As we go through our lives, we often encounter situations where we are unable to make decisions for ourselves. This could be due to illness, injury, or even just being out of the country for an extended period of time. In these scenarios, it’s important to have someone who can act on our behalf and make decisions that align with our wishes.
That’s where a power of attorney comes in. A power of attorney is a legal document in an estate plan that appoints someone, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, to make decisions and take actions on your behalf. This can include signing documents, managing finances, and making healthcare decisions.
If you are considering creating a power of attorney, it’s important to understand how it works. We’ll get into some of the basics of establishing a power of attorney and provide you with the information you need to take the next step.
Are There Different Powers of Attorney Available?
There’s more than one kind of power of attorney you can establish, and it’s worth considering all of the options available to you. Having more than one power of attorney in place may not be right for everyone, but it can help other people account for complex financial arrangements and businesses.
General Power of Attorney
A general power of attorney provides an agent with broad powers to act on your behalf. If you don’t have a specific reason or niche need to form a power of attorney, creating a general power of attorney could help you ensure that all legal and financial aspects of your life are covered by an agent you trust.
Elderly individuals can especially benefit from a general power of attorney. With this document, they can entrust adult children, relatives, or other people they trust to handle important affairs for them.
Limited Power of Attorney
When a general power of attorney seems too broad, a limited power of attorney may be a better option. With this document, you can empower an agent to handle one or a few specific tasks for you, such as selling your home or vehicles or managing your investments. Again, this can be a good option for people who aren’t confident in their ability to handle these important transactions on their own.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is one that can trigger before the creator’s incapacity occurs but remains in effect throughout incapacity to ensure that important matters are addressed. This empowers agents to act on a creator’s behalf when they are unable to do so.
Springing Power of Attorney
A springing power of attorney is one that only goes into effect when a certain condition is met, such as the incapacity of the creator. A springing power of attorney is useful for planning for the unexpected and ensuring that important legal and financial matters aren’t neglected while the creator is incapacitated due to illness or injury.
How Do I Create a Power of Attorney?
If you’re interested in creating a power of attorney, you should consult with an estate planning lawyer you trust. We at Nguyen Law Group can help clients establish powers of attorney and have done so for many years.
Here are some steps in this process to consider:
- Choose an agent: The first step is to choose someone you trust to act on your behalf. This can be a family member, friend, or even a professional advisor such as a lawyer or accountant.
- Decide on the type and scope of powers: As discussed earlier, there are different types of power of attorney with varying levels of authority. Consider what specific tasks or decisions you want your agent to handle and choose the appropriate type.
- Draft the document: You can create a power of attorney yourself using a template or hire a lawyer to draft it for you. Make sure to include all necessary details, such as the names and contact information of both you and your agent, and the specific powers being granted.
- Sign and notarize: In most cases, a power of attorney must be signed in front of a notary public in order to be valid. This ensures that the document is authentic and legally binding.
- Keep a copy: Make sure to keep a signed copy of the power of attorney for your records. You may also want to provide a copy to your agent and any relevant parties, such as banks or medical providers.
A power of attorney can provide peace of mind when you know that someone you trust can make decisions for you when you are unable to do so. If you are considering creating a power of attorney, it’s essential to understand your options and how they work.
At Nguyen Law Group, we can help you create the power of attorney documents you need to ensure a trusted person can act as your agent during a difficult time. We encourage you to reach out to us and schedule a consultation to learn more about your estate planning options.
Send us a message today to get started.