Skilled Estate Planning Lawyers Helping You with Your Power of Attorney in Asheville and Surrounding Areas
If you want to lose some sleep, start thinking about all of the responsibilities you fulfill every day, week, month, or year—paying bills, signing documents, writing checks, filing taxes forms, managing assets—and then think about how those things would get done if you were unable to do them. It’s a scary prospect. The solution can be to have a power of attorney in place, naming a trusted individual to carry out all of these duties, and more, should you become unable to carry them out yourself.
Contact Craig Associates, PC at 828-258-2888 to create a durable power of attorney so you can sleep soundly in the knowledge that all will be taken care of if the worst should happen. Let us provide you with the legal services you need.
What Is a Power of Attorney, and What Does it Allow?
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that names a trusted person, called the agent or the attorney-in-fact, to stand in for you in all legal circumstances, should you become unable to be present to sign documents or conduct transactions. It is not necessary that this person is an actual licensed attorney. Most often they are a trusted relative or friend. A POA can grant broad legal authority or limited authority to make decisions about your property, finances, or medical care. You will need to split medical decision-making into a separate health care power of attorney, as the general or durable POA does not allow for medical decision-making.
Generally, a POA will result in your named agent acting for you in cases in which you cannot due to absence. The types of transactions an agent might conduct in your place include handling bank accounts, signing checks, selling property, managing assets, or filing taxes. The POA may be limited in time and scope. For example, a POA may only last for the two years during which the principal is out of the country, or may be limited to retirement account management only. How you limit a POA is entirely up to you and will depend on your specific needs.
What is the Difference Between a Power of Attorney and a Durable Power of Attorney?
A durable power of attorney allows the agent to act in the principal’s stead for financial transactions even after the principal becomes incapacitated; however, it does not allow the durable agent to make medical decisions. A healthcare power of attorney will need to be in place for an agent to make medical decisions. What is known as a “springing” power of attorney only goes into effect with the principal’s incapacity, but does not authorize the agent to act on the principal’s behalf if they are physically and mentally capable of acting for themselves.
Do My Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney Have to Be Separate?
While it is possible to have the power of attorney and health care power of attorney contained in one document, there are several reasons to keep them separate. First, your financial agent may have to show your POA in order to conduct business for you. If it contains a health care POA with sensitive medical information, that information will be revealed to any broker, banker, real estate agent, or other financial professional who requests the POA. Second, the person you think is best to manage your financial affairs may not be the same person you choose to make your medical decisions. Separating the POA and the health care POA allows you to name different agents for these very different responsibilities.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer to Create My Power of Attorney?
Every state has different rules, regulations, and forms that govern powers of attorney. Simply printing a generic form from the internet and filling it out does not ensure that the POA complies with the law, or that it will be honored by financial or medical professionals, or by the courts. The skilled power of attorney lawyers at Craig Associates have the know-how and experience to be sure that your powers of attorney are legal, binding, and remain valid over time. Call our Asheville office today at 828-258-2888 to get started.