Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney (POA) is a formal written document that legally authorizes an individual to represent or act on your behalf in certain situations. As the creator of the power of attorney, you are referred to as the principal of the power. The individual you authorize to act on your behalf is the attorney-in-fact. A power of attorney provides the agent with the ability to make financial and property decisions for you. A power of attorney will be rendered legally ineffective upon your death, and if not “durable” then also upon your incapacitation.
Durable Powers of Attorney
Like an ordinary power of attorney, a durable power of attorney can be instituted at any time provided that you have the mental capacity to sign one; however, if you were to later become incapacitated, the durable power of attorney will remain in effect. A durable power of attorney is commonly utilized by aging individuals who anticipate they may need future assistance in making decisions about their health and well-being. However, as we all know, anything can happen regardless of age, so it is wise to have a durable power of attorney in place. A durable power of attorney is an inexpensive and easy way for you to confer decision-making power to the person of your choice when the time is necessary.
Make Certain Your POA is Specific and Protection Your Interests
Although generic durable power of attorney forms are available from various resources, you should be cautious in using them for several reasons.
- Every situation is different and a power of attorney needs to be crafted to address your specific circumstances. A generic durable power of attorney form is not drafted with you in mind and, accordingly, your interests may not be fully protected.
- A New York statutory short form power of attorney requires specific language in order to be enforceable and effective for elder law and asset protection strategies.
- When drafting a power of attorney, it is imperative you make certain your interests are protected. Having a skilled attorney guide you through the process is the best way to ensure your durable power of attorney is drafted correctly.