Did you know: With a power of attorney, you can grant someone (known as an “agent”) the legal authority to act on your behalf. But what happens when you become mentally or physically incapacitated — will your power of attorney be functional and valid?
In today’s episode of Your Money Minute with Tracy Stewart, CPA, I want to talk about working with your elder law attorney to draft a statutory durable power of attorney. A “general” power of attorney grants legal rights to an agent to act on behalf of you (the “principle”) when necessary. But it becomes null and void when you can no longer act on behalf of yourself (think Alzheimer’s Disease.) A “durable” power of attorney extends this legal authority given to the agent through this situation — and even through the remainder of your life.
I’m not an elder law attorney — and don’t play one on television, either. Please take what I share as the starting line, and speak with your elder law or estate attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.
When granting someone (an agent) power of attorney, you give them the authority to act on your behalf in any number of personal or financial decisions. This could include Social Security benefits, Medicare, litigation, tax matters and much, much more. Having a documented agent to manage these affairs for you is critical — because you have no idea if or when you may be unable to make tough decisions or handle matters on your own. With a durable power of attorney, you’ll be prepared to ensure your needs are met (even when you can’t meet them personally.)
When choosing an agent, it goes without saying that you’ll want someone trustworthy and someone who can act in good faith on your interests. Please work with your elder law or estate attorney to draft this document, as accuracy matters with legal paperwork. If you don’t have an elder law or estate attorney, start a Google search or reach out to friends in your community. If you live in College Station or central Texas, shoot me an email to get a few recommendations for elder law or estate attorneys in the area.
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