Do you know who will be in charge of managing your assets if you become incapacitated? Or who will make medical decisions for you? If you do not know the answers to these questions, you could end up with your decisions being made by someone you never would have selected. Your family could also be put in the difficult position of going through guardianship proceedings at a time when you are incapacitated.
You do not have to leave asset management or medical decision making to chance. You can name someone who is going to act on your behalf in case the worst happens and you can no longer act on your own. An experienced Beverly, MA power of attorney lawyer at DeBruyckere Law Offices can provide you with the assistance that you need in identifying an agent to act for you and in going through the formal legal steps to transfer authority. Our attorneys can answer important questions you may have including:
- What is a power of attorney?
- Do I need a power of attorney?
- How can a Beverly lawyer help with the creation of a power of attorney?
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that you create. You name someone to act as your agent. You can give your agent very limited authority, such as the authority only to sign a contract for a particular purpose. You can also give your agent very broad authority to completely manage all of your assets, to bind you to contracts, and to make many decisions for you. Finally, you can create a healthcare power of attorney to name an agent to make choices about your medical treatment if you are incapacitated.
The creation of a power of attorney is important in case you become badly sick or injured so your assets do not go without management and so it is clear who doctors should ask about providing various types of medical care to you. You want to ensure you have created a durable power of attorney if your goal is to name an agent in case of incapacity. If you have not made your power of attorney durable, it will expire at the time when it becomes most necessary.
You may also wish to make your power of attorney a springing one. This would mean that the agent did not acquire the authority to act until a future event – like disability – caused the grant of authority to become effective. An attorney can explain to you whether a springing durable power of attorney is the best choice for you to ensure management of assets if incapacity happens to you.
Do I Need a Power of Attorney?
Virtually everyone needs a power of attorney. Whether you have a lot of assets or not, you want to ensure that what you do have is carefully managed and not lost if you become incapacitated. Likewise, you want to take control of your dignity and ensure you have someone you trust absolutely to make choices about medical assistance you’ll receive.
Having a power of attorney is not only important to protect your assets and your dignity, but it is also imperative to protect your family. In the event of incapacity, the bottom line is that someone is going to have to make decisions for you. If you have not named an agent, your family will need to go through complicated legal proceedings so someone can be given the authority to act. Guardianship proceedings can be expensive, and can bring family affairs into the limelight as your loved ones present evidence into court record about your inability to act on your own.
Even if the court decides you should be declared a ward and guardianship is necessary, the person who sought guardianship may not be the one chosen as a guardian. A guardian could be appointed who is not the person who you would have most trusted to make your choices for you. The court will be involved in overseeing the actions of the guardian as well, which can be a hassle for your loved ones as they struggle to deal with your financial and personal care during incapacity.
How can Beverly Power of Attorney Lawyers Help?
DeBruyckere Law Offices helps clients in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts to create a power of attorney, or to enforce a power of attorney that was created. We also provide representation during guardianship proceedings. Give us a call at our New Hampshire number, (603) 894-4141 or at our Massachusetts number, (978) 969-0331.