Do I Need a Power of Attorney?
In the event that you were unable to make a critical decision regarding your finances, business, or medical care, who would you trust to make that decision on your behalf?
Chances are, not just anybody.
Whether due to an unexpected accident or natural causes as we age, most people eventually need someone else to care for and make important decisions for them.
It is for this exact reason that a Power of Attorney (POA) is one of the most important estate planning documents you should have in place.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A POA allows you, as the named principal, to appoint someone you trust to make significant decisions and take actions on your behalf when you are not able to do so yourself.
Most of the time (depending on the type of POA agreement), this occurs when someone becomes either temporarily or permanently mentally or physically incapacitated.
The appointed decision-maker, AKA your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact,” becomes responsible for decisions involving your medical care, insurance policies, tax obligations, business transactions, and more.
Different types of POA documents
- General Power of Attorney — Gives a wide range of powers/responsibilities to your appointed agent(s), including all of those mentioned above. This type of POA is negated as soon as the principal becomes incapacitated.
- “Limited” or “Special” Power of Attorney — This document grants an agent(s) a variety of powers while also assigning limitations on their authorities. You may decide to name multiple agents to deal with specific areas. For example, you might decide to name your spouse as an agent to make all of your medical and health care decisions, while leaving real estate and property management to one of your parents or a close friend who has experience in the industry.
- Durable Power of Attorney. This agreement remains in effect if the principal becomes mentally or physically incapacitated. These are very popular in the estate planning process, as they ensure that the principal’s assets and decisions are handled according to his or her wishes.
Given the significance of these types of decisions, it is essential that you carefully select a trustworthy person or group of people to handle your affairs with your best interests at heart.
Estate Planning with Lefkoff Duncan
If you’re ready to create a Power of Attorney, but you aren’t sure where to start, the experienced attorneys at Lefkoff Duncan are here to help.
Give us a call at your convenience at 404-262-2000 to get started.