Incapacity can strike at any time. Any of us could sustain an injury or fall ill. Sometimes, old age causes a serious decline. Making plans in advance can protect you or a loved one in case problems arise later on. Donald R. Fuller, Jr., PLLC in Hickory can help by creating a durable power of attorney, which allows someone you select to act on your behalf if you are unable to communicate or handle your affairs properly. Speak to a Hickory lawyer for powers of attorney to learn how you can authorize someone you trust to manage your finances and take responsibility for crucial decisions regarding your health and welfare.
A durable power of attorney is a legal document that empowers a person to act as an agent for another person, known as the principal. By executing one of these instruments, you grant special power to your agent for a specified period of time or when a particular contingency arises. These powers can include:
Many older adults execute power of attorney documents because they can’t manage their affairs the way they used to. Some people facing a health emergency or leaving the country prepare these instruments so a trusted individual can handle key tasks.
With ordinary power of attorney documents, the power transfers immediately and terminates when the principal is incapacitated. However, a durable power of attorney remains in effect during the principal’s incapacity. You can also draft a “springing” power of attorney that only comes into effect when certain conditions are met, such as the principal being incapacitated. As an experienced estate planning attorney in Hickory, North Carolina, I can explain all your options.
You can grant power of attorney to any capable individual whom you trust to look after your best interests. Think about the specific duties he or she will have to fulfill and find someone who is well suited to those particular tasks. It is permissible to divide responsibilities by creating several documents. Each agent should receive a copy of the power of attorney to keep on file.
A valid power of attorney contains the principal’s name, the name of the agent and a description of the authority being given to the agent. My firm can have the document notarized.
Unlike court-ordered transfers of legal authority, a power of attorney is voluntary. Therefore, it is void if there is evidence of coercion in its drafting. Should you wish to assume power of attorney for a loved one, you should ask them. If they refuse, you might wish to petition the court for an appointment as your loved one’s guardian. Courts grant guardianship petitions if the proposed ward has lost the capacity to manage on their own. When drafting a power of attorney, the principal must be mentally sound, so if a loved one is unfit to make legal decisions, a guardianship is your only option.
A principal of sound mind can revoke the power of attorney at any time. Typically, a durable power of attorney terminates when the principal passes away. Some principals name the agent as executor of their estate. Having someone familiar with the principal’s finances can be a great help during the North Carolina estate administration process.
Donald R. Fuller, Jr., PLLC in Hickory drafts powers of attorney for North Carolina clients. Please call 828-639-8188 or contact me online to schedule an appointment.