When do you need a Power of Attorney?
There’s a simple answer and a long answer to this question. The short answer to the question of when you need a power of attorney? Now. Everyone (yes, everyone) should have a power of attorney. You need to have it in place now, before it’s needed. Because many times, when the power of attorney is needed, it’s too late.
Let’s briefly discuss what a power of attorney is. A power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone else the authority to act on your behalf in various matters. It usually only takes effect once you no longer have the capacity to make decisions for yourself. If you become mentally or physically incapacitated and are unable to make decisions or manage your affairs, a power of attorney can ensure that someone you trust can handle your financial, legal, and medical matters.
What type of decisions is your power of attorney handling for you?
- Medical decisions: In case you anticipate the possibility of being unable to make medical decisions for yourself, you can appoint a healthcare power of attorney or a healthcare proxy to make medical choices on your behalf, based on your wishes or best interests.
- Financial management: If you are unable to manage your financial affairs due to physical limitations, travel, or other reasons, you can grant a power of attorney to someone you trust to handle your financial transactions, pay bills, manage investments, or make decisions regarding your property.
You can watch our attorney Darcel Lobo’s video explaining what a power of attorney is here:
You are giving your power of attorney a lot of power of you and your affairs. So you want to ensure you’re naming someone that you trust. And in addition, you have to have the legal capacity to execute a power of attorney. So, if you wait to have a power of attorney prepared when it’s needed (most commonly we see it needed when someone has developed Alzheimer’s or dementia), it’s too late. Because you no longer have the capacity to execute the power of attorney document that’s needed.
Aside from these long-term types of power of attorneys, there may be temporary situations where a limited power of attorney is needed. These types of power of attorneys can wait to be prepared until the need arises. For instance, if you’ll be travelling out of the country and you need someone to be able to handle a real estate purchase or sale for you, or some other matter (usually a financial matter) where you need someone to be able to handle a specific transaction for you. Types of these limited power of attorneys include:
- Business or legal matters: If you are unavailable or unable to attend to important business or legal obligations, you can authorize someone to act as your attorney-in-fact to represent you in legal proceedings, sign contracts, or make decisions related to your business interests.
- Real estate transactions: If you are buying or selling property, but are unable to be present for the transaction, a power of attorney can empower someone else to sign documents, handle closing procedures, and complete the necessary legal formalities on your behalf.
It’s important to consult with an attorney who can assess your specific circumstances and help you determine the most suitable option based on the facts of your specific case. If you need assistance with a power of attorney, or any estate planning needs, reach out to our office at (206) 408-8158 or visit us online at www.dallawfirm.com and we would be happy to assist you.
We’re conveniently located in Normandy Park and offer consultations virtually or in person.
19803 1st Avenue S.
Normandy Park, WA 98148
T (206) 408-8158
F (206) 374-2810
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