Estate Corner: Ask an Attorney – All About the Power of Attorney

This article is part of our June Estate Planning Newsletter.  To read the rest of the articles in June’s issue, click the link above.

Greta: I’m a 75 year old widow and live alone.  I find that sometimes, I’m not as sharp as I once was.  I sometimes forget to pay my bills on time and once left my checkbook at the bank.  I have two daughters, one who is a financial whiz and the other is a teacher. I would love to have my daughters help me with my financial affairs and even be able to handle my banking and taxes for me, is there a legal document I can sign to get some help with my everyday affairs?

Attorney: Greta, it’s fantastic that you’re thinking ahead about your need!  Yes, you can use a Power of Attorney to give one or both of your daughters the ability to serve as your agent, to act for you.  The Power of Attorney will let your agent handle your banking, taxes, and other tasks that you may assign.

Walter: I’m 52 and had a heart attack two years ago.  While I was in the hospital, my family struggled with handling my personal and financial affairs, my bank gave them a hard time and kept asking for a Power of Attorney.  I’m back to work now, but I’m wondering, is there a document that would only give my family permission to handle my affairs when I’m not able to do so myself?

Attorney: Charlie, we’re glad to hear you’re back on your feet! Yes, a Springing Power of Attorney goes into effect when you are unable to act for yourself.  This Power of Attorney will give the person you name, your agent, the authority to act on your behalf to handle banking, legal, business, and other matters for you that you will specify.  If you wanted your agent to always have these powers, you could execute a Durable Power of Attorney.

Is your estate in order?  Is this an item on your to do list, but you keep putting it off?  Give us a call today and one of our friendly attorneys will sit down with you to craft an estate plan to suit your individual needs.