Powers of Attorney
Power of attorney designation indicates who will be permitted to handle an individual’s healthcare, finance, business, and/or general decisions in the event that they become incapacitated. Power of attorney is not only useful in the event of incapacitation. For instance, permissible actions for someone granted power of attorney may be limited to specific actions or activities, such as buying or selling real property.
A Power of Attorney is a commonly implemented estate planning tool across the United States, and is acceptable in all states. Although the rules and laws vary slightly by the locality of the person who is initiating the process. Those who are participating in life planning practices, such as designating a power of attorney, should consider consulting with an estate planning attorney who is licensed and experienced in the state in which they primarily reside.
Commonly referred to as the agent or attorney-in-fact, is the person that is designated as having power of attorney. Power of attorney is a useful and versatile tool for those who are planning for the future and wish to take into consideration all possible scenarios that could present themselves.
Common reasons for designating a power of attorney:
- Power of attorney can be useful for those who are normally functional, but for various reasons want or need to designate an agent with power of attorney. For example, if buying or selling real estate, but are unable to be present to complete the deal, the designated agent can be utilized to complete the transaction.
- “Springing” Power of attorney is also a useful tool for those who are planning for all potential outcomes, such as future incapacitation that renders them unable to manage their healthcare, finance, business, and/or general decisions. It can even be specified to take effect in the event of certain scenarios such as incapacitation or other specific events.
- When you designate an agent who has power of attorney, you effectively avoid the possibility of that person being appointed by another party, such as a court in the form of guardians, conservators, or committees.
Designating an Agent
The agent designation is usually given to spouses, children, close relatives, and other people who are close and trusted. There may also be more than one agent, as co-agents. If a situation ever arises that the power of attorney is needed, it is essential that you are confident that the agent(s) selected will make decisions that are in your best interests, and the best interests of your family.