When creating an estate plan, a power of attorney should often be an essential part of this plan. By creating a power of attorney, you can save your family from a difficult situation if you become incapacitated. You can also make sure that your property and assets are carefully managed if you cannot manage them on your own, and you can take more control over your own future so you still have some level of autonomy even when your health issues make it impossible for you to communicate or make decisions for yourself.
Everyone should create a power of attorney, regardless of your age, although the necessity of having an incapacity plan in place increases as you get older and statistically more likely to suffer a debilitating illness.
Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can provide you with assistance in determining if you need a power of attorney and in following the appropriate legal process to create one. Give our Smithtown NY estate planning lawyers a call now so we can get started on helping you to create important legal documents necessary to secure your future.
Why Having a Power of Attorney is Important
A power of attorney allows you to name an agent who is going to be able to take action on your behalf. Your agent essentially acts for you. For example, if your agent signs a contract, it is the equivalent of you signing a contract.
You can create different kinds of power of attorney. A limited power of attorney would allow your agent only to act for you for certain specific purposes. You can also create a general power of attorney so you name an agent to act for you on all matters, and a healthcare power of attorney so you name an agent to make decisions for you regarding what kinds of medical treatment you should receive.
When you create an estate plan, generally you create a general power of attorney and a healthcare power of attorney. You want to make sure your power of attorney is durable, so it continues to remain in effect upon incapacity. If you don’t make the power of attorney durable, your agent will no longer have the authority to act on your behalf once you are incapacitated. You may also want to make your power of attorney a springing power of attorney so your agent gets authority to act only if you become incapacitated.
When you create a durable general power of attorney and a healthcare power of attorney, you get to name a trusted person who manages your affairs and decides on treatment in case you have a stroke, develop dementia, get seriously hurt, or otherwise develop medical problems that prevent you from acting on your own behalf or communicating your wishes.
Creating a power of attorney means you get to choose who makes choices for you, rather than having that person selected for you. If you don’t have a valid power of attorney in place, your loved ones would need to go to court, have you declared a ward, and seek guardianship. The court would appoint a guardian if they determined you were incapacitated, and this person could be someone very different from the person you would have preferred.
You should create a valid power of attorney as soon as you can, because you never know when tragedy will strike and leave you incapacitated. It is important to follow NY laws on creating a power of attorney so it is enforceable.
New York General Obligations Law contains statutory forms, which are found in the New York General Obligations Code in Title 15. These statutory forms, or model forms, begin at Section 5-1501. There are forms for nondurable power of attorney, durable power of attorney, and springing power of attorney. The model forms can be used by those who want to ensure that their grant of authority is legal.
You should also get appropriate legal advice from an attorney so your lawyer can help to prevent errors that could render your power of attorney invalid.
A Smithtown Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help You Create a Power of Attorney
A Smithtown estate planning lawyer at Mark S. Eghrari and Associates PLLC can provide you with the assistance that you need to create a power of attorney so you can maintain control over who makes decisions for you and so your family won’t have to deal with guardianship proceedings if you become incapacitated.
Give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us online to learn more about how an experienced lawyer can help you. You can also download our estate planning checklist to find out more about what is involved with creating a power of attorney and using other estate planning tools.