For people who are in the process of planning their estate, they may consider the importance of advance directives such as the power of attorney. When implemented correctly, it can be an essential tool to protect your personal interests if you ever become unable to handle your own personal affairs. But how exactly does a power of attorney help you?

Explaining the Power of Attorney

    In simple terms, a power of attorney is a type of legal arrangement that grants another person the authority to represent you in legal or financial matters. A power of attorney can be limited to only last for a certain amount of time, or to only be permitted for certain specific matters, but it can also last indefinitely. The reason people get a power of attorney is to ensure that, if they get incapacitated, there will be someone who is able to take care of their personal affairs on their behalf.

How a Power of Attorney Works

    A power of attorney grants someone the legal authority to act in your name, to whatever extent the document permits. This means they can sign documents on your behalf, pay your bills, and purchase or sell your property. They can also represent you in court if you are ever sued for any reason. In this way, they can ensure that there will be no legal or financial problems that result from your inability to handle them yourself.

What Happens if You Do Not Have a Power of Attorney

    If you lack a power of attorney and you become incapacitated, or otherwise become unable to handle your personal affairs, one of your relatives will need to seek a guardianship for you. This is a stressful and time-consuming process that may result in your affairs being placed in the hands of whoever is selected by the court for the role. This could turn out to be someone you do not trust with your personal affairs, or it could even be someone you have never met before.

What You Should Do

    If you are considering creating an estate plan, or if it has been some time since you updated your estate plan, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling estate law matters. They can go over your estate plan with you to ensure all of your bases are covered, and to ensure it is in line with what you want. That way, if the worst should happen, you will know that you and your loved ones will be taken care of.

    The estate planning attorneys at David J. Lorber & Associates, PLLC will work with you to handle all of your trust and estate law needs, including assisting in estate law litigation. For comprehensive estate and elder law services in New York, call David J. Lorber & Associates, PLLC at (631) 750-0900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Setauket office.

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