By Joseph Hurwitz

 

In this series, Planning for the Future, I am exploring different topics and methods for Estate Planning. This article’s topic is Powers of Attorney. A Power of Attorney is a document that gives another person the authority to engage in activities and make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. When you create a Power of Attorney, you are making someone your Attorney-In-Fact. There are three different types of Powers of Attorney.

A Durable Power of Attorney is intended to cover multiple situations for extended periods of time. It allows the Attorney-In-Fact to engage in a variety of activities ranging from: signing documents in your name, accessing your financial accounts, and buying and selling property and possessions for you. It is important to have a Durable Power of Attorney in place because it guarantees your selection of a trusted person who will be handling your affairs when you are unable to.

A Limited Power of Attorney is for a specific situation that lasts a temporary or limited period of time. Frequent examples of when a Limited Power of Attorney is needed for when someone won’t be available to sign documents for real estate closings or may even be leaving the country and want to make sure someone can handle things for them when they are unavailable.

A Health Care Power of Attorney is the only Power of Attorney that deals with medical decisions. Your Health Care Agent or Attorney-In-Fact, is allowed to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated or unable to communicate your desires about medical treatment. In the Health Care Power of Attorney you are able to leave instructions for your Health Care Agent that they must follow when communicating with your health care providers. This can be combined with an Advance Directive for a Natural Death, also known as a Living Will, to cover end of life decisions.

Please always remember that all Powers of Attorney, except for Health Care Powers of Attorney, must be recorded in the Register of Deeds Office of the appropriate County before they are considered valid.

This article does not create an attorney-client relationship. This article is not legal advice and if you have any legal questions or concerns you are encouraged to seek the counsel of a licensed attorney in your area.

Joseph Hurwitz, Attorney at Law, Lake Lure – 828-777-4785