If Your Estate Plan Doesn’t Include A Power Of Attorney, It Needs One
Introducing the good enough estate plan. If you are old enough to be aware of your mortality, then you are old enough to put some instructions in writing about what should happen to your body, children, and property (no matter how meager that property might be) when you die. The rest can wait. If you are in your 40s, your efforts are better spent on trying to survive until retirement age than on worrying about how much monthly income you will get from your retirement accounts and Social Security. You need to have just enough estate planning documents in place to avoid a disastrous battle among your family members in the unlikely event of you dying or suffering from a severe illness in the near future. In other words, you need a will and a power of attorney. The first step to formalizing these documents is to contact an Orlando estate planning lawyer.
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to make one or more decisions on behalf, including signing on your behalf. When you sign a power of attorney, you (the principal) specify which decisions of yours the other person (the agent) has the right to make. The term “attorney in fact” is a synonym for “agent” in a power of attorney document, but the agent does not have to be a lawyer. Most powers of attorney are signed between family members.
You can give the agent the right to make financial decisions and to conclude transactions on your behalf, as well as to make decisions about your healthcare. Most powers of attorney specify a start date and end date during which the agent can make transactions on the principal’s behalf. A durable power of attorney is of indefinite duration and continues even if the principal becomes severely ill. A springing power of attorney begins only when the principal becomes too ill to act on his or her own behalf.
Add a Power of Attorney to Your Estate Plan Sooner Rather Than Later
Your will only indicates what will happen to your property when you die. It is even more painful for your family to disagree over who has the final say about your finances and healthcare when you are still alive but your health is so poor that you cannot speak for yourself. Therefore, you need a springing power of attorney that indicates who has the right to make decisions about your care and your money. If you have preferences about which decisions the agent makes, you should indicate these in the power of attorney or in a separate document.
Contact Gierach and Gierach About Powers of Attorney
An estate planning lawyer can help you draft a power of attorney to avoid conflicts over your finances and healthcare in the event that you suffer a serious illness. Contact Gierach and Gierach, P.A. in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.