sick or incapacitated, this document will allow someone to handle your finances immediately without the time and expense of setting up a guardianship.
Setting up a guardianship can take months and cost thousands of dollars. It is much wiser to already have this simple document in place. Most people name their spouse or significant other as their agent. Even if your assets and accounts are held jointly, certain actions may require both signatures and having a power of attorney in place will allow you you to take any actions you need to even when your spouse is absent.
It is generally advisable to have a second power of attorney naming a relative or trusted friend as there is a higher likelihood that you and your spouse could be in an accident together and need a third party to handle your affairs temporarily.
In choosing your power of attorney, pick a very trustworthy person who does not have financial troubles as there is certainly room for abuse in granting someone this power. Your agent is obligated to act as your fiduciary – they must act according to your wishes and in your best interest at all times. If you do not have a trusted person to designate as your agent, you can also name an attorney or financial institution, although they will charge a fee for their services.
If you already have a power of attorney in place, it is advisable to have it reviewed every five years as banking institutions and the IRS are constantly adding new required language. While you may obtain one on the internet, these forms are often not valid, may not be valid in your state and are often missing necessary language for certain transactions.
An attorney can prepare a solid document valid in your state and can also tailor the document to your specific wishes, limiting certain powers if it is your desire to do so. In addition, an attorney will use his experience to help you in choosing the proper agent to name.
Taylor, Taylor & Taylor, Inc. is a family law firm located at 11213 Nuckols Rd. Suite E in the Twin Hickory office park between the YMCA and Sunburst. Call us at 804-266-9619 and mention this for $50 off a fixed fee or fee-based work.