In the event of an injury or medical emergency, it's crucial to consider who will make decisions on your behalf. To safeguard yourself, you can establish a power of attorney (POA). A POA is a legal instrument that empowers you to designate an agent to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. There are various types of POAs, each serving a specific purpose, such as handling healthcare or financial matters.
Including a POA in your comprehensive estate plan is vital. At DiVernieri, DiVernieri and Cotter, LLP, we have assisted numerous Staten Island-area clients in obtaining the necessary estate planning documents. Our team will examine your financial situation and advise you on the types of POA documents that will best serve your interests. Reach out to us today to arrange your initial consultation.
A legal power of attorney allows you to delegate complete or limited decision-making rights to another person. This person can act on your behalf for various tasks, such as selling your home or writing checks.
Limited powers of attorney are commonly used to grant voting rights to groups or companies for their owned stock, but they can also authorize someone to make healthcare decisions or manage finances. There are four primary types of power of attorney:
With a general power of attorney, you grant your chosen agent broad authority to manage a wide range of your affairs. This includes managing your finances, selling and purchasing real estate and personal property, conducting banking transactions, using your debit and credit cards, accessing your safe deposit box, handling insurance matters, filing taxes, investing in securities, signing contracts, and hiring or firing employees and agents.
A limited power of attorney can provide specific decision-making authority to your agent for a particular purpose, unlike a general power of attorney, which grants broad powers. For example, if you cannot attend the closing of a home you are purchasing in another state, you can create a limited power of attorney authorizing someone else to sign the closing documents on your behalf. Once the specific task is completed, the agent's authority ends.
Creating a power of attorney does not automatically relinquish your decision-making authority or control over your affairs. Instead, our estate planning attorneys can help you draft a document that reflects your wishes and protects your interests. The power of attorney only becomes effective when you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions or when you instruct the agent to act on your behalf. Contact us today to learn more about creating a power of attorney as part of your estate plan.
We advise ensuring that the person you appoint as your power of attorney is willing and able to handle the responsibilities before designating them. If it has been a while since you last reviewed your power of attorney document, it may be beneficial to consult with an estate planning attorney and update it. Changes in your life circumstances, such as divorce or the death of your agent, may require creating a new document.
To revoke your power of attorney, you must notify your agent in writing. Retrieving any remaining copies of the document in the agent's or medical provider's possession is also recommended. Lastly, a power of attorney automatically terminates upon the principal's death, or the person who established it.
A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document that enables you to designate an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. To safeguard yourself in end-of-life situations, we suggest combining a healthcare power of attorney with a living will. This empowers your agent to make important medical decisions for you, such as whether to undergo surgery or receive certain medications and treatments.
Additionally, a healthcare power of attorney allows your agent to make end-of-life decisions for you, including whether to continue life-sustaining treatments. When choosing an agent, it's important to exercise caution and ensure that the individual can respect and honor your preferences, regardless of their own beliefs or values.
At DiVernieri, DiVernieri and Cotter, LLP, our estate planning lawyers can assist you in creating a comprehensive estate plan that safeguards you, your family, and your assets. During our initial consultation, we will attentively listen to your objectives and ask questions to gain a better understanding of your individual circumstances. Based on your unique situation, we will recommend the most appropriate types of powers of attorney that can help you protect yourself and ensure that a trustworthy person can make decisions on your behalf when required.
If you have any inquiries about creating a power of attorney and whether it is necessary for you, we are here to help. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced estate planning lawyers on Staten Island.