Here at Froerer & Miles, we've helped a number of clients in the greater Ogden area with their estate planning needs. Matters such as these require great care a sensitivity, as well as pragmatism. There are many facets to consider, power of attorney issues among them.
Power of attorney (POA) means that you allow a specified individual to manage your personal finances for you. The person who grants power of attorney is referred to as the "principal" while the person who is given power of attorney is known as the "agent" or "attorney in fact". Let's consider the types of power of attorney and why it's an important part of estate planning.
Non-Durable vs DurablePower of Attorney
There are two different kinds of power of attorney: non-durable power of attorney and durable power of attorney.
Non-Durable POA – Also referred to as general power of attorney, non-durable POA does not allow the agent to act on the principal's behalf if the principal becomes incapacitated. Non-durable POA allows agents to accomplish narrowly specified tasks, such as signing certain papers and making certain financial decisions.
Durable POA – Durable POA allows the agent to act on the principal's behalf even when the principal becomes incapacitated.
Since our focus is on estate planning and POA, our primary concern is on durable power of attorney and how that figures into these matters.
List of Powers That Are Granted
The abilities granted to the agent through power of attorney are essentially those of the principal. This may include the agent doing any of the following:
- Management of the principal's bank accounts
- Paying the principal's bills
- Paying the principal's taxes
- Addressing the principal's medical care costs
- Decisions regarding life support and end-of-life care
- Management of the principal's real estate
- Investments on the behalf of the principal
- Transfer or sale of the principal's assets
- Operation of the principal's business
In all of the above cases, it is important that the agent acts in the best interests of the principal.
Why Power of Attorney Is Important for Estate Planning
When planning an estate, you are taking into account a number of matters that have to do with the end of life and old age. These issues also take into account unforeseen accidents and medical emergencies that may render you incapacitated and unable to be consulted by your loved ones. These events are not unheard of, and many wonder what can be done in the event of these unexpected tragedies.
Power of attorney selects someone to manage your finances should you be unable to do so yourself. It's a practical part of estate planning.
How a Lawyer Can Help with POA and Estate Planning
Legal disputes may arise when it comes to who is given power of attorney. Should it be a spouse, the next of kin, or an associate or financial manager who is close to the principal? Similarly, there may be questions about the agent and if the agent is really making decisions on the behalf of the principal.
These kinds of issues require careful legal attention and deliberation, which is why working with an attorney can be crucial for you and your family. We will offer expert counsel when it comes to your estate planning issues, guiding you through this process and offering sound advice.
Contact Froerer & Miles
For more information about planning estates and making smart choices when it comes to end of life matters, we encourage you to contact an estate planning and family law attorney today. The lawyers of Froerer & Miles are here to help you through these processes.