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Wills and estate planning for seniors and families

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Why do I need Powers-of-Attorney?

Why do I need a Powers-of-Attorney?

If you should become physically or mentally incapacitated, there ought to be someone you trust with clear legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. The person you appoint may be given broad powers to do whatever you could do, or limited powers to perform specific acts, depending on the circumstances. The most simple and inexpensive approach is to appoint someone you trust as your attorney-in-fact by signing a power-of-attorney.

You should have a medical power-of-attorney for health-care decision-making, and a general power-of-attorney for your business affairs, such as paying your bills, managing your property, and depositing your Social Security and other checks. One has to be mentally competent in order to make a power-of-attorney. Therefore, you should not wait until the illness or injury occurs. If it is too late to make a power-of-attorney, it may be necessary to apply for guardianship. Having a power-of-attorney in place will make it easier for your representative to act quickly on your behalf and avoid the stress, delay, inconvenience and expense of a guardianship proceeding. It is important that these documents be “durable,” otherwise they will be ineffective when you are incapacitated.

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