What Is a Financial POA?
A Financial Power of Attorney ensures that you have a reliable team or individual ready to step in if you are unable to care for yourself or make your own financial decisions. With a Power of Attorney, you select this team or individual, not the State. There’s never a guarantee of your personal health. Being able to have another person stand in or sign financial documents for you might be necessary in the future or just more convenient. For example, you or your spouse may travel. A POA can allow one spouse or a child to act while you are traveling or out of the country. A Financial Power of Attorney is a document that appoints someone else to act as your Agent. An Agent is a person who can act and make decisions on your behalf.
The Most Important Document!
As an elder law firm, we believe that your Financial Power of Attorney is likely the most important document in your estate plan. It is important to know that not all powers of attorney are the same. Some POA’s we have seen were only one page documents; our power of attorney can reach forty (40) pages in some cases. What’s the difference? One of the key differences between a simple power of attorney and our enhanced power of attorney is the options available to families to protect assets in the event of asset protection. Unfortunately, nearly all powers of attorney drafted by most attorneys and completed from online forms are simple, which can leave a family without options when funds need to be protected.
Why It’s Important to Name an Agent Sooner Rather Than Later
My grandfather once said, “If you live long enough, you’re once a man and twice a child.” He understood that life was not meant to last forever. His untimely stroke was a wake up call to plan for his incapacity. When individuals do not plan, the only option for families can be an expensive and very difficult guardianship process. With the average guardianship proceeding costing about $2,000 to $3,000, a power of attorney is the best way to avoid unnecessary cost and court appearances.
What is an Agent or Attorney in Fact?
The individual that is given the right to act or make decisions on your behalf can be called the “Agent” or the “Attorney in Fact.” You can elect to have two agents working jointly (ie. “co-agents”) or have two individuals working independently. We recommend naming as many successors as possible. In the case your first alternate agent is unavailable, you have a backup ready to take care of you.
How Can I Get a Power of Attorney?
A POA is typically included in every Estate Plan we create. It’s normally signed at our Execution (Signing) Meeting.
Are There Different Types of Powers of Attorney?
We typically draft two different Power of Attorney Documents: Financial and Medical. In some cases, you may have a son that is a CPA and a daughter who is a nurse. In that case, you would probably want the son as the Financial POA and the daughter as the Healthcare POA. Generally speaking, one can have a General Power of Attorney or a Special Powers of Attorney, which is sometimes called a Limited Powers of Attorney. Most all powers of attorney we prepare are general.
At McClelland Law Firm, we believe that limiting our practice areas provides the greatest value to our clients. To us, value means providing exceptional service and efficient processes for each of our practice areas.
We are committed to compassionate representations, especially as it relates to elder law. No one should feel pressured, controlled, or “talked down” to in any meeting. Every client deserves to be heard and understood.