A power of attorney is a legal document that is utilized by a principal or grantor to name an agent or attorney-in-fact. The grantor empowers the agent to act as his or her proxy.
When you are planning your estate you leave behind instructions about what should happen after you die. At the same time, you should prepare for the period of time that will precede your death. Many people become incapacitated before they pass away.
In the field of estate planning powers of attorney are typically used for incapacity planning purposes. When you create a specific type of power of attorney that is called a durable power of attorney, the agent that you choose can act on your behalf in the event of your incapacity.
A standard power of attorney that is not designated as durable does not remain in effect upon the incapacitation of the grantor.
You don’t need any particular qualifications to create a power of attorney. You must simply be an adult of sound mind who is acting independently without any coercion.
Should a Lawyer Create Your Power of Attorney?
When it comes to actually drawing up the document, you do not have to be a licensed attorney to create a power of attorney. However, as a layperson you probably do not know how to go about it. Most responsible people will go to lawyers when they want legally binding documents constructed, and rightly so.
Now that we live in the age of the Internet you can buy just about anything online. There are websites that sell generic template legal documents, including powers of attorney.
Consumer Reports magazine advised against do-it-yourself estate planning a couple of years ago. There are things that can go wrong, and unintended consequences can result.
When you are preparing for the possibility of future incapacity the stakes are high. To be certain that your power of attorney is constructed in accordance with the laws of the state of Indiana, you would do well to work with a licensed attorney.
Estate Planning Consultation
An incapacity plan should be a part of a well constructed, holistic long-term financial plan. You plan ahead for your active retirement years and the twilight years that will follow. The plan will come full circle when your assets are distributed among your loved ones according to your wishes after you pass away.
If you do not have a plan in place at the present time, we would like to invite you to request a free consultation with our firm. We will gain an understanding of your unique personal situation, become apprised of your goals, and make the appropriate recommendations.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.