How Can a Power of Attorney Help You Stay Out of Court?
Q: What is a Power of Attorney, and how can it help me stay out of Court?
A: A Power of Attorney is an important legal document which allows someone else to legally act on your behalf with regard to financial decisions. The person who is chosen to act for you is called an agent. When you appoint an agent under a Power of Attorney it means that your agent can act for you in regard to the specific powers you have granted your agent under the Power of Attorney. The powers may be limited to a particular activity (such as closing the sale of a home) or be more general. Your agent is required to act according to your wishes and directions and if the agent does not know your wishes the agent is required to act in your best interests. With capacity, you can revoke your Power of Attorney at any time. The agent only has the power to act on your behalf while you are alive. At your death the Power of Attorney is no longer valid.
A Power of Attorney can be especially helpful in eliminating the need for an expensive and time-consuming guardianship court proceeding. Guardianship court proceedings are often necessary when an individual is incapacitated, either by a slow mental decline or by some other illness or sudden accident, and there is no Power of Attorney in place allowing someone else to act on behalf of the incapacitated person. You can avoid the need for guardianship and the ensuing expensive court process by designating an agent under a Power of Attorney in advance — a MUCH less expensive and reliable option.
A Power of Attorney can also be an important Medicaid planning tool, allowing your agent to engage in Medicaid planning techniques on your behalf to protect your hard-earned assets in the event you require long-term care at home or in a nursing home.
As experienced New York Elder Law attorneys, we can prepare your Power of Attorney to allow you to expand the powers given to your agent by including powers not generally provided in basic Power of Attorney forms. Remember, not all Powers of Attorney are the same. We customize your Power of Attorney for your particular situation.
If you have questions or concerns about Powers of Attorney or other elder law issues, we can help. We are only a phone call or e-mail away.
The information provided herein does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available here are for general informational purposes only.