What is a Power of Attorney and Do I Need One?

What is a Power of Attorney and Do I Need One

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives another person the power to handle your financial affairs. As long as you are competent to make decisions, the person whom you designated in your power of attorney, or your agent, can manage your finances. These management duties can include things like signing, depositing, and cashing checks, paying your bills, entering into contracts for services, such as medical care, and selling property. The power of attorney document usually specifies what your agent is authorized to do, and you can give broad powers or very narrow powers, depending on your wishes and needs.

A durable power of attorney not only gives your agent the authority to act on your behalf while you are competent, but also can allow your agent to make decisions for you in the event that you become incompetent, or incapable of making decisions. For instance, a durable power of attorney document can contain a specific provision that permits your agent to continue to act in the event of your incompetency or incapacity. Alternatively, you can draft your durable power of attorney so that your designated agent only can handle your affairs if you become incapacitated in some way, but not while you are still competent to manage your finances and make decisions.

One of the benefits of a power of attorney is that it permits another person to help you out with financial and business matters, which can become difficult later in life, particularly if you have a physical infirmity or disability that makes it hard for you to leave the house. If you opt for a durable power of attorney, you may avoid the need for a guardianship or other more expensive, time-consuming remedies, since your agent will be able to continue handling your affairs even if you become incapacitated.

Estate planning, including a power of attorney, is one of the most effective ways that you can preserve your hard-earned assets for the benefit of your family. We are here to ensure that your estate plan meets all of your needs. The Michigan elder law attorneys of Legacy Law Center have helped countless individuals set up individualized estate plans. Contact our office and set up an appointment with one of our experienced elder law attorneys today.