Articles Posted in Power of Attorney

7.16.18Not having a spouse makes it more important for singles to plan to protect themselves from a legal and financial standpoint.

Everyone should have a plan in place for incapacity, affirms in a recent article, “Estate, emergency planning for single people.” This is especially true for singles. While married couples can usually rely on each other, or their adult children, in case of emergency, what happens to singles who don’t have family members? You need a backup plan and a backup person.

In many instances, singles don’t have a backup plan. If you are young and single, then you typically aren’t thinking about a worst-case scenario at all.

HurricaneHarvey 8.31.17Many people have heard of Powers of Attorney, and now, during this time of unprecedented disaster and flood, these two documents are more important than ever. There are two Powers of Attorney – the Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney and the Medical Power of Attorney.

The Durable Power Attorney allows you to name someone as your “agent” who can act for you on any financial or other asset-related action that you have authorized. For example, you may have an elder parent who may have been evacuated from an assisted living facility and cannot access their bank accounts, or, you yourself may have been evacuated and the last thing on your mind is how to pay certain bills. With a Durable Power of Attorney in place, the person you name as your agent can act for you and alleviate that pressure, so that you can focus on you and your family’s recovery.

A Medical Power of Attorney works in a similar manner. A Medical Power of Attorney allows you to name someone as your “agent” to make medical decisions for you. For example, say you were injured while evacuating or in a car wreck and could not make medical decisions for yourself. By nominating an agent, that person could make decisions regarding your treatment. Conversely, if you have an elder parent, they could name you as their agent and you could make decisions regarding their treatment. Having a Medical Power of Attorney may relieve your caregivers and loved ones from some of the hoops they would have to jump through to otherwise ensure that you would receive proper care.

4.28.17A federal judge has ruled that a police officer’s uninvited entry into a house to check on the well-being of an adult with dementia, is shielded by qualified immunity. The response to a possible crisis was correct.

Given the number of elder abuse cases, it is encouraging that New York Judge Frank Geraci’s decision, as reported in the New York Law Journal’s article, “Officer's Welfare-Check on Elderly Man Is Shielded by Immunity, Court Says,” supported the actions of Lt. Joseph Buccilli, a police officer with the Orchard Park, NY Police Department.

The judge said the police officer was protected by his good faith actions in responding to an emergency. He had qualified immunity from a suit filed by the owners of the home he entered, in alleged violation of residents' Fourth Amendment rights to privacy. The judge went on to say that even if Buccilli's beliefs that his actions were justified in entering the home were based on wrong assumptions, the officer’s actions weren’t so "plainly incompetent" as would qualify as a violation of the resident's Fourth Amendment rights.

11.28.16Estate planning for entrepreneurs is not complete until it includes a succession plan. Individuals who create successful businesses often find it hard to consider handing over the reins.

Entrepreneurs would not succeed without their ability to focus all of their energies on their business. It is not easy for this type of person to imagine that one day they may want to retire or that the possibility exists that they might become ill, injured or even die. Without an effective estate plan that includes a succession plan, their work, staff and families may be placed in jeopardy.

A recent post, “5 Estate Planning Tips for Entrepreneurs,” lists these important estate planning essentials:

9.7.16It's best to know the difference between different types of Powers of Attorney before you need one, or more, of these important documents.

It may be more fun to chat about exotic vacation getaways, but you will be better prepared for eventual situations if you have a basic understanding of the different types of estate planning documents. According to NJ 101.5, in “Understanding power of attorney documents,” this will also help make sure that your own wishes are carried out if you are not able to speak for yourself.

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that’s used to give a trusted friend or family member (known as the attorney-in-fact or agent) the authority to act on your behalf on financial or legal matters. You can specify the scope of powers, which can be very broad or limited.

9.6.16Forget to make these changes and your heirs may never forgive you. Forget to align these documents, and your estate planning attorney will never forget you.

Once the process of legally ending your marriage begins, you will need to make sure that your own interests are protected and that includes updating your estate plan to reflect this big life change. While some things may remain the same, like leaving your children certain assets, be assured that pretty much everything else will change, according to Forbes’ article, “The First Thing You Must Do When Your Divorce Is Final.”

Once your divorce is final, that is, the divorce decree has been approved by a judge, and a judgment rendered, contact your estate attorney and begin to review and revise the following legal and estate planning documents:

6.29.16If a financial institution does not accept a properly prepared power of attorney, you will have to know your rights and be prepared to assert yourself.

A power of attorney is an estate planning basic; however, more often than you would expect, people find themselves being told by financial institutions that they will not accept the power of attorney. It’s such a problem that a number of states have enacted laws to protect the power of attorney.

This form gives a designated person the authority to act on another’s behalf when making financial decisions. It is commonly employed by adult children whose aging parents can no longer act on their own. However, financial institutions frequently make it difficult to exercise that power. The Wall Street Journal article, “When the Power of Attorney Lacks Power,” lists some steps to avoid potential problems.

6.24.16A lot of details go into being an executor, and some people find it a thankless task. But knowing that you helped someone you love carry out his or her last wishes holds its own reward.

Most people are honored when they learn that they have been named executor of a loved one's estate. But according to an article in US News, "4 Tips to Be a Better Executor," they don't really understand what duties and responsibilities are involved.

An executor must deal with the estate of a deceased person—including identifying and valuing the assets, paying debts, and disbursing the assets according to the decedent's will. He or she also needs to ensure that the assets are protected during this period.

6.1.16This is one of those problems that you think you've solved, only to discover that the problem still exists. The best workaround we can think of: overdoing due diligence, well in advance.

When you took the necessary and advisable step to have a parent or other relative sign a durable power of attorney, you might have felt relieved, secure in the knowledge that you were now prepared and protected to handle their finances if they become incapacitated.

However, The New York Times explains in “Finding Out Your Power of Attorney Is Powerless” that when you take the witnessed and notarized document to a financial institution, the officials there may not accept the documents. They may not honor your power of attorney and may insist that the account owners sign the institution’s own power of attorney form.

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