A Power of Attorney: Why Should You Have One

Thursday, 02 November 2017 20:11 Written by  Stephanie M. Shortall

Whenever you discuss your estate planning with your attorney, you should be sure to discuss the preparation of a Durable Power of Attorney as well.  A Power of Attorney is a document that allows someone to act on your behalf when you are not present.  Although incapacity is typically the reason a Durable Power of Attorney is used, it can also be helpful to have in other circumstances.  If you are unavailable to act on your own behalf because of travel, deployment or temporarily living outside the area, your agent can handle many types of transactions for you.  A Power of Attorney is commonly used in real estate transactions where the Seller has already moved out of the area and needs to appoint someone else to sign documents on their behalf. 

A Durable Power of Attorney does not transfer assets to your agent or attorney-in-fact, but allows that person to act for you in most circumstances.  Without a Durable Power of Attorney, when someone becomes unable to handle their own affairs, the appointment of a guardian will likely become necessary.  A guardianship proceeding is conducted before the court in the County in which you reside and can be an expensive process that would take considerable time to accomplish.  This can lead to bills going unpaid, the inability to handle every day banking transactions and cause a major disruption for you and your family.  A Durable Power of Attorney, in most cases, can eliminate the need for a guardianship proceeding and allow your agent to handle financial transactions, real estate transactions and many other situations on your behalf. 

Together with a Will and Advanced Healthcare Directive, a Durable Power of Attorney is an important part of planning for your future.

Last modified on Tuesday, 07 November 2017 15:31
Stephanie M. Shortall

Stephanie M. Shortall

Throughout her career, Stephanie has developed a practice focused on advising closely held businesses on the full range of issues faced in today’s legal landscape. She also works with individuals to develop estate plans and administer estates of varying sizes and complexity. Strategic, practical and responsive legal service is central to Stephanie’s approach to her clients and practice.

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