What Is the Job of a Financial Power of Attorney?

Has a loved one recently named you as their financial power of attorney? Do you understand all of the potential responsibilities that this entails? Hopefully you won’t need to spring into action as a financial power of attorney agent immediately, but it is well worth thinking about.

A financial power of attorney is a document that allows someone who created it to act on behalf of the principal. Primarily, under a financial power of attorney this means that the agent can pay the principal’s bills, access accounts, buy and sell investments, buy and sell real estate or pay that person’s taxes. These responsibilities might sound overwhelming if you didn’t realize that these are all the roles that you would have to play.

It’s only natural to feel slightly overwhelmed. Make sure that you have a conversation with the person who created this power of attorney to discuss their intentions for you serving in this role and whether there are any specific directions or guidelines that you should follow.

If the person becomes incapacitated and the power of attorney is activated, you will no longer be able to ask these questions so it’s a good idea to incorporate it into your conversation with the principal creator of this document now. If you have been named as an agent in a financial power of attorney and would now like to discuss your own options for creating a financial power of attorney with the help of an estate planner, contact our office in Virginia Beach today.

 

Understanding A Health Care Power of Attorney: Do You Need One?

Every American should have access to a health care power of attorney that has been drafted or reviewed by an experienced estate planning lawyer. This is a document that you hope that you never have to use but one that will make things much easier for your family in times of distress.

In this document, as the principal person, you can direct another person to be able to make health care choices on your behalf, if you become unable to communicate your own health care decisions or suffer from an incapacity that makes you unable to make these decisions on your own.

Some physicians will consider seeking out health decisions and input from adult children or a spouse, but you should still name a party in this legal capacity. This document becomes even more important if you do not have a person available to you to make health care choices on your behalf or if there is contention among the family members about what is right for your care.

While everyone can benefit from a health care power of attorney, those most at risk for having problems with this include single people, young adults, unmarried partners, and those who do not trust their family members’ judgement. Giving your friends and family peace of mind because they know your plan is another added benefit of creating a health care power of attorney. Contact our office in Virginia Beach for a phone call discussion about your POA today.

 

 

Does My Elderly Parent Need a POA?

There are many scenarios when it makes sense for your elderly parent to have a power of attorney document in place that names you as the agent. While some of these situations help in terms of convenience, there are others that might arise making it a real necessity to be able to speak up for your parent and make decisions for them.

If it becomes too hard for your mother or father to keep up with their own bills and they feel that it is overwhelming or mistakes are being made, this could be a sign that they need assistance with organization. Having a financial power of attorney empowers you to make these decisions for them and help them pay these bills on a regular basis.

If your loved one has a surgery planned in the near future, they might need you to take over on their behalf. In the event of an accident or other situation in which your loved one is not able to manage for themselves, a power of attorney document gives them peace of mind that you can step in at a moment’s notice.

A recent diagnosis might also be the trigger point for you to draft a power of attorney document. If your loved one is now trying to figure out what their future looks like, having a power of attorney document means that your loved one can continue making decisions on their own behalf until they become unable to do so anymore. At that point, the power of attorney is activated so that you can help them decide the best financial and medical options for them with their condition.

Need help reviewing or drafting your POA in Virginia? Schedule a meeting today.

What Is the Difference Between A Durable Power of Attorney and A Power of Attorney?

If you are planning on setting up a consultation with an experienced Virginia estate planning lawyer, one of your questions might be about some of the tools you’ll use over the course of your life to enable other people to make decisions on your behalf. One of these most popular forms is a power of attorney.

A power of attorney assigns the authority to another person known as an agent to act on your behalf based on the specific powers you outline within the document.

There are different forms of powers of attorney that you can use to enable an agent with different levels of authority. However, any power of attorney could be designed as durable.

A durable power of attorney is distinct because it automatically extends the duration of the power of attorney in the event that you are mentally incompetent at the time that it will expire.

Each state also has their own authority to establish laws around power of attorney documents. This is why it is important to schedule a meeting with a Virginia estate planning lawyer to discuss steps you need to take in order to protect yourself when crafting a power of attorney in Virginia.

The most common types of power of attorney are health care powers or medical powers of attorney and general powers of attorney.

A special power of attorney can also be used to restrict the scope of an agent’s authority by naming only specific transactions that that agent is eligible to do. Schedule a consultation with a Virginia estate planning lawyer who can help to advise you about how to use powers of attorney.

 

 

How to Guard Against Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Whether you are care taking for an elderly loved one or concerned about the possibility of being targeted for elder abuse yourself, it is important to realize the signs and symptoms of someone attempting to take advantage of the elderly.

Some of the following behaviors are indications that someone has been involved in perpetrating financial abuse against an elderly person.

These include:

  • Using the property or possessions of the elderly person without permission.
  • Directly stealing money or property from the elderly person.
  • Forging the elderly individual’s signatures on documents or checks.
  • Forcing the elderly person to sign a legal document like a power of attorney deed or will, listing the perpetrator of the abuse as the one who is responsible for the elderly person and who will benefit when that elderly individual passes away.
  • Perpetrating telemarketing scams in which the elderly person is contacted and deceived.
  • Charging things against an elderly individual’s credit cards without the authorization of the card holder.

It is very important for every elderly person and family members who are helping to articulate a long term plan for those who could be exposed to financial abuse to know these challenges and to exercise tools such as a power of attorney to appoint a trust worthy agent to act on behalf of the elderly person.

Selecting the right power of attorney agent can have important implications for the loved one’s medical and financial decisions. Now is the time to speak with a dedicated Virginia lawyer about your power of attorney planning.

 

 

What’s the Distinction Between A Traditional and A Durable Power of Attorney?

A common estate planning term you’ve probably heard of before is power of attorney. Power of attorney is a very valuable document in your estate planning and each different type has its own provisions and rules.

If you’re unsure of which type of power of attorney you need to use, a consultation with a lawyer can help. In general, your power of attorney is a legal document through which you, the creator, name another person who has the authority to make decisions on your behalf and even take actions. This individual is called your attorney-in-fact or your agent.

A durable power of attorney means that this power extends to your agent if you become fully incapacitated and are unable to make decisions of yourself. A durable power of attorney will remain active and in effect until the principle creator revokes the power or passes away.

The only way to revoke a durable power of attorney outside of these situations is if the court revokes the agent’s authority or finds the document invalid or in the case in which the creator of the DPOA gets divorced and the spouse was serving as the agent.

A regular power of attorney, however, ends if the creator becomes incapacitated, which is a primary reason to have a durable power of attorney in place to begin with.

Tips for Choosing Your Healthcare Power of Attorney

Any loved one should have a power of attorney for healthcare set aside. This is the individual who is empowered to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so because of your own incapacitation. Depending on where you live, this may go by a number of different terms but the primary basis is the same, to allow someone else to make decisions on your behalf.
Having a healthcare power of attorney is critical in the event of an emergency because it allows healthcare providers to know the life prolonging treatments a person wishes and wants and does not want to have, if you are no longer able to communicate their wishes to medical professionals.
A health care power of attorney can assist with allowing a loved one’s wishes to be enforced. When selecting a health care power of attorney, you should think about who will be likely to uphold your wishes. Parents may be tempted to select their oldest child for a power of attorney for health care and property because they don’t want to offend or insult them but this does not always mean that your oldest child is the most well-suited to this situation.
If siblings do not get along and you appoint different powers of attorney for health care and financial purposes, this could lead to problems down the road.
When you share your choice with your VA Beach estate planning lawyer, you’ll learn more about what’s involved for the person serving in this role.
 

Getting a Durable Power of Attorney to Work in Your Estate Plan

Many people are at least familiar with the potential cost of long-term care. Many individuals in sandwich generation are responsible for taking care of their parents who are aging while also caring for children. This can be an overwhelming experience that prompts people to think about planning for their own future.ThinkstockPhotos-155416217
Although estate planning has traditionally been associated with how you will pass on your assets and putting together basic documents such as a trust or a will, durable powers of attorney can also be extremely crucial for managing things while you’re still alive.
What would happen to you, your assets, or your healthcare decisions if you were suddenly unable to make decisions for yourself? An unexpected consequence from living a longer life is that it is now possible for your body to outlive your mind. Becoming incapacitated could present numerous challenges for you and your family members. Durable powers of attorney can be used as a protection layer if you are unable to make good decisions for yourself or handle your affairs competently.
You can name a principle to handle legal and financial matters on your behalf. This prevents the need for an expensive and lengthy court proceeding to stipulate such a person after an incident has already occurred. You may name a durable power of attorney for asset management or a durable power of attorney for healthcare.
 

High School Graduates Need Estate Planning, Too

In the flurry of preparing for moving off to college and enjoying summer activates like graduation parties, it’s easy to neglect the legal consequences of failing to have documents in place as your child prepares to go off to a higher education in the fall. However, once a child reaches age 18, they are no longer under the responsibility of their parents and this can generate problems if something were to happen to your college aged student’s health once they enter college.ThinkstockPhotos-86528401
It’s time to have a chat with your adult child about whether or not it makes sense to name you as a power of attorney in case something happens. No one wants to think about the potential for a serious accident or medical condition to render your child incapacitated, but having these documents in place will enable you to make decisions quickly and effectively if the time comes.
You should have a medical power of attorney outlined such that parents or another appointed individual is eligible to make decisions on the loved one’s behalf. It’s easy to let things like this go and assume that a child is unlikely to experience health related problems, but an accident can happen at any time and being equipped with the appropriate documentation gives you the most flexibility and opportunity to correct problems as they arise. Do not hesitate to discuss these options with an experienced estate planning lawyer.
 

The Benefits of Having an Evolving Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a basic instrument that is used to authorize another individual to act on your behalf in a business, legal or medical matter. Typically, a power of attorney only kicks into action when you become incapacitated and are unable to make these decisions by yourself. The powers that are conveyed within a power of attorney are something that you grant to another individual. They are often sweeping and broad, however, they can be tailored to a unique and specific situation. For example, in the event that you become mentally incapacitated you might wish to name another individual to take control of your financial affairs.ThinkstockPhotos-152173297
There are many different kinds of power of attorney documents and this is why it is essential to identify a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to assist you with this process. Your power of attorney may need to evolve over the course of time as your individual needs change.
In addition, the person that you have chosen to serve as your power of attorney agent may not able or willing to do so over the long run. For example, imagine that you have named your current spouse as your power of attorney agent to make legal, financial and medical decisions on your behalf. If you get divorced, however, it becomes all the more important to update your power of attorney document.
You may wish to flex things over time to provide greater or fewer powers to a power of attorney agent. This is why it is important to have an established relationship with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you determine the power of attorney documents you need now and help you amend or create new ones in the future as your individual needs change.