At one time or another, you may find yourself in a position where you can't make sound medical or life decisions for yourself. This could be the result of illness, an unexpected accident, or another traumatic event. If this happens, you still want to be able to have your wishes and rights upheld, even if you’re unable to voice them. That’s where a power of attorney because essential.
At Candela Law Firm, we’re experts at the legal process (whether it be criminal defense, estate planning, or will and trust preparation) and we can help you stay empowered no matter where life takes you. If you’re still unsure how a power of attorney can serve you, we’ve got you covered. Read on for everything you need to know about powers of attorney—and don’t hesitate to contact Candela Law Firm with questions or concerns.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives another person the authority to act on your behalf. This person is known as your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”. Powers of attorney are typically used in the event that you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for yourself.
Types of powers of attorney
There are two main types of powers of attorney:
1) Durable: this type of power of attorney does not end if you become incapacitated.
2) Springing: this type of power of attorney only goes into effect if you become incapacitated.
A springing durable power of attorney is the best option because it covers all bases—your agent can step in and make decisions for you if you're incapacitated, but if you're not, then they don't have any authority.
Powers of attorney can be general, meaning that your agent can make any decision on your behalf, or they can be limited to specific tasks. For example, you could give someone a limited power of attorney to sell your car for you while you're out of town. Or, if you have a business, you could give someone a limited power of attorney to sign contracts on your behalf.
The Process for Creating a Power of Attorney
Creating a power of attorney is a relatively simple process. You'll need to find an agent who you trust implicitly—this is typically a spouse, family member, or close friend. Once you've selected your agent, you'll need to complete a Power of Attorney form. This form will state what types of decisions your agent is allowed to make on your behalf. Once the form is complete, both you and your agent will need to sign it in front of a notary public.
What Happens if I Don't Have a Power of Attorney?
If something happens, and you don't have a power of attorney in place, the court will appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf. This process is known as “guardianship” or “conservatorship”. It's an expensive and time-consuming process that requires going to court. Not to mention, the person who is appointed by the court may not be someone who you would have chosen yourself. Guardianship and conservatorship should be avoided if at all possible—which is why having a power of attorney in place is so important.
Now that you know how important it is to have a power of attorney, it's time to take action! If you don't already have one in place, visit Candela Law Firm today, and we'll help you get started. Having a power of attorney doesn't have to be complicated or expensive—we can help ensure that everything is done correctly so that you can rest easy knowing that your affairs are in order. Don't wait until it's too late—contact us today!