There are times when your legal presence is required, but circumstances – including your health status — dictate your absence.
Signing a trust document, withdrawing your money, and selling your real estate property are activities that, usually, you can only do in person. However, your personal presence is not always practical.
Fortunately, there is another option, which is common to estate planning.
In estate planning, you designate individuals to act for you. With a will, you appoint an executor to follow your instructions. With a living trust, you appoint a trustee. Certain legal roles are so important that, if you neglect to fill them, a judge will do it for you.
A Power-of-Attorney is yet another way to authorize someone else to act for you. It is a document, which your lawyer can provide, that lets a person of your choice represent you.
Your agent acts for you during your lifetime. He carries out instructions in your absence or spares you the legal legwork you may prefer not to do. He can sign legal documents for you, create a trust, or make purchases for you.
As part of your estate plan, your agent can make financial decisions for you, in case you ever lose the ability to make them.
However, he can only take actions that you have authorized, in writing, for him to do.
Other examples include paying your bills, selling your property, hiring someone to administer your care, negotiating, and applying for benefits.
You may also give him access to your bank account for withdrawals and deposits.
Because the agent usually has significant power, it is essential that you choose someone trustworthy. For your protection, it is illegal for him to use your assets for his own needs. Also, you can override your agent or end the Power-of-Attorney, in writing, at any time.
You choose when the Power-of-Attorney goes into effect. You can select a particular date or specify a condition regarding, for example, your health status. You can also continue to make legal decisions on your own.
If you are interested in establishing a Power-of-Attorney, contact the Law Office of Richard Nevins. An established legal professional will review your full situation and advise you on the estate-planning options that best serve the interests of you and your estate.