Do I really need a power of attorney?
Lets start with what is a power of attorney. A power of attorney is a legal document in which you can designate an agent to handle your financial affairs in the event that you can’t. You may only wish to designate for a specific purpose, such as selling your house for you, or you may wish to give your agent much broader authority such as to apply for public benefits (Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare), manage your business, manage your investments, pay your bills, support your family with your assets, invest your money, and other such actions. Another important consideration is whether you want your agent to be able to make these decisions in the event you are incapacitated. In order for a power of attorney to still be valid if you are incapacitated, the document must explicitly state that it is intended to be durable.
Why do I need a power of attorney?
Without a power of attorney, your bank, and financial institutions, and the court system, don’t know who you wanted to make your financial decisions. And, if you were unable to state who you want to be your agent, then the alternative is for the Court to appoint a Guardian to manage your financial affairs. A guardianship can be costly, because it involves the Court overseeing how your financial affairs are managed. Furthermore, your loved ones won’t necessarily know what your wishes were.
The pros and cons of having a legal document and appointing an agent should be discussed with your estate planning professional.
The probate and estate planning division of Phillip’s, Hunt, Walker & Hanna is able to help you with a power of attorney.
The law offices of Phillip’s, Hunt, Walker & Hanna are located at 212 North Laura Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32202. You can submit a free case evaluation online at Floridajustice.com or over the phone at (904) 444-4444.
This blog post published by Phillips, Hunt, Walker & Hanna is for informational purposes only and is not considered legal advice on any subject matter. For legal advice, please contact a licensed attorney.