There may be times in your life when you need help managing your finances, or alternately, when you become incapable of making decisions on your own behalf, perhaps due to illness, injury, or other circumstances that leave you incapacitated. When the latter occurs, you’ll want a trusted family member or friend to make decisions on your behalf.
In lieu of a legal directive, this duty will first fall to a close family member like a spouse, a parent, a child, or a sibling, just for example. What if you don’t have such a person in your life, or what if you want a specific person making decisions about your health and your finances when you can’t make them on your own?
This is where a Power of Attorney comes into play, and it’s best to enact such legal devices early on so that they’re already in place should you become incapacitated. The caring and experienced attorneys at Curtis Law Firm are happy to help you create Powers of Attorney, as well as manage other estate planning concerns.
There are several types of Powers of Attorney. For example, there is Medical Power of Attorney, related to making health care decisions on your behalf. There is also a General Power of Attorney which applies to financial issues. That means your agent to whom you assign Power of Attorney could access your bank accounts, cash checks, pay bills, and make other financial decisions on your behalf, using your finances.
That said, there are four main categories of Power of Attorney with differing scopes:
- Limited: This type of Power of Attorney is generally limited to a specific action and time frame.
- General: This gives your agent all the same financial powers you have but ends when you become incapacitated or die. It is meant for people who are still capable of managing their own finances and financial decisions but need some help.
- Durable: A durable Power of Attorney continues after you become incapacitated, whether it is limited or general. If you fall into a coma, for example, this will allow your agent to continue managing your finances until you recover or until your death.
- Springing: This form of Power of Attorney only takes effect if you become incapacitated.
You can appoint pretty much anyone to act as your agent when you create a legal Power of Attorney, but because of the delicate nature of managing finances or health decisions, you’ll want to choose someone you trust implicitly to act in your best interest. This is why many people choose a close relative or friend, although you could also choose an attorney or a CPA, just for example.
When you create a Power of Attorney, you have the opportunity to spell out the precise powers granted, as well as incorporate instructions and even define incapacitation for the purposes of clarity. Your agent is expected to act as a fiduciary, which means acting in your best interest, and keep records of transactions on your behalf for the purposes of review.
If you need help preparing your Power of Attorney, contact the experienced professionals at Curtis Law Firm today at (720) 408-7726 to learn more.
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