Power of Attorney: What It Is and How to Get One

Do I Need a Power of Attorney?

Yes, you need a “power of attorney” document. Powers of Attorney are one of the most basic but most important estate planning tools. This document allows you to assign a person or establishment to handle your affairs if you are unable to do so.

Preparing Powers of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a powerful tool and should only be entrusted to a person or persons who you can trust will appropriately exercise discretion and act in your best interests, especially when you may not be able to adequately fight for yourself.

Your agent will be your fiduciary under the law and be subject to duties beyond that of an ordinary person when it comes to handling your affairs.  A powerful tool, but it can also become a powerful weapon when in the wrong hands.

Powers of Attorney can spring into action upon your disability or be effective immediately.  Also, if you name more than one agent you can require them to act together always or allow them to act independently.  Many other options and variations exist with respect to creating a Power of Attorney.

Can I Do It Myself?

There are different types of Power of Attorney for different situations.  If you need someone to handle specific matters while you are unable to do so, a General Power of Attorney may fit. However, if you want to specify who will be able to make medical decisions for you then a Health Care Power of Attorney may be in order. There are free forms available online, however, it is important to know that the standard form does not grant a few specific powers that could be very important if your designated person did need to use power of attorney, such as accessing a safe deposit box or setting up a trust.

More Information

Parisi, Coan, and Saccocio, PLLC has over 100 years combined experience in estate planning, administration of client’s wishes after passing, and representing litigants in cases of disputed estate matters. If you are ready to create a Power of Attorney, would like more information, or have further questions please contact us for a free consultation at (914) 228-7448.

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