In the first part of this Blog article, I discussed Health Care Proxies and Living Wills. In this Blog post, I will discuss the importance of having a Durable Power of Attorney and a Will and why should you review your existing documents to make sure they are up to date and still represent your preferences.
What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
A Durable Power of Attorney is a document in which you appoint someone that you trust for legal and financial purposes, when you are unable to act for yourself. You have the right to decide when you sign the document, whether it should become effective immediately or only upon proof of the principal’s disability. You must understand what the appointment of an agent under a Durable Power of Attorney means. The appointed agent can ‘step into the shoes of the principal’ and can perform any and all acts listed in the document. A Durable Power of Attorney is often an all-encompassing instrument that can be abused by someone who is untrustworthy so it is important to select a person carefully.
Who Should You Appoint?
Think carefully if the person that you are considering appointing is having personal financial problems. If that person were in financial difficulty, would they use your assets? A Durable Power of Attorney is important if you should become ill since, without one, who will pay your bills and take care of your legal or financial matters? For this reason, it is critical that you have a Durable Power of Attorney and appoint someone who is willing and able to take on the important role.
Last Will and Testament
If you have a Will, this is a good time to make sure your Will still represents how you want your assets to pass when you are gone. Having a Will is always preferable to not having one, especially if, for example, you have no immediate family, have chosen to disinherit someone or if you are charitably inclined. If you do not have a Will, the law provides by statute how your estate would be administered. Your estate could end up with distant cousin that you have not spoken to in years. To make sure your assets are divided how you want and to the people and organizations you care about, it is critical to think of making a Will if you do not already have one.
If you need to execute estate documents or the revise you already have, Meyerson, Fox, Mancinelli and Conte, P.A. can assist you. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 201-802-9202.