What is a Power of Attorney?
Many clients we meet with want an estate plan for when they die. And rightfully so. While no one wants to think about the day when they are no longer around to take care of their family, it’s reassuring to know that life’s what-ifs have been accounted for through a Will or Trust. To really take care of their family those same people must also think about incapacity before death. What if they are still alive but become incapacitated and can’t make decisions for themselves? This is where Power of Attorney documents can help.
A Power of Attorney is a flexible document where you put someone in charge of your affairs should you become incapacitated (injury, permanent illness, etc.) and can no longer act or make important personal, business, financial, or medical decisions. It can also be helpful in certain circumstances where health isn’t an immediate issue but being present to make decisions is impossible, such as someone in the military creating Power of Attorney documents before deploying overseas.
Obviously, someone legally incapacitated or not present cannot handle their existing affairs or create legally binding documents. By assigning an Attorney-in-Fact to act on a specific matter or broad range of responsibilities, they can:
• Conduct business transactions
• Pay bills and sign checks
• Make healthcare decisions (medical treatments, surgeries, transportation, etc.)
• Access bank and investment account information
• Transfer and sell assets
• Make legal choices
• Purchase insurance
• Other duties as assigned
POAs aren’t one size fits all
A single Power of Attorney document likely won’t be sufficient to cover all of your bases. So you’ll need to make sure these documents are drawn up in accordance with a much larger and more carefully crafted estate planning strategy to ensure every scenario is accounted for. But POAs are helpful in certain situations. They allow you to control how much authority someone has, when that authority starts, and when their authority ends.
Just make sure you are having an attorney draw up your next POA. Only an attorney can ensure your Power of Attorney conforms with state requirements and is as detailed as possible to account for any of your future needs.
Call Caitlyn Ashley Law today!!
Having a plan for the future is the most important gift you can give yourself and your family. Granted, none of us will ever know for sure what is around every corner in life. And just thinking about the what-ifs — what if I were to die or become incapacitated tomorrow; what if my child with special needs has no one to care for her; what if all my “stuff” isn’t passed onto the right people — can be overwhelming. But having a plan that accounts for your family’s unique circumstances, puts your affairs in order, has concrete solutions to your concerns, lays out your wishes and goals, and protects your family’s future provides peace of mind for the road ahead.
Caitlyn Ashley Law in Denton, Texas, will counsel you on which documents best suit your needs and ensure they are flexible enough to meet your changing needs for years to come.