A financial power of attorney is a reliable and cost-effective way to allow someone to manage your finances if you are no longer able to do so. These documents are good for your own peace of mind, and can help your family at a difficult time. If you cannot make your own decisions and don’t have a power of attorney, your case will likely be stuck in probate court.
When the Power of Attorney is Used
These documents can take effect as soon as they are signed, and can be temporary or durable. Some choose to have it go into effect only if they are deemed incapacitated by a doctor, which allows clients to maintain control over their affairs. When the office of Sanger and Sanger helps you draft your document, you’ll have to specify whether it’s temporary or durable.
Your Agent’s Role in the Process
When you sign a power of attorney, you’re giving another person the legal right to make decisions on your behalf. That person is called an agent, or an attorney in fact. Most agents have broad powers, but you can hand over only the powers you wish, such as:
- Using your assets to pay expenses
- Paying taxes, selling and buying real estate
- Collecting checks and benefits
- Investing your money
- Handling financial transactions
- Buying and selling annuities and insurance
- Filing taxes
- Running a business
- Claiming inheritances
- Transference of property to a trust
- Hiring legal representation
- Managing retirement accounts
- Agents must act in the client’s best interests, keep proper records and keep your assets separate from theirs to avoid a conflict of interest.
Drafting a Power of Attorney
To create a valid financial power of attorney, all you need to do is fill in and sign a relatively short form. If you are unsure about any of the information or questions on the form, find Experienced Legal Advice for Probate Law in Milwaukee. To be considered valid, the document must be signed in the presence of a notary and (in some states) witnesses. If your agent will handle real estate, you must file a copy of the document with your land records office.