One could argue that a duly executed durable Power of Attorney is the most important document in your Estate Plan. Perhaps even more important than a Last Will and Testament. Despite that being the case, many people do not understand what a durable Power of Attorney is, why it is so important and why they should have an experienced Trusts & Estates attorney prepare the document and supervise its execution. Here are three simple reasons to have Betensky Law, PLLC review your existing Power of Attorney or, if you do not have one, draft a Power of Attorney as part of your Estate Plan.
- Simply put, a Power of Attorney allows Person A to appoint Person B to make decisions on Person A’s behalf. Every person should have durable Power of Attorney so that if they die or become incapacitated, their spouse, life partner or other designee can make critical decisions concerning finances, health care, guardianship and other issues, on their behalf. A durable Power of Attorney is even more important for same-sex couples and LGBTQ families, despite recent changes in the law.
- Executing a Power of Attorney now can save loved ones a great deal of time, money and aggravation in the future. For example, a Power of Attorney can avoid the need for a protracted probate or guardianship proceeding. Important decisions concerning finances and health care can often be time sensitive and waiting for a Court to issue an Order can sometimes take weeks, months or even years. Unless your spouse or life partner holds all assets with you jointly, they may not have legal authority to manage your financial affairs without a duly executed Power of Attorney.
- While the Power of Attorney form is available to the public, the form may not be valid unless it is completed properly and signed properly. Some banks and brokerage firms will not honor Power of Attorney unless they meet certain conditions. One way to ensure that the Power of Attorney is valid (and will be honored) is to use an experienced Trusts & Estates lawyer. Otherwise, loved ones may not find out the Power of Attorney is invalid until it is too late.
If you previously completed a Power of Attorney but you are not sure if it was properly completed and executed, please do not hesitate to call us. We also understand that an Estate Plan is not static – it may need to be updated as life circumstances change. If you previously completed a Power of Attorney but you would now like to make changes, please contact us.
For questions about Powers of Attorney or general information about our firm, please contact us at (914) 338-8050 or send an e-mail to email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you.
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