A Power of attorney is as crucial as your Will is.
Most people would agree that having a Will is something that everyone, regardless of the size of your estate, should have. But, what about a Power of Attorney? Why is that such a crucial document and why do you need it? There are some very important reasons. But first, what is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone you choose the authority to act for you for a specific purpose or for all legal or financial matters. This document can take effect immediately upon your signing it, or it can be of a “springing” nature, in which case a certain event, such as your incapacity, is required for the document to become effective.
If you become incapacitated, you will need someone to handle your financial affairs. Someone will have to pay your bills, file your taxes, and protect your assets while you are unable to. In the event your house needs to be sold, your chosen agent can sign the deed on your behalf. Many people are under the mistaken assumption that your spouse can just sign your name whenever it is needed. Unfortunately, this is not the case since a legal document is required. The bad news is, if you do not have a Power of Attorney in place, it is necessary for your loved ones to go to Court.
Without a valid Power of Attorney, your loved ones would have to, most likely with the aid of a lawyer, file a guardianship petition, attend a court hearing, discuss your personal affairs in a public courtroom, and have a judge appoint a guardian on your behalf. This all takes a lot of time, money, and aggravation…all at a time that is already emotionally draining. Therefore, the perfect time to have a Power of Attorney drafted is BEFORE you actually need one!