Choosing a Power of Attorney: What You Need to Know

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As you get older, you find yourself faced with many major and essential questions. One of the most pressing questions is likely to be, “Who should handle my affairs if I no longer can?” The person who you elect to handle financial and legal matters on your behalf is known as your power of attorney. Selecting the right power of attorney is a very important decision that requires careful consideration.

First, Understand the Types of Power of Attorney

As you contemplate assigning somebody with power of attorney of your affairs, you should first understand that power of attorney can be delegated in three different ways: durable, conventional, and springing. Durable power of attorney provides your “agent” with the privileges necessary to take care of business and financial matters on your behalf. As soon as it is signed, it becomes effective throughout your lifetime unless you choose to revoke it in the future. A conventional power of attorney, on the other hand, becomes ineffective if you become incapacitated for any reason. This can be counterintuitive if your purpose for electing a power of attorney is to ensure that your affairs are still managed in such a situation. The last option, springing power of attorney, is not effective until you become incapacitated.

Power of Attorney Options

The most common people selected for power of attorney include spouses, close relatives, and children. This is a personal choice that every person makes differently. Since an elected power of attorney has control over bank accounts, bill payments, taxes, insurance policies, stock portfolios, real estate agreements, and other critical financial matters, it is important that you select a person whom you trust to properly and effectively make such decisions. If you do not select a power of attorney before you become incapacitated, your family will have to ask a court to designate a guardian to oversee your financial and legal business.

It is always helpful to utilize the help of a legal professional like Kimberly K. Muenter as you select and assign your power of attorney. As Tampa’s premier estate planning and elder law lawyer, Attorney Muenter can answer all of your questions and help you ensure that your financial and legal matters are secured and protected. Call 941.567.1671 to get started today.