In the legal field there are binding documents that are utilized to accomplish various different aims. One of them is the power of attorney. These legal devices are used within the elder law and estate planning niche to account for the possibility of incapacity.
Empowering a Representative
When you execute a power of attorney you are the grantor or principal. As the grantor you name someone that you would like to empower to act as your representative in a legally binding manner. This representative is known as the agent or attorney-in-fact.
General Powers of Attorney in Hartford Connecticut
With a general power of attorney you are giving this agent broad powers to act on your behalf. It could be said that the agent can do whatever you can do for yourself.
For this reason, you should certainly be very discerning about granting this type of power of attorney, because you are endowing the agent with sweeping powers.
Limited Powers of Attorney
It is also possible to give someone a power of attorney with certain limits or restrictions built in. With a limited power of attorney you could give someone the right to act on your behalf for a wide range of purposes for a specified period of time. This can be looked at as a durable power of attorney with an expiration date.
On the other hand, you could use a limited power of attorney to give the agent the power to act under very limited circumstances. For example, you could empower a friend to sign closing papers for you to consummate a single real estate transaction if you are out of the country and unable to attend the closing.
Incapacity Planning and Durable Powers of Attorney
Estate planning and elder law attorneys assist clients who are preparing for the eventualities of aging. When you think about this type of legal work, you may focus on the transfer of financial assets. This is part of the process, but it is not the only thing to think about.
People often become incapacitated before they pass away. During this period of time, who makes decisions for the incapacitated individual? Who handles personal, medical, and financial matters?
You can answer these questions yourself by executing durable powers of attorney. Because they are durable, they remain in effect even if you were to become incapacitated.
In your durable powers of attorney you could name agents to handle your affairs on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation.
If you do not have these important incapacity planning documents in place, the state could be forced to appoint a guardian to take over your affairs. Because you would be incapacitated, you may have no real input when the state is deciding on a guardian for you.