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What is a Durable Power of Attorney, and How Does it Help You

What is a Durable Power of Attorney, and How Does it Help You?

Estate planning is all about preparing for the future. That means making sure your physical assets are passed down according to your wishes, and that your heirs are well taken care of. That’s not all it means, though; indeed, another key component of estate planning is ensuring that your wishes are met even if you become medically incapacitated in some sense.

This isn’t something any of us like to think about, but it’s a very real risk. Accident, illness, or simply the effects of aging could leave you unable to speak or make decisions for yourself. In these scenarios, a durable power of attorney can be invaluable.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

You can’t totally mitigate the risk of accident or illness, and you certainly can’t stop the aging process, but you can make life a little smoother for you and your family members, even if that worst-case-scenario unfolds. A power of attorney allows you to do exactly that.

Basically, a power of attorney is a legal document that allows another person to speak in your place, acting as your legal representative, should you be unable to speak for yourself. Note that a power of attorney only goes into effect if you are incapacitated in some way; if you’re still able to make your own decisions, the power of attorney is not binding.

Financial Power of Attorney

There are two kinds of durable power of attorney… a financial power of attorney, and a medical power of attorney.

A financial power of attorney appoints another person to be your legal representative in all manner of financial transactions. Some examples might be paying your taxes, taking care of unpaid bills, completing a real estate sale, even buying or selling a business. Again, your appointed representative only has legal standing if you are incapacitated, in a coma, etc.

Medical Power of Attorney

The other kind of power of attorney is the medical power of attorney. This document gives legal authority to an appointed representative, allowing this person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. For example, this person can make the decision about whether to administer or discontinue life support systems.

As you craft your medical power of attorney, working closely with a power of attorney lawyer, it’s also recommended that you draft a document that outlines your wishes on these matters; give your chosen representative a clear sense of what you want, what your personal feelings are about life support, etc.

How Does a Durable Power of Attorney Benefit You?

Clearly, a power of attorney can be an important tool for making your wishes known and for giving yourself a “voice” even when you can no longer speak for yourself. It ensures that important decisions are made by someone you know and trust, ideally someone to whom you have made your desires clear.

A durable power of attorney also benefits the entire family. Rather than facing tough questions about your real intentions, your heirs can rest assured that they are acting in compliance with your stated legal preferences. This can be an enormous source of comfort and peace of mind.

Work with a Power of Attorney Lawyer

If you have further questions, or are ready to draft your own durable power of attorney, we invite you to speak directly with an estate power attorney.

Singh Law Firm will help you create an estate plan that gives a sense of peace to you and your family members and provides total clarity about your ultimate wishes. To speak with an estate power attorney from our firm, reach out to the Singh team today.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney, and How to Hire the Right Attorney

There’s more than one way to prepare for an uncertain future. For example, consider the possibility that an accident or an illness could leave you medically incapacitated, unable to speak up on your own behalf. Who would make healthcare decisions for you? And what about decisions related to your finances or your business?

There are actually a number of estate planning documents that can answer these questions. One of the most common examples is the Durable Power of Attorney. In this post, we’ll explain what this document is, and also offer some tips for hiring a Durable Power lawyer.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

We’ll start by defining the term. Basically, a Power of Attorney is a document that appoints someone else as your legal representative. It means that, legally, they can speak for you and make decisions on your behalf, under certain circumstances.

A Durable Power of Attorney may go into effect if you fall into a coma or are otherwise unable to speak for yourself. The person named in your Power of Attorney becomes your legal representative. If and when you regain consciousness, the Durable Power of Attorney goes out of effect.

Durable Power of Attorney: Other Considerations

There are a couple of additional points to know. The first is that there are two basic types of Power of Attorney you can invoke.

  • Financial Power of Attorney. A Financial Power of Attorney names someone as your legal representative on issues regarding your taxes, real estate deals, small business ownership, and all other financial matters.
  • Medical Power of Attorney. Meanwhile, a Medical Power of Attorney appoints someone to make decisions about the medical care you receive, including decisions about when life support technology should be used and when it should be ceased.

Should you have both types of Power of Attorney in place? That’s a good question to consider alongside your financial attorney.

One more thing to know about having a Durable Power of Attorney is that you may also want to have an advance healthcare directive. This estate planning document allows you to spell out your wishes with regard to end-of-life medical care, including the life support issues noted above. This can be clarifying for your loved ones, as they will be sure they are complying with your wishes rather than having to guess or speculate.

Hiring a Financial Attorney

If you’d like to have a Durable Power of Attorney in place, we’d recommend consulting with a qualified lawyer. Here are our tips for hiring the right Durable Power lawyer.

  • Make sure you hire a law firm that specializes in estate planning; you don’t necessarily want your estate planning to be handled by someone whose true expertise is in personal injury or criminal defense.
  • Ask your friends, family members, and co-workers if they have an estate planning law firm they would recommend. If not, Google reviews can sometimes be helpful.
  • Make sure you consult about the full range of estate planning services offered. You may wish to consider your Power of Attorney in the context of wills, trusts, life insurance, and more.
  • Ask your estate planning lawyer about how often they’ll want to meet with you to discuss revisions to your plan. Remember that estate plans shouldn’t be set and forgotten; they should be reviewed and amended at least every few years.

More questions? Are you ready to speak with a lawyer about what is a Power of Attorney, or how can it help me and my family? Reach out to Singh Law Firm today.


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