Simple Durable Power of Attorney
A simple durable power of attorney is something anyone over the age of 18 should have. Without it you risk having your decisions made by a Judge or somebody else you might not want making your choices.
What is a Simple Durable Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legally binding document that allows you to assign the power to do your business to another. You can make this as open ended or as restricted as necessary. For example, you may sign a power of attorney only to write checks on one account or close a real estate transaction. The most common use for a durable power of attorney is to protect you and your interests in case of your incapacity.
This can be a blessing for you and your family. Without one, your family may forced into court to get a “guardianship” in order to manage your affairs. In a guardianship, a Judge will appoint one person to oversee your affairs. The Judge will try to pick the best person, but it may not be the person you would have picked. In the worst case, you may become a ward of the courts and placed in the care of Adult Protective Services.
When Does it Go to Work?
The power of attorney can be drafted in 2 ways:
- Immediate. The power of attorney is effective immediately.
- Springing. The power of attorney “springs” into action when you are declared mentally incompetent or sign a document putting into action.
What Does your Agent Do?
Your agent is responsible to care for you and your assets. Your agent owes you and your assets a duty of responsibility. You can give them the power to do some or all of the following:
- Sell assets
- Buy assets
- Work with the IRS and state tax authorities
- Run a business
- Represent you in court
- Manage retirement accounts, but not change beneficiaries
- Make gifts
- Apply for Medicaid
- and more… or less…