Giving a trusted family member, trustworthy friend, or professional association power of attorney means you enable that individual or association to conduct business on your behalf. You can give this right for a limited time, or you could devise durable legal documentation intended to last until you pass away.
There are a lot of reasons you might think about devising a power of attorney, or POA. One of the most typical reasons is in the situation of estate planning, so someone other than you has the authority to manage things on your behalf without going to court if you become debilitated or are found to be unfit.
Durable vs. Non-durable Power of Attorney
When you create a durable POA, it means the individual you named, known as the agent, has authority to act even when you are debilitated or are found to be unfit. When you devise a power of attorney for the purpose of estate planning, think about making it durable. This restricts the potential that your agent is going to have to go to court to institute a conservatorship over your affairs when your health worsens down the road.
Conversely, when you want to make a POA for a specific purpose unassociated to your own estate planning when you don’t wish for your agent to have authority throughout periods of lifetime disability, you might want a power of attorney that isn’t durable. Unless the documentation is durable or has another definite expiration date, it concludes when you become debilitated.
Expiration Date Options
You can define an expiration date on your power of attorney. Think about choosing this option when devising one for a specific purpose. For instance, when you require someone to manage a real estate closing for you if you are going to be unavailable, you could devise a limited POA for that objective, meaning it would conclude at the completion of the objective. Under this circumstance, you can also define an ending date a little after the closing date.
When people devise POAs for estate planning purposes, it typically makes no sense to define an expiration date. When you do not define an expiration date on your durable POA, it is legal until your passing, unless retracted sooner.
Retracting a Power of Attorney
Unless you don’t the mental capability to do so, you can retract a POA that you devised at any time. When you have changed your mind and want to retract a present one, verify with your state’s laws to establish the correct procedure to do so.
In a lot of states, you need to provide written notice of retracting to the formerly named agent and to any financial institutions or other associations in which the agent might have acted on your behalf. A POA is systematically retracted in respect to your spouse when either of you files for divorce in a lot of states. Meaning you do not need to devise written revocation documentation or provide genuine notice of revocation to your ex-spouse.
No Qualified Agent
Lastly, you don’t have a valid POA if the person you designated as your agent passes away, becomes debilitated, or is otherwise incapable or is reluctant to act on your behalf. This is why it is beneficial to name one or more successors that are willing to serve.
POA differ by need. An estate planning attorney might be able to help you recognize what your requirements are and help you throughout the process of devising a power of attorney that is valid in your state.
DeRuyter, C. (2018, November 9). How Long Is a Power of Attorney Valid? LegalZoom. https://info.legalzoom.com/article/how-long-power-attorney-valid.
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Regardless of the choice you make, it’s important you make the best choice for you when hiring an attorney. Remember: The decisions you make now can affect your future. Ultimately, choosing the best lawyer will depend on which lawyer feels best for you and your situation.