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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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