Everyone should have a power of attorney, and have it designed by an attorney who focuses on elder law, estate planning, and related areas. At Biddinger & Estelle, PC, we can create a robust power of attorney to protect your autonomy and assets. We can also create other essential documents as part of a comprehensive incapacity plan.
Here are some of the most important reasons to have your own power of attorney.
If you become incapacitated, you choose the person who makes financial decisions on your behalf, not the court.
Without a power of attorney, the court will appoint a guardian to manage your affairs in the event of incapacity. The person named by the court could very well be someone you would never have wanted to make important decisions on your behalf. In addition, the guardianship process is expensive, time-consuming, and stressful for members of your family.
With a power of attorney, you are able to name an “agent” to make decisions on your behalf. You have the power to decide what types of decisions your agent can make. That is, you determine how much authority your agent will have over your affairs. The agent’s authority can be rather broad or extremely limited—the decision is yours. You can also choose to name multiple agents and mandate that they must work together or authorize them to work independently. It is a good idea to name an alternate agent in case your first choice is unable to serve due to illness or other reasons.
A power of attorney helps prevent questions and disputes about your wishes.
You’ve no doubt heard about costly court battles over what a person “would have wanted” before he or she became incapacitated. With a properly designed power of attorney, together with other advance directives, you can help ensure that your wishes regarding financial management will be carried out.
A power of attorney gives your agent the legal authority necessary to obtain services on your behalf.
Your agent must frequently make arrangements to pay bills, manage bank accounts and other assets, and more. Without a properly drafted power of attorney, many companies will not provide the information or services that your agent needs to carry out your wishes. In addition, a power of attorney gives your agent the authority to make planning decisions and transactions that can help make you eligible for public assistance programs.
A power of attorney provides you and your family with greater peace of mind.
With a power of attorney and other advance directives in place, you will enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing your wishes regarding the management of your assets will be honored. In addition, your family will be spared the stress of making important decisions on your behalf without knowing what you would have wanted.
You should know that it is also possible to have a power of attorney for healthcare. This legal document allows you to name someone you trust to make medical decisions for you in the event of incapacity.
We welcome the opportunity to design a customized power of attorney to ensure your wishes are carried out if you become incapacitated. We can also help you choose the ideal person to serve as your agent. We invite you to contact us for a personal meeting with one of our Michigan elder law and estate planning attorneys.