A power of attorney is a document that is used to name someone else, known as an agent, to act on your behalf if you are unable to do so. In some cases, your power of attorney agent may never be activated, especially if you set it up so that only springing events like incapacity on your part allow this other person to serve. However, it
When Does A Power Of Attorney Become Effective?
In many cases, creating a power of attorney can help you to appoint someone known as an agent to act on your behalf if and when you are unable to do so. The power of attorney typically becomes effective at a future date usually at the time that a person signs a subsequent written authority to act under the document, or at the time that the person who created the document is determined to be incapacitated.
Working directly with an estate planning attorney to create a power of attorney document is recommended. The strategy for drafting this document is critical for ensuring that the power of attorney agent has the appropriate authority to act and is very clear on their ability to do so and the timing of when the document becomes active.
A properly drafted power of attorney document will set forth how a person will be defined as incapacitated and, for example, can include standards, such as whether or not the person’s treating physician needs to sign a notarized statement indicating that the person is medically incapacitated.
This springing power of attorney means that the power of attorney document becomes active at some point in the future based on the specifics of the creator’s wishes. For more information about how to use a power of attorney to help guard against incapacity concerns, schedule a time to meet with a dedicated lawyer in Virginia Beach.
Beware Of Possibly Giving Your Power of Attorney to The Wrong Person
Installing someone in a role of trust and authority is an important part of estate planning, but if you give this power to the wrong person, it could cause numerous problems. Think carefully about who you want to install as your power of attorney agent. Your agent can make important decisions on your behalf, and you need to have a high level of trust in this individual to feel confident about the decisions that they make for you.
All too frequently, these situations can go wrong, leaving you or your loved ones paying the price. All too often, the person who was appointed as the agent on the power of attorney gets short shrift in consideration. These agents do take over a portion of your life if you become mentally or physically incapacitated.
Choosing the wrong person to serve, particularly in a financial power of attorney can leave room for many unintended consequences that could be hazardous to both your wealth and your health. If both your medical and your financial power of attorneys are held by the same person, it is also important to think about the potential issues with conflict here.
Furthermore, what happens if your power of attorney agent is no longer able or willing to serve in this role? You need to think carefully about naming a backup power of attorney agent and how you will communicate with your estate planning attorney if that becomes necessary. For more questions about crafting a customized estate strategy for your needs, set aside a time to speak with an experienced lawyer.
A Virginia Beach, VA estate planning lawyer is there to guide and support you through your entire claim.
What Are the Disadvantages of Not Having a Power of Attorney?
Most people are not familiar with what a power of attorney can do for them and hope that they never encounter the situation of needing this document. However, the creation of a power of attorney document is important so that you have options for people you choose to act in the way you want if you become unable to act for yourself.
While you certainly hope you don’t need your power of attorney document to become active, you don’t want to make your loved ones deal with the fallout of not having it in place.
There are two primary disadvantages to not having a power of attorney. The first is the judicial process itself, which can mean the appointment of a guardian or a conservator to care for you. This can drain your family and friends of money and time while already in a difficult situation.
The second disadvantage to not having a power of attorney is that you will have no say in who the court chooses to appoint. This person can have broad authority to act on your behalf and you may want to have a say in who this is. You might not want a closest relative or the person who is most likely to be appointed by the courts to make decisions on your behalf.
However, if you do not have a power of attorney document, this can happen without your consent. Consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer to create your own power of attorney document.
Are You Sending Your Child to College with a Power of Attorney Form?
As a parent it’s easy to feel like your job might never be done but as your child goes off to college this fall, remember that you will not be able to make decisions for them if they are age 18 and above. This is because they are viewed as a legal adult and you are no longer able to make decisions on their behalf which can become problematic in a medical emergency. This is why many parents are increasingly talking about having their college student sign medical power of attorney forms.
Whether you’re sending your student to UVA, Virginia Tech, George Mason, Tidewater Community College, Liberty University, Old Dominion, College of William and Mary, or any of the other great schools in Virginia, get a power of attorney created first.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to turn to or use this form but it can give you great peace of mind if and when something happens to your loved one on campus and you need to be able to take action quickly.
Hospital legal departments are well aware of what is and isn’t allowed, meaning that they might not allow you to make decisions on behalf of an incapacitated legal adult, even if you are able to prove that you are the parent. A power of attorney can name you as a person eligible to receive this information or to make decisions on behalf of your child if something happens to them.
No parent wants to be in the position of trying to get information about their child’s condition from hours or even states away and getting declined. When you have a power of attorney document in place, you can provide this to hospitals or other care providers so that you’re kept informed about your child’s status.
Especially in light of the pandemic and the many different health-related challenges that could face students going off to campus this fall, it’s a good idea to meet with an estate planning lawyer in Virginia Beach and to talk through your options.
Do You Have a Just-In-Case List?
If something happened to you and you weren’t able to speak for yourself, do you have a plan for who could find important documents and enable you to remain focused on your medical care?
A just-in-case list provides important access details for a chosen loved one to be able to gather the necessary information to take care of your affairs.
This person may also be appointed as your power of attorney and the just-in-case list makes it that much easier for them to find important details. Rather than sorting through paperwork or trying to find where on your computer you’ve stored things like your primary care physician’s contact information or your health insurance details, a just-in-case list puts this all together in one location so that in a quick instant your chosen family member or trusted friend can access it and provide these details to who need it.
Be aware that without a power of attorney document in place and an executed version of that power of attorney to show financial institutions, you will not be able to make financial transactions on behalf of a loved one.
Certain banks and other financial institutions have their own power of attorney form that must be completed. Be prepared to find all of these pertinent details if you’ve been appointed as a power of attorney agent and make things easier when you name your own power of attorney agent by creating a just-in-case list.
Ready to match your just in case list with the rest of your estate plan? Meet today with a Virginia Beach estate planning attorney for clarity.
What Are the Disadvantages of Skipping a Power of Attorney?
You’ve probably heard that a last will and testament is one of the most important estate planning documents you can have. While this is certainly true, it can be a mistake to overlook key estate planning documents that should supplement the statements in your will like a power of attorney. Everyone should have a POA document regardless of your age, because it’s critical to ensure your wishes are carried out if you can’t speak for yourself.
A power of attorney names an agent, also known as an attorney in fact, to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so or in specific circumstances. There can be many complicated questions around this process and it is important to appoint a party who is comfortable in serving in this role and someone you trust. A few different issues can arise if you do not have a POA document.
The judicial steps that lead to the appointment of another party can take some time. This can drain your friends and family of money and time at a difficult time in your life when you are incapacitated. The second major disadvantage of skipping a power of attorney is that you have no say in who your agent will be. The court will have authority to appoint someone to act on your behalf and even in the event that this person is close to you, they may not be responsible enough to make proper decisions.
That’s why it’s a good idea to exercise control over these concerns by establishing a power of attorney document. Schedule a time to sit down with your estate planning lawyer in Virginia Beach, VA to walk through the options.
Get an Attorney to Review Your POA Document
Has someone you know asked you to execute a power of attorney that names you as their agent? Never sign a power of attorney document without having your own estate planning lawyer view it first. There are many different mistakes that could be made in a power of attorney document and all of them can be avoided by consulting with a trusted estate planning lawyer in your area.
Making a mistake in your POA document could be very expensive and problematic, particularly if you unintentionally give authority over you or your assets to someone who can’t be trusted.
Many of the most common POA mistakes can be avoided but having a relationship with an estate planning attorney who can help spot these errors in your existing POA document or can advise you about the proper language to include in a new one. Some of the most common POA mistakes include:
- Using a general POA when a limited power of attorney would have been more appropriate.
- Naming a person that you can’t truly trust as your agent.
- Giving an agent who cannot be trusted with too much power.
- Executing a power of attorney to someone who cannot serve in that role, such as a treating physician.
For more advice on how to minimize the possibility of a poorly executed POA or a POA that exerts unintended authority on untrustworthy people, set aside a time to consult with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer about the documents. A VA Beach estate planning lawyer is here to guide you.
Does a Virginia College Student Really Need a Power of Attorney?
You’ve thought about all of the different details for your college bound child’s life but have you thought about what it would take to step in and make decisions on his or her behalf if they were unable to do so? This requires a power of attorney after your child has passed age 18. You are no longer legally able to make decisions or make inquiries on their behalf without a power of attorney document.
If your college age student puts together a power of attorney, however, and appoints you as the attorney in fact, you become eligible to manage legal and financial matters on behalf of your adult child. It might seem like a minor detail but this can be extremely important.
You can help with everyday tasks like renewing passport, managing car registration, updating a driver’s license or responding to a jury duty summons in the event that you have power of attorney over that individual. No matter where your child goes to college in Virginia,
Some of the most important factors to consider in determining what to think about when creating a power of attorney include illness or disability, business commitments, current or ongoing legal issues, location and distance and worst case scenario planning.
The assistance of an estate planning lawyer can go a long way in helping you to prepare a power of attorney document and ensuring that the person who has been appointed as the attorney in fact understands this role and is capable of stepping in to manage the important tasks outlined under the POA. Since a power of attorney can be broad or specific, it’s important to discuss these aspects with your college age student to help determine what is most appropriate for you in that situation.
Your Virginia Beach estate planner can assist you with this document creation.
What Is the Job of a Financial Power of Attorney?
Has a loved one recently named you as their financial power of attorney? Do you understand all of the potential responsibilities that this entails? Hopefully you won’t need to spring into action as a financial power of attorney agent immediately, but it is well worth thinking about.
A financial power of attorney is a document that allows someone who created it to act on behalf of the principal. Primarily, under a financial power of attorney this means that the agent can pay the principal’s bills, access accounts, buy and sell investments, buy and sell real estate or pay that person’s taxes. These responsibilities might sound overwhelming if you didn’t realize that these are all the roles that you would have to play.
It’s only natural to feel slightly overwhelmed. Make sure that you have a conversation with the person who created this power of attorney to discuss their intentions for you serving in this role and whether there are any specific directions or guidelines that you should follow.
If the person becomes incapacitated and the power of attorney is activated, you will no longer be able to ask these questions so it’s a good idea to incorporate it into your conversation with the principal creator of this document now. If you have been named as an agent in a financial power of attorney and would now like to discuss your own options for creating a financial power of attorney with the help of an estate planner, contact our office in Virginia Beach today.