Powers of Attorney

In the past you may have made an appointment with your attorney to prepare a Last Will and Testament and Living Will. However, you may not realize the importance and convenience of a Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney can be crucial during a time of disability. Additionally, a Power of Attorney can be useful if you are on vacation and unable to perform simple everyday decisions. A Power of Attorney can be useful for people of all ages.

A Power of Attorney enables you to identify a trusted family member or close friend as Attorney-in-Fact. The power of the Attorney-in-Fact is determined by the type of Power of Attorney that you execute.

A Durable Power of Attorney grants another person the ability to act on your behalf, regardless of illness. The scope of the Durable Power of Attorney can be very broad, encompassing all financial, banking and personal decisions. For example, this Power of Attorney allows the Attorney-in-Fact to pay bills, borrow money, and complete tax, medical and other forms for you. In addition, you may name an Alternate Attorney-in-Fact, if your first choice is unable or unavailable to act on your behalf.

In contrast, a Limited Power of Attorney is very narrow in scope. This would limit the Attorney-in-Fact’s authority to act on your behalf only if you become disabled. While this document is executed prior to the onset of a disability, it can only be used if and when, but not before, you become disabled. In order for the Limited Power of Attorney to become effective, you may need a physician’s written report to confirm you are disabled and unable to manage your personal and financial affairs.

You may need a Power of Attorney if you are out of the state or country on vacation, and someone is required to act on your behalf. For instance, you may appoint a family member, close friend or your attorney as Attorney-in-Fact to complete a real estate closing. In this case, the Power of Attorney would specifically outline the purpose, time period and extent of the Attorney-in-Fact’s authority. This power would be only for the purpose of closing or selling the property and would expire after the closing is complete. In addition, the specific property would be identified in the Power of Attorney, therefore, limiting the closing power to only the specific property.

Whether you are traveling away from home, planning for the future, or have a loved one with disabilities, a Power of Attorney can be the best way to ensure the appropriate decisions and duties are carried out for you or your loved ones.

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