A power of attorney is a legal instrument that allows another person to handle some or all of your affairs. The person signing the document is known as the “principal,” and the person who is authorized to act on the principal’s behalf is known as the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact.” Usually, the agent’s power and authority begins when the power of attorney is signed. A durable power of attorney is a particular kind of power of attorney that continues to operate even in the event the principal becomes incapacitated.
In Fayetteville Arkansas, executing a durable power of attorney allows you to choose who will make decisions for you in the future, if necessary, rather than a court. Your chosen agent can step into your shoes and make the important financial and healthcare decisions you need without needing to go through a lengthy court proceeding. Without a durable power of attorney, a guardian or conservator would have to be appointed. Doing this can be expensive, as a petition must be filed with the court. Not only that, but the court continues to monitor the appointed guardian or conservator as long as you are alive, which further increases the expense.
Executing a durable power of attorney in Fayetteville also allows family members to discuss your future desires when you are still able to do so. At the time you make the decision to execute a durable power of attorney, you can discuss with your chosen agent and other family members what is to be expected if you become incompetent. The more comprehensive the durable power of attorney is, the better. One factor that should be considered, is the fact that as we age, our needs change. The durable power of attorney should reflect that. For example, seniors begin to have concerns regarding long term care, government benefits and healthcare providers. Those issues can be addressed in the legal document.
Another benefit of a durable power of attorney is that it does away with questions about the principal’s intent. A well-drafted power of attorney can serve to eliminate the need for family members to battle over decisions regarding healthcare, for example. Instead, their loved-one’s wishes are written down and the legal instrument becomes the best evidence of their intent, which prevents family disputes.
A durable power of attorney in Fayetteville also helps to protect the agent from possible claims of financial abuse, as they handle the affairs of the principal. When substantial gifts are made to the agent or others in order to carry out asset protection planning, the agent could be at risk for accusations of financial abuse. Having a legal instrument giving them authority to make these types of transactions, protects the agent from these accusations. Also, many companies will not disclose information to others about your financial affairs, for instance. A durable power of attorney will provide your agent with the legal authority required to handle business on your behalf. This eliminates the frustration of being denied the ability to make transactions or healthcare arrangements for you.
Essentially, having a durable power of attorney in Fayetteville provides peace of mind for all involved. Executing a power of attorney lessens the burden on your family, who would otherwise be required to petition the court for the authority to perform basic tasks on your behalf, if you become incompetent. Taking care of this in advance, can be a great comfort to your family. Which of these many benefits will be most important to you depends on your particular situation. This is precisely why a comprehensive durable power of attorney is an essential estate planning tool.