If you become ill or incapacitated and cannot make decisions on your own, who will take care of your financial affairs? If you do not have a durable power of attorney (POA) named to manage your finances during this time, the courts may appoint someone. Our estate lawyer in Cary is here to help you better understand a POA and why you might need to appoint one.
Durable Power of Attorney | Estate Lawyer in Cary
The process of naming someone as your POA can be lengthy and costly. Naming your own durable POA in the event that something were to happen to you can help you and your family avoid this process. It also gives you a choice in this important matter because you can decide who you want to oversee your financial affairs.
If you do not have a POA named, when the court appoints someone, the proceedings are public record, which can be embarrassing because your family might have to explain that you are not capable of taking care of your own affairs. In some cases, there could be disagreements among family members over who should be appointed. This can cause problems that you may have to deal with when you are back on your feet.
Naming a durable POA can allow you to choose someone you trust to take care of your affairs. Your durable POA will be able to handle the practical side of your finances, such as paying bills, making deposits and filing insurance or benefits paperwork. He or she can also oversee larger matters such as running your business while you can’t, handling property sales or repairs, and investing on your behalf.
There are many things a durable POA can do to ensure that when you are able to take over again, your finances will not be in a state of disarray. Keep in mind that you can set limits on what your POA can and cannot do. He or she will only have as much authority over your affairs as you have outlined.
The document naming a POA should also outline when it should start and when it ends. It starts as soon as you sign the document and goes into effect when you become incapacitated. You can create a “springing” financial POA that means it will not go into effect until a doctor certifies that you are incapacitated.
The power of a durable POA ends when you are able to make decisions on your own again. If you were to pass away, it also ends and that person is no longer in charge.
Married people often think they do not need to name a durable POA because their spouse will take care of matters for them. However, in some states there are examples where having a POA would be beneficial. For instance, if you become incapacitated and your spouse needs to sell property that you both own, he or she will be unable to because your permission is needed. If you have property that is only in your name, your spouse also has no authority over it. There are also companies who will not work with anyone but their client, so it could leave your spouse unable to manage things such as insurance or benefits.
There are many reasons to name a durable POA to ensure your finances are protected if you become unable to make decisions on your own. If you have questions about a POA and need to speak with our estate lawyer in Cary, feel free to contact us. We are here to help you with all your estate planning needs.