Legal Guidance To Help You Appoint Durable Powers Of Attorney
While no one aspires to be mentally incapacitated, or to be reaching the end of his or her life, it is important to consider that possibility so you can take the necessary steps ahead of time. In other words: THINK AHEAD. PLAN AHEAD. ACT NOW! If you contract a medical condition or reach an elderly age that hinders your mental capability, you want someone you trust by your side who can make important decisions on your behalf. For this to happen, you will need to grant someone a “durable power of attorney,” a document that will make him or her your legal decision-maker. Without a power of attorney, no one can act on behalf of a person without being appointed as guardian. Unfortunately, guardianship proceedings must be brought in court. They are time-consuming, expensive, and, when contested, can tear families apart.
With the guidance of the lawyers at Rudolph and Bloodgood, LLC, you will not have to go through the process of drafting a durable power of attorney on your own. Attorneys, Michael Rudolph and Robert Bloodgood, offer you decades of experience in a variety of estate planning matters, including drafting powers of attorneys. From our office in Riverdale, we are dedicated to providing personalized legal services to clients throughout Morris County and in the surrounding areas. When you work with us, you can expect strong knowledge of New Jersey laws, attention to detail, and compassion.
How Does This Document Work?
A power of attorney is a document that grants someone legal permission to make decisions for, and act on behalf of, another person’s life. When you grant someone a power of attorney, he or she becomes your “Agent,” and can handle important aspects of your life such as your finances. If you become mentally incapacitated, your Agent may not continue speaking on your behalf unless he or she has a durable power of attorney. The “durable” aspect of the document ensures that your Agent’s authority lasts throughout your lifetime. This is particularly useful for making health care decisions, especially if you become severely ill and require serious medical attention. With durable powers, your Agent can carry out your preferences on your behalf.
Many people do not consider the possibility of becoming incapacitated at an unspecified future time. As a result, they postpone creation of a will or trust. Since no one can predict incapacitation, you should, at the very least, execute a durable power of attorney sooner rather than later. Because a power of attorney can remain in effect for many years, we sometimes say that: “Your Last Will and Testament May Not Be your Most Important Estate Planning Document.” This statement in no way downplays the importance of a will. It just says that you should not wait to execute a power of attorney, which is a relatively simple task, while you are in the ongoing process of estate planning.
Whom Should You Choose As Your Agent?
When you choose to whom you grant durable power of attorney, you should consider someone who knows you well, whom you trust and who can effectively communicate your desires to financial professionals. Contrary to what you may expect, you cannot simply have your spouse or your family members make these decisions for you on the mere basis of being related to you. If you want your relatives to make these decisions for you, you must grant them the legal authority to speak on your behalf.
When executing a power of attorney, you must be certain it gives your Agent the authority to do all the things that are important to you. Financial institutions are very strict, often to a fault, in allowing one person to act for another. You need legal advice from an experienced attorney who will make sure the power of attorney is properly drafted.
Not only does choosing an agent ahead of time secure decision-making during incapacity, but also allows you to appoint someone according to your preferences rather than having the court assign someone who may not be the best fit.
Discuss Your Goals With A Skilled Estate Planning Lawyer
To learn more about how you can draft a durable power of attorney that matches your goals, schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable lawyers, contact us online or call 973-208-2900.
Our office is located in Riverdale, is handicap-accessible and has adequate off-street parking. We are available during regular business hours and are convenient to NJ Route 23 and Route I-287.
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